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Latest news and project updates from Lotus Flower Trust - October 2013

More News from Lotus Flower Trust

By the end of 2013, the Lotus Flower Trust will have constructed or substantially renovated 22 schools and residential homes in 5 years for disadvantaged children in India - an amazing result for a small charity. Of course this can only be achieved thanks to the generosity of our sponsors. Read on to find out about the latest developments in our key projects and how together we can help change more lives...

New School Opens, Ladakh

International School of English Language (ISELL), Ladakh: Funded by TWFA Care, this wonderful new building was officially opened in August. More than 100 guests attended the ceremony, including many teenagers who hope to study here. Chairman of the Ladakh Hill Council (Ladakh's Government), Rigzin Spalbar, and many other dignitaries including the Trust's CEO, John Hunt, were also present. The School is a very important development as the quality of English provision in this region is very poor, often denying young people the opportunity of getting good jobs serving the growing tourism market in Ladakh and the rest of India. 

The Chairman praised the work of Lotus Flower Trust and the generosity of TFWA Care, saying: "Most people come to Ladakh, look, see and go away. But the Lotus Flower Trust has stayed and works with us. The Trust is a true friend of Ladakh." Places on courses are now being promoted to schools and colleges across the whole of Ladakh. The response has been so great that we have already been approached for funds to build second floor accommodation.

New Exciting Project

Chulunka Residential School for Girls, Ladakh: During his travels, John visited the remote Muslim village of Chulunka, 14km from the northern Ladakh/Pakistan border. John was the first Westerner ever to visit this village while he was planning the construction of an Anganwadi (Kindergarten) for the children. The area is harsh and the lives of people are seriously challenged, in particular for girls and women. The average size of a family is 8 and girls older than 12 are not educated at all.

The area, known as the Muslim Belt, consists of 3 villages - Bogdan, Turtuk and Chulunka. The Chairman of the Ladakh Hill Council, Rigzin Spalbar, has asked us to fund the building of a Residential School for 300 girls. The Trust sees this as a very important project which will hugely improve the lives of the girls growing up in this remote area. If you would like to support this project, click here http://www.justgiving.com/lotusflower. More information on Chulunka to follow soon.

Anganwadi Update

A project being realised in conjunction with the Ladakh Hill Council. Thanks to generous donations from the Jephcott Trust, the Evan Cornish Foundation, the Allan and Nesta Ferguson Charitable Settlement, villagers of Hyde and Frogham in the New Forest and other generous people, we now have funds to build three new Kindergartens, or 'Anganwadis', in Ladakh. They will be built in Leh Colony, Chushut Yongma and Chulunka. We have 26 more to build. Each costs just £10,000! Please help by clicking here http://www.justgiving.com/lotusflower.

Slum Kids New Home

Brahma Putra Home for Railway Children, No. 2 Gate Slum, Guwahati, Assam: John recently visited the children, currently living in slums, who are excited to move off the railway tracks and begin their new lives. Financed by TWFA Care, he reported that the construction of the new home, adjacent to an existing school, is going well and on track to open in November.

Re-Building After the Flood

Domka Gongma Primary and Middle School, Khaltsi, Ladakh: We were asked by the Ladakh Hill Council to fund this very remote school. The original was demolished in the flood disaster of 2010. Now well underway, the new school, funded by many individuals, trusts and businesses, will be opened at the end of September and 31 pupils are keen to start. John met with their new teacher while he was there.

Update on Kapkote Home

Kapkote Girls' Home: After the recent devastating floods in Uttrakhand, where more than 11,000 people were lost, many children are now destitute. The Trust wrote to the Governor and the Education Minister of Uttrakhand, suggesting that there are vacancies for girls at Kapkote. A meeting has since taken place between Gramin Utthan Samiti, the NGO running the project, and the District Commissioner of Bageshwar, and we understand our offer has been taken up. John will visit Kapkote in November to see how this has impacted on the home. 

New Website Coming Soon

We are currently working on a new simplified website which will feature many more images of the projects you are helping us to fund. It should be up and running by the end of the year. We will let you know as soon as it goes live...

Suraj's Smile a Success

Janet Sheed Roberts Special Needs Home and School, Ramnagar: John recently met with Suraj Kumar and his father, a local teacher (pictured above). Thanks to the Moodie Report, an organisation called Smile Train offered free surgery to Suraj and a little girl called Ritu to address their cleft palates. The children and their families are over the moon with the results.

John reported that Suraj looks and feels great... so much so that his parents initially took him home. However, as Suraj also has severely disabled hands, he will be returning to Ramnagar to start the next term. John said: "It was very moving when he signed my note book. He is good at cricket too. I met other parents who had come to take their children home for the holidays. They are so delighted with their progress at the School."  

Locals Rally in Ramnagar

Janet Sheed Roberts Special Needs School and Home, Ramnagar: The school, funded by Women in Travel (WiT) and the duty free industry, continues to inspire and impress as well as receiving support from many avenues. The local people have provided 50 beds and mattresses plus fans for the rooms. Mrs Amrita Rowat MLA and Minister has funded a security wall around the building whilst her husband, Garhwal MP Satpal Maharaj, has financed a deep bore hole to provide tap water.

The school even boasts a computer room (pictured above). The local banks have also donated money and most fantastic of all, as it has never been done before, the Education Department is supplying one meal a day for the 68 children who attend. We will keep you posted on further developments and news.

Basgo Nunnery Amazes

Basgo Nunnery, Ladakh: Over the past 2 years, 2 separate teams of young men and Dons from Winchester College have been fundraising to pay for the construction of this home and nunnery for 60 destitute nuns. The teams have collectively raised more than £60,000 and have worked hard on the building site with the Nepali builders and nuns themselves, ranging from 7 to 32 years.

Whilst this is a nunnery, it is most importantly a home for children from very poor families who cannot afford to bring up all of their offspring. The nuns provide the children with a good education; when they are 18 they can choose to stay as nuns or revert to normal life. The buildings, apart from the temple, are almost complete. It is quite extraordinary to see what has been achieved with the money raised.

The Winchester College teams are to be congratulated on their hard work and generosity. The Trust hopes that this experience, along with the treks they undertook in the mountains, will have a lasting effect on their lives. It certainly has on the little nuns! The College has already chosen a project to support next year - the Himalayan International Primary School, Uttrakhand.

Winchester College boys trekking in Ladakh.

Nalanda School To Open

Nalanda Residential Primary School, Saboo Ayu, Ladakh: The floods of August 2010 devastated the Tibetan Refugee Centre, Choglamsa, causing many of the families to run away to villages across the high passes. His Holiness Tog Dan Rimpocha and the All Gonpa Association, Ladakh, are currently tracing the children and will be encouraging them to come back and resume their education in Nalanda Residential School. Here, they will receive a much better education than if they stayed in remote villages.

Funded by TWFA care, the school opens in January 2014 and will be officially opened by President of TFWA and Trustee of Lotus Flower Trust, Erik Juul-Mortensen, next August.

Summary of Projects

John visited India both in May/June and August this year. In that time he has visited all of our projects and has been pleased to see the progress made. At a recent meeting of Trustees, it was decided that the Trust's work will concentrate on those areas where we have developed a close working relationship with the local authorities and people.

By the end of this year we will have completed 22 major projects in 5 years, affecting more than 3,000 children, parents, villagers... and all their future children.

Under Construction

Nalanda Primary School
Basgo Nunnery (phase 2)
Domka Gongma Primary School
Assam Brahma Putra Home for Railway and Slum No. 2 Children (pictured above)
Chulunka Residential School for Girls.
To see more images, find out about projects, how to help or even join us on a life-changing trip to India, visit www.lotusflowertrust.org or email johnhuntnfo@lotusflowertrust.org.

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