Alice Project News – April – July 2020

 

Dear Friends of Alice Project

Here once again we are ready with the latest edition of the Alice Project News. In our last edition we informed you all that dues to worldwide catastrophe Corona, following the norms; we had to shut down the school and the hostel sending all of the students back to their families. The teachers and working staff too were paid in advance for 3 months and all were requested to stay home so that they can be safe with their family members and children. 

We decided to bring all teachers to three months’ salary, to allow them to stock up on food, especially and buy medicine immediately and basic necessities for the family. We thought of securing the staff who decided to stay in the Sarnath and Bodhgaya schools, delimiting a red area, where no one was able to enter for at least 45 days.

In this period the school is protected by private guards both day and night. We had made a stock of food supplies and medicines for at least two months. In addition to the salary (in cash), the teachers were also be given masks (unavailable because they are engulfed by the jackals on the black market!) For the family. We have recommended everyone to stay indoors at all costs. It is the only way to survive this tragedy.

We also moved on the front of the transpersonal, that of spirituality, asking our precious president (Tenzin Tzewang) to organize the reading of the Kangur for the protection of schools, of our sponsors, and all those who are close to Alice.

It was not easy to organize the reading of the 118 volumes of the Kangur, because the monasteries are in emergency and have abolished every assembly and collective ceremony. Our President we managed to organize the reading by giving a volume to each monk closed in his room.

In one day, 118 monks completed the reading which will surely bring great benefits to Alice’s large family. In Nepal, a second big ceremony will start as soon as we will manage to make the payments via bank. This time 35 monks will read 350 volumes of the Tengyur. The motivation will be the same: for the protection of our thousand students from the three schools, their families, teachers and sponsors.

Additional help to all the teachers, workers and staff: We knew that that pandemic will go long and the lockdown will go on long. So to make sure for our each and every  employee to be safe and relax beside the medicine, masks, advance salary etc…. we as association did  food distribution to all the teachers, workers and staff.  The secretary of the society Miss. Serveta Negi and Vice President Mr. Mohal Lal, and member Mr. Tsering Dondhup did this work successfully.

After a few days when the mango fruits of our garden were ready we shared all the fruits with everyone so that everyone of the workers can enjoy the taste of the fruit and the joy of sharing.

Tonglen Group : Now the school is closed and only a few people of the staff are taking care of the school, but we still are together, we made an online plateform we call it the Tong Len group on watsapp in this group we have add the numbers of the students, the teachers, the principal of the school, the members of the board and the management, and of course the director of school, to keep every one connected.  Throug this platform we keep everyone suggesting, guiding, advicing how to keep themselves safe, secure and utilize our time in the right way praticing the meditation, making prayers pujas and using this time in self discovery and self realization.

Every day we are posting a positive messages form the director, the principal and the teachers teachings of famous scholars, teachers, masters of different traditions in this group. We fond it very helpful and supporting.

Therefore we started a treat program with a  schedule for full day which includes of course the Yoga Practice, Pranayama, meditation, mantra chanting, awareness practice, but beside this, a complete program for karma yoga which includes, farming cooking, cleaning, repairing, maintenance and taking care of the environment where we are living.

Because we believe that the external inviroment is the reflextion of the inviroment. And if one keeps the external inviroment nice, clean and orgnized it will effect the innter world too.

The Karma Yoga: You’ve heard of karma. And you’ve heard of yoga. But karma yoga? What even is that? While karma yoga can mean a lot of different things to different people, the general idea is taking the philosophy of yoga and putting it in action. This means stepping off of the mat and into the world. It means humbling your ego, serving your community, and being part of something bigger than yourself. Every day at the Alice School, the residential students, the staff and every single member who is residing at School are doing their part in doing something as Karma Yoga.

Plantation and farming at Alice:  As every year , this year once again we did the plantation at our school, new saplings of Mango, Neem and Papaya were planted. The students did this work with great joy and interest.

At Alice studnets are taught to be self dependent as much as possible, in this series we also want the students to learn how to work in the fields , cultivate their own food and vegetables. This also is a part of our educational research.

EPIDEMI WITH VOTES At the brahmacharya.

While millions of people were bored locked in their homes due to the epidemic, few lucky people took advantage of the crisis to give meaning to their lives different from the routine they had followed until then. Buddhist monks, for example, of South India’s monastic universities faced the lockdown by retreating and praying to their rooms. In this way, they avoided the dangerous assembrations that could convey the contagion. There is not a single case of contagion among the tens of thousands of Buddhist nuns of India.

Alice’s students also faced the crisis by practicing what they had learned in school during ethics courses. In addition to studying, many have practiced the meditation suggested by the school: tong len and Vipassana (concentration).

Chakma students (see photo) took advantage of this to respect the tradition of their Theravada religion by taking monk ordination for a few weeks. They have become novices, with the commitments of votes to be respected. The fundamental principles are those of celibate life, simple in renunciation, peaceful, harmonious in obedience and humility. Monks can’t handle money, they only eat before noon, live offers and follow the practice of this for food. Worship is expressed in the taking of refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, in the recitation of sacred texts, in songs of praise, and in reflections on the Doctrine and in offering ceremonies. The main activity is meditation.

This experience, which makes parents happy, because it is believed to bring great benefits and luck to the family, will deeply mark the minds of young monks (fixed-term).

It’s an important rite of passage for a life based on ethics, morality and spirituality.

What the final message will these guys carry forever?

′′ Nothing is as important as it seems,

We were born naked and nothing more.

When we die, we can’t take anything with us.

This is the truth.”

Yoga day celebrated at Alice Project School:  On 22 June we celebrated the International Yoga Day with great Joy and interest.

ALICE IS YOGA…

Also this year we celebrated World Yoga Day at our school, with residents, lockdown survivors. Lead the group, a former Alice student, Master Sanjay, graduated from Bangalore University..

Sanjay has an incredible personal history. It is the symbol of redemption and redemption from a dramatic experience lived in the painful and submerged world that few know: that of the thousands of boys and girls who disappear every year in India (a hundred per day). He also ′′ disappeared ′′ for his family at the age of 7 He spent eight years in the Youth House (a kind of juvenile prisons), among difficulties and suffering that still needs to be elaborated.

Alice ′′ adopted ′′ him as soon as he reached his age and, by law, he had to be freed from the ′′ Prison House “.

He studied with us until 12 th grade and then we proposed to specialize in yoga therapy at a prestigious University of Bangalore.

After graduating, he asked to continue to specialize in a three-year master’s degree from the University of Rajasthan.

He was preparing an experimental thesis in the ′′ prison house ′′ where he had lived for many years: ′′ Short-term benefits of yoga applied to institutionalized minors “.

The blockade forced him to suspend the experimentation, which will resume as soon as the government allows schools to reopen. Meanwhile, he drove a dozen chakmas blocked by lockdown through a three-month training course at the school premises.

Of course, yoga was one of the daily appointments, along with meditation and work.

This, in short, the story behind the photo we publish.

SYNERGY ALICE AND MINDFULNESS…On 4 July 2020 A group of Sarnath students and teachers attended an online conference on mindfulness education which was lead by Nanni Deambrogio promoter and co-founder of the Mindfulness Project, the first initiative in Italy for the integration of the Oriental vision on mind and awareness with Western research. He is director of the Mindfulness Project Centre in Milan. From today the two Associations (Mindfulness and Alice Project) will work together to form a group of animators who will be responsible for the management of a two-years training course for future teachers specialized in an educational proposal that combines cognitivity with education. This new group has been called “Mindfulness on Cognitive Intelligence”.

A group of Alice Project students and teachers attended an online conference on mindfulness education which was lead, for Italian Alice Project, by the director and founder of Alice Project Schools Valentino Giacomin, Camilla Previato, Agata Montevecchi ( President- Progetto Alice Onlus) and Francesca Piovella, Italian coordinator.

About 35 people ( teachers , educators, students and parents ) joined this 3 days international course.

It was the first time for the Alice Project Schools to attend this wonderful workshop, where everyone was involved with keen interest and joy.

On this occasion some of the students of Alice Project Schools shared their experience explaining how this methodology is affecting them personally in their own lives and then in their families with friends and in the society.

While discussing the students shared their views saying Alice Project not only teaches them the normal academic curriculum but also how to go in their deep inner world.

It Alice peoject – they said – helps the students to make a balance between the external and internal world which actually are the manifestation of the same source; the mind.

Alice Students made the miracle once again: BRILLIANT STATE EXAM RESULTS…

This year once again the students of the class X and XII did a wonderful performance  in the state level exams. The results of the state examinations of the Tenth and Twelfth classes in the state of Uttar Pradesh have just come out on 27 June.

About 5.6 million students were enrolled in the grades X and XII in Uttar Pradesh State. This year, at the state level, a total of 83% of students in Class X and 74% of class XII passed the exam.

While at Alice Alice’s school 99% of students in class X and 96% of class XII were promoted.

Once again Alice’s students have shown great preparation and self-confidence, witnessing the effectiveness of the educational vision and didactic method.”

On this occasion the director of the school Mr. Valentino and the president Mr. Tsewang Tenzin congratulated everyone and expressed their feelings as follows:

From my side I’d like to thank the professors, to congratulate the students, and, finally, to thank all our sponsors (Shining Hope, Taiwan group, Valeria Selleri, Flora Group, Ubi, HH Trust, Project Alice Onlus by Agata Montevecchi, Akademie, Andrea Usellini… we will name them all in a separate post), without them the school would have been closed a long time ago.

We dedicate this umpteenth success to the sponsors of Alice.

Valentino

It’s heartwarming to hear this good news about the performance of our school students. It is the team work and effort of all involved in the students education right from our founder director to the management, the staff, principal, teachers, students , parents and others involved for this result.

I am very happy and proud and I want to thank and congratulate you all for this success.

Please take care and be safe.

Warmest regards,

Tsewang  Tenzin

The good news continues to arrive, in return for the lockdown, grasshoppers, transport paralysis (blocked for the second time in three months)…

Look at the photo we post. There are two chakma boys: Mohali, left, and Samar on the right. Both are recovering from the hospital after an operation. When misfortunes fall on you have to be careful because, often, they come … accompanied. The proverb says, in fact, that “misfortunes never come alone” After Samar’s hospitalization another chakma, Mohali, of the same class, had to be hospitalized for an urgent appendicitis operation. Needless to say, “How come?” Fate is mysterious. Mohali is the artist of the school, along with a chakma girl, Junaki; both come with an extraordinary creative talent for painting

 

We ask them for help when we have to make a greeting poster for someone, or give a present to some important guest

Mohali and Samar ha a common fate: both were forced to stay away from the school for several weeks just as the teachers were completing the curriculum for the State exam.

The photo captures them as soon as they have been discharged from the hospital. In fact, Samar keeps the folder under his arm with the examinations carried out at the hospital, while the companion holds a bag with all his few things … I mean, nothing!

Well, let’s get to the news.

A group photo of our chakma students

We’ve already dedicated an article to Samar and his father. Now let’s add that not only Samar placed at the top of the ranking of the results of the State exam for the 12th class (corresponding to the third high school in Italy), but he teamed with Mohali, both First Division! Isn’t that surprising?

What can I say? Great news guys! It is an achievement that honors you and deserves it, because you have been able to recover with tenacity, effort, sacrifice the lost time.

And now… fly high in the sky of your future; with the wings you have got at Alice School … following “virtues and knowledge” as Dante would say.

SCHOOL AFTER THE LOCKDOWN… in July after a long gap, once again the school office reopenedBut before doing so, we took all the necessary precautions related to sanitization and social distancing. We called the experts from the local head office of Varanasi who did a sanitization in each and every corner of the school. So that we can avoid the risks.

Now the office is regularly being opened, the students and their parents are coming for the mark sheets, new admissions, certificates and other necessary works are being done.

Mr. Valentino Sir shares his happiness and view as follows:

ALICE: HERE WE GO AGAIN!

We start again after months of lockdown, sacrifices and fear. Slowly, trying to get back to routine ‘. We opened the school office to resume a nominal activity: reports, audit documents, new subscriptions, administration, newsletters, sponsors contacts, bureaucracy, preparation diplomas and report cards ;.. There’s a lot of work behind. There are many new problems to face: the sudden poverty of many families of our students who lost their jobs due to the paralysis of every activity due to the epidemic; the safety of the classrooms in view of possible spacing imposed by the government; new registrations; the hostel (which will unfortunately be drastically reduced); salary insurance for teachers in the face of a significant reduction in revenue…

The office opened once again

It will be difficult to think about the spacing in classrooms that, in normal times, hosted an average of 40 students per class. In Italy they would call them ′′ henhouse classes “. We never understood why this pejorative term. Maybe because none of our teachers reported classroom management difficulties and serious discipline problems .I remember visiting private schools that had classes with 80, 90 students, so much so that many students were forced to stand or sit on the ground! In this context, absences were a… blessing!

The recovery is slow and fluctuates between apiftures and closures by the government. After the total lockdown, lasting about three months, the Government opted for a closure…. flexible: everyone at home only on Saturday and Sunday. A difficult compromise to understand. The obligation of masks remains for everyday like the ban on assembly.

Every now and then there is news of some outbreak both Sarnath and Varanasi. The government immediately intervenes ′′ quarantine ′′ not only the infected family, but also the entire neighborhood where the family lives.

Many families survive thanks to NGO charity. Our Temple of Tara stands out in this charitable work, which has distributed thousands of food packages to both Sarnath and Bodhgaya. Among the beneficiaries of the generosity of the Temple nuns there is also our school to which supplies were donated for the residents of the hostel.

ONLINE CLASSES FOR THE STUDENTS: Due to the pandemic still the schools are not opened for the normal schooling this is why the online classes are going on. The teachers are doing  great effort as it is a new experience for some of them and for the students too it is a new experience of distant learning but the results are really good.

ANOTHER GOOD NEWS TO SHARE: A baby boy is born to Mr. Guddu Kumar the coordinator of the Bodhgaya School. He was in a hurry to come into this world and mom had to be helped by the surgeon for birth. Pain but also infinite joy for the new life that we happily welcome to Alice’s big family. Birth is a good omen in these times of crisis and death for the pandemic.Life goes on despite everything.We wish newborn and parents a future of serenity and peace with Alice’s values.

Quote of thanks :  Now last but not the least, On behalf of whole team of the Alice Project we express our deep gratitude and thanks from the bottom of our hearts for all the help and support that we have been receiving from you. Thanks to you we will continue to see improvements in our school.

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