Alice Project News January- March 2020

 

Dear Friends

We start this newsletter with the prayers and heartiest wishes for the protection and safety from this epidemic that the whole world is facing. It is a difficult time for entire humanity, where everyone is worried and scared of this virus, which is graudally grabbing everyone in its clutches.

But we believe that prayers, pujas and merits that we all (the students, teachers, staff, the members of the society and management, the nuns of our Tara temple), are doing for the welbeing for all the senitient beings of the whole world, and are suggesting everyone to do the same , is the way to get rid of this critical moment.  Every single member of the whole Alice Project family is praying for the world peace, the well being of all the humans and every single sentient beings, is never missing you frineds and supporters of the project, who are still helping and supporting us to keep the project alive and make our dream of providing a chance for better education for those who are in need.  

In our last newsletter we have updated you all, about the school activities that have happened in the previous year till December. Here once again we are ready with the new edition of the Alice Project News.

All the necessary tasks were completed timely : Till the end of December we had successfully completed all the necessary tasks that the management and society had to complete. Here is a detail of the works that has been completed till now:

  • The teachers of Sarnath, Bodhgaya and Arunachal Pradehs were addeded in the provident funds, so that the teachers and staff can feel secure about their future and pension funds.
  • The appoinment letters were issued to all the teachers and people who are working as staff, so that they all can feel more secure and serene with their posts and can do their duties freely.
  • We insured all the teachers of the three schools in one of the best insurance companies of India. So that they  can face these hardships easily.
  • The students of the hostel were also insured as medical and accidental insurance. Last year we had made a group Health Insurance & Accidental Insurance for the residential students from Reliance General Insurance. But this year we changed the company, comparing the services we opted to choose another company who assures to provide us better and trouble free services unlike the previous company as its track record shows.
  • Fixed depostes for the welfare of the teachers and the students :  In the month of March the mangement successfully renewed the FD of One Crore, and the interest that was received by this FD that was also fixed for one year. The interest accumulated form these FDs will be used for the teachers welfare and the students welfare.
  • All the projects  which includes the Shaman Project, The weaving project, The Ethical Project , The environment Project, The theater project all of them were running smoothly, with the help of the teachers, members of the office and management, and the society itself, under the skillful guidance, suggestion and advices of the director Mr. Valentino sir. Who although physically is not here but mentally he is always here and keeps us guiding.
  • The accountant and CA : The administration is working together with the team under the supervision and suggestion of the Chartered accountant.  A team of  people from the management has been stablished including the secretary, the treasurer and vice president of the society.  To avoid any kind of confusion mistakes, regular meetings are organized in the school campus where everyone is sitting together, talking, discussing, sharing their ideas, advices and suggestions. And minutes of each meeting is properly being written in the minute book and after the decision of the team and the confirmation of the director all the works are being executed.
  • To settle down the accounts, cashbook, and other financial matters, accountant Mr. Rakesh ji and senior CA Mr. Rajeev Ranjan is regularly coming to the school and managing everything timely.

Teaching of HH the Dalai Lama and the Tara Puja :  As every year this year the teachings of HH the 14th Dalai Lama was organized. The group of 18 nuns who are staying at the Tara temple in our school, went to attend this teachings. In their absence our students and teachers kept the 24 hour Tara recitation going on.

One of the participants shares his experience as follows: The Alice Project chakma students and  teachers are reciting the mantra #OM TARE TUTARE TURE SOHA and the 21 Tara praising mantra(Dolma) 24 hours non-stop day and night] prayer for the “world peace “in Alice Project ,Tara temple(Yulo koepa Nunnery).
We the students of hostel are continuously doing puja in night turn by turn.
We all are very happy and excited to do puja for the welfare of all the sentient beings…..
Most of the participants feel the same energy (peace) during the puja because the calm environment makes us easier to concentrate the mind in recitation…. The tickling sound of the clock is very pleasant when it comes ….Tik tak tik tak……
It’s always pleasant doing positive act!
We are very happy and blissful to have this golden opportunity to do this Positive act.
“May all the sentient beings get the inner peace”. These words are the dedication of all of us after the prayer…

When the nuns were back to the temple from the teachings, a special lunch was offereed to all the members of the group (teachers and students) as a means of appreciating them. These students and the teacher were also honored with some presents by the Alice Project administration as honorarium and appreciation.

Visitors and training on addiction  at the Alice :  The new year started with lots of joy and happiness as many frineds of Alice paid a visit to meet the students, teachers and every one here at the Alice. Everyone was very happy to meet the residential students, seeing the schoo and the students, meeting the teachers.

Among them first were Ketty and her husband who were an ex – student of Mr. Valentino about 30 years ago. They had come here to see how the Alice Project Methodology is working in the India, with the Indian students who have a completely different way of life, culture and society. They were surprised to see the positive impact the methodology on the students.

“I learned much more from you than I tried to give you. It was a wonderful experience to be here in this school!” – Fabian, an Italian volunteer, was the coordinator and counselor, organized a course on addiction for the students and teachers.  He was pleased being here  and working with the teachers and the students of the hostel. At the end of the course a farewell was organized for him, which was a touching moment for him. Before leaving he expressed his deep gratitude to the administration , to provide him this opportunity to work with the teachers and the students of the school.

Meeting with the responsible of Bodhgaya and Arunachal Pradesh Schools: The head office of Sarnath requested to the responsible of the Bodhgaya and Arunachal Pradesh Schools, to come here for a couple of days at our Sarnath Branch. So that we can discuss about the progress of the schools there, and the projects that are running in these two branches.

Mr. Suchandra Chakma, the incharge of the Arunachal School and Mr. Guddu Kumar , the incharge of Bodhgaya School came and we had  a long discussion togethere. We found that all the projects are running smoothly at the Bodhgaya School. As they are in our regular contact, in Arunachal School, we requested the incharge to try to keep us more updated about the projects and acitivities. We understand there is the problem of the interenet and other ways of communication as connection cannot be easily done. But atleast twice a month we can do and online meeting.

After this meeting the minutes were shared (online) with all the members of the society including the presidents, secretary and the director for their consern.

Republic Day celebration:  This year the republic day was celebrated with great joy and happiness. The students, teachers, all the staff and everyone particiapated with interest and joy.

The school principal, hoisted the flag and gave his valuable speech to the students, making them aware about the value of discipline in the human life.

Our teachers following meditation teaching course…at Bodhgaya monastery by Migyur Rimphoche  and special blessings :

Just after the celebration of the republic day we came to know that a meditation course is going to be organized Bodhgaya which will be lead by Migyur Rimpoche. The administration thought why don’t we send some of out teachers to participate it. So that they can firstly learn for themselves, and then they can share the same with the other teachers and students of the Alice Schools. 

So a group of 7 teachers for Sarnath and Bodhgaya schools was organized who took part to this training. After the training session finished, all the teachers were extremely fortunate to have a chance of personal meeting with the Rimpoche, who gave his special blessings adn time to us. We introduced him that we are from Alice. And lama happily listened about the the works that we are doing. Lama praised everyone saying that we are doing a great job for the welfare of the students, and the society.

Board Examination for the students of class X and XII : As every year the board examination for the students of class X and XII started in the month of February. Therefore a farewell and good luck party was organized at the school.  

The teachers suggested the students how to keep calm and pass the exams peacefully without getting stressed or worried. On this occasion the school principal shared the message of Mr. Valentino (who although was not here physically ,but has sent his message to the students via email). Here is what he said :

It is the most beautiful day, but also the saddest: the students have reached the end of the educational and academic path at Alice’s school. They will soon take the state exams and then continue to study in the various universities of Varanasi. Many of these boys and girls have been with us for … forever. They grew up in the greenery of our gardens; the color of our posters; the blessing of our … interreligious divinities; the music of our bajans; the silence of our meditations; the dedication and love of teachers who earn less than a bricklayer; the anxieties and the tremendous responsibility of the principal and the founder to ensure serenity, safety, continuity for all, shielding and resisting destabilizing attempts (within and without) fortunately under control. They breathed another air, compared to that (polluted in all senses) of Varansi and surroundings. They learned to consult the books, to study them, to listen, to memorize to pass the exams, but also to look at the book of their mind, listening to its messages, deciphering them, without getting involved. They learned that there is an exam that no one can escape; professors and illiterates, beggars and men of power … all are called to take that exam which gives meaning to one’s existence. It’s the happiness test. Alice’s students received a special training to pass the two tests brilliantly: the state exam, in fact, and that of life lived with an ethical, moral, altruistic motivation … The wish that these “Alice’s children” make “is to pass the state exam with the first division, and never forget the password of happiness, which is part of our logo:” You are that! “. Tat Tvam Asi!

Goodbye, guys!

Visit of Professore Lhakdor,translator of the Dalai Lama, a professor at the Tibetan University of Sarnath :  On the 8th February the professore paid a visit to our school to address the students on Ethics.  In his speech he said : WE HAVE TWO WINGS: WISDOM AND COMPASSION as for a bird it is important to have two wings to fly, same for the human life there are two wings : compassion and wisdom. One needs both of them to fly from the cycle of samsara.I am very happy to see you all, here, you all have a keen interest in listening . You are very special.

You all are students, and are studying, so have you thought that, what is the aim of education? Its aim is to attain the happiness. When one is born if you see all of us we cry, if someone laughs, so you can see that either he is a God or a demon. We all cry, why? we all need love. This is why we cry, at that time, we do not talk about Dharma, simply one ask for the love and care. Dharma comes when he is grown up. We ask for love, which love, the unconditioned love. So we should not forget that love, the compassion that we need. So this need is not only for us it is the need of all the sentient beings. so in whole life we should not forget it. So we should love each other, help each other. If you see we have two hands which are long, and we have 5 fingers, what is the meaning, its means to hug every one, shake your hands with love to each other. The hands are not for punching, your finger…

One should use his potentials, the mind and the heart for the help and benefit of all the sentient beings. How we are using our mind, and its power, it depends on us, how we are using this power, for the serving of humanity or to destroy. This is how if one uses his power of mind in a positive way you can be Buddha, HH the Dalai Lama, the mother Teresa, or if you use it in a wrong way you can give suffering to many sentient beings.
Education does not mean only the knowledge it means Human nourishment. It means personality development. In the life we must have the balance of mind and heart. Both must be balanced, as the two wings of a bird. It can not fly with only one wing or with an unbalanced wings. Similarly to make our life a successful one we need both the mind and the heart. Which means compassion, maitry , helping others, keeping positive thoughts in our minds. With the compassion we need the mind also, mind means wisdom, the knowledge, intelligence, as both of them are important, without one of them we are not balanced and complete. Our actions and be afflicted without anyone of them. We need to evaluate before doing any of the action, if it good to do or not. So we should use both the wings the mind and the heart.
The education which you are acquiring its not just to listen and teach, it must be in action. There is the mantra of three ‘H’. Heart, Head and Hand. Means one should use his wisdom, compassion and then hands to execute it in the actions.
You must know this famous saying of Kabir:

Pothi Padh Padh Kar Jag Mua, Pandit Bhayo Na Koye
Dhai Aakhar Prem Ke, Jo Padhe so Pandit Hoye

Translation
Reading books everyone died, none became any wise
One who reads the word of Love, only becomes wise

The words of love, makes ones life a meaningful one. So one should live the life with love.”


Alice my second family… This is the statement of Mr. Kappin Chakma one of the oldrest residential students,who has been staying at the Alice since his childhood , where he lived and studied for 11 years, as a guest of the hostel.. Kappin graduated while offering services to the Sarnath School.

Now it’s time to fly out of the nest. A smart, intelligent boy with a philosophical mind (he had the courage to ask the Dalai Lama directly if the mind really creates our reality), went on a long way.  We wished him to have a good trip, and never forget our school’s motto: “You are that!”

At present he is working as a Manager of Indaonesian Monastery, situated in Bodhgaya, near the Karmapa Temple.  He shared his experience here as follows:

In the starting I was shy ,because of my weak Hindi and also the environment was different, new peoples ,but the teachers were awesome and kind with behaviour , colleagues behaved me friendly whose made me easier to adjust here.I am always grateful to all the teachers.
In the starting I was shy ,because of my weak Hindi and also the environment was different, new peoples ,but the teachers were awesome and kind with behaviour , colleagues behaved me friendly whose made me easier to adjust here. I am always grateful to all the teachers.
I felt teased and got angry very easily in the beginning when my friends used to call me ‘Lamwa’,Botiya’….Hahahha

But with the passes of times I realized learning from Bau (my Spiritual Guru)that whatever they say is nothing other than words and coming from his mouth(created by his/her mind) and I am always grateful for whatever I have got from Alice family.
It’s the easiest way to understand (Alice Project methodology,
Subjective knowledge including emotional intelligence#
Emotional intelligence plays a very important role in our daily lives ,dealing with own and others emotions.
“No one is perfect and nothing is permanent.”
My experience in the Alice was absolutely awesome and wonderful.
Thank you everyone from the  bottom of my heart❤
I’m gonna miss Alice Project.

Special Puja for the Alice Schools and visit of Lama Kelsang La :  Under the Ethical Project which is supported by the HH the Dalai Lama, we requested Ven. Kelsang la to come as an external expert to address the students of the school on the Ethics.  After talking to the studnets and teachers, he gave initiation of different mantras to everyone.

In his speech he said :

Our parents and gurus (the teachers) are very important. We are interconnected. So the students should respect the parents and the teachers and the teachers should love and care for their students.The Alice school has already spent 25 years in India and I think that the director Mr. Giacomin should be honored for his great efforts.
He is neither Indian nor Tibetan but he is from a long path away and the school is doing a social work. So we should honor him and develop a feeling of gratitude.
Our gratitude should be extend to all the sponsors, teachers and every one who is helping and supporting the schools.

Lama performed a special puja for the wellbeing of all the students, the teachers, all the staff, all the sponsors and friends of Alice.

 Losar Celebration : In the end of February, the losar celebrated at the school. Losar is the new year for the Tibetan Buddhist. 

On this occasion special puja was performed and the a food was prepared for the students of the hostel and gifts were offered to all the teachers and students.

A successful visit

On 27 a group of 27 people with a close friend of Mr. Valentino Giacomin, paid a visit at the school. Most of them were from Italy and France.
The students of the hostel together with the help of some volunteers and teachers prepared the lunch for them. The group was welcomed by the principal of School who introduced them to the project and the methodology. Then they had a group visit.

We did the presentation of the videos of with the introduction about the Alice Project and its methodology. The two volunteers Erika and Andrea (who have been working here at volunteers at Sarnath School) who contributed in preparation of the meals, shared their experiences of their stay at Alice Project.  Remi the French friend of Alice who came after 6 year  shared his view.

The students sang the songs of peace for the group and expressed their affection with smiling faces and thanks. The people of the group were extremely happy to see the smiling faces of the students and the wonderful food prepared by our students with the love and affection. They praised their dedication and love and the meals saying that they have been tasting the best food that they have ever eaten in all these days in India.

Alice Project in News :  In the march a famous weekly news paper called Samayik blitz (http://www.samayikblitz.com) wrote about an article about Alice Project and its founder. Below is a translation of the article

Mr. Valentino from Italy sowed the seeds of Samskara and Ethics in Education:
The education is not just reading and teaching system, but it is a way to sow the seeds of Samskara and Ethics in the minds of students. Otherwise an education without Samskara and Ethics can only make a child a instrumental slave like a robot. This concept of education, 40 years ago, an Italian Educator Mr. Valentino understood. So he came to the pure land of Bharat which is the land of Samskara and Ethics. He was attached to Buddha and he came to Sarnath. He liked this holy place of Buddha and decided to execute his educational ideas here at this place.

In this way Mr. Valentino Giacomin established the Universal Education School on a small piece of land in the year 1994. The school was inaugurated by Buddhist master late ven. Gose Lama. Mr. Valentino believes that spiritual education must be included in the education systems, this helps the awareness in the students, as well as it reduces the restlessness and it helps to create and develops a thinker and sincere personality. So in the present education system, the spiritual education must be an important and then only we can go on.
The school which was established by Mr. Valentino, as Universal Education School is now Universal Education Intermediate College. As well as, Sarvbhaumik Shikshasharam Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya is also running in this institution. The increasing number of students, promoted to make the land and building bigger and bigger. Now the school is spread in 5 Bigha lands where this college is situated and a free hostel for the poor and orphan children was established.
At present there are 36 teachers and workers are working at the school. The school has a branch in Bodhgaya and the second branch is running at Aruanchal Pradesh Chang lang. Mr. Valentino who is highly impressed by the traditional Hindu and Buddhist philosophies, travels to different countries and he often speaks in the conferences and seminars and whatever funds and donations are collected by these seminars are utilized in the development of the schools. Famous Buddhist Spiritual Master HH the Dalai Lama has come several times in the Sarnath School and by his blessings the among the students, the moral and ethical teachings are continuously flowing with the normal curriculum. By the skillful, guidance of the principal of Universal Education Inter College Mr. Awanish Kumar Mishra, is dedicated to give the quality education, as well as to keep the students aware about the environment.

Remi : I found the Alice Same as 6 years ago, the peace and harmony is the same as it was 6 years ago : Remi is a special friend of our school. He made several videos and interviews about Alice’s vision and methodology. A professional work made with the heart. You can find them in on web pages: www.aliceproject.org. and also one this link http://aliceproject.remistoquart.com/#VF_VO

He returned to our school after 6 years to help editing the material related to chakma shaman project. Also, he taught to a group of student how to use the camera and make interviews. A real generous man with good heart and creative, artistic mind. Thanks, Remi, on behalf of our President, the secretary, the principal, teachers, students and all Alice’s family!

Thank you Alice, Thank you all:  On the 3rd March two Voluneteers  Erika and Andrea left back, after spending an intense period at our Sarnath school. During their farewell they said: 

WE WILL NEVER FORGET YOUR SMILING FACES
and the way of saying Namaste’.

We stayed one month here and the time passed very fast. We will never forget your smiling faces and the way of saying Namaste. You are lucky to be Alice Project students since you have the opportunity to work in your inner world.In Italy this is not so easy.Here what you are doing is very special. Really all of you are doing something very special: trying to live outside (in the external world) but also trying to explore your inner world.What you are learning here: meditation and so on, is very important, because it will help you to become a better person.Thank you for accepting us in this huge Alice Family.You all were very warm on welcoming us and we had very nice time with all of you. So we would like to thank you very much.
—- Erika

Thank you every one, the resident guys for your help, support your presence. I will keep you all in our memories for a long time. It has been a wonderful time for us. You have been very kind, helpful and supporting with us.
—– Andrea

They have done wonderful work as volunteers, and over all as people, they gave a great example to others.  Mr. Valetino praised them saying : Here I would like to emphasize how their presence has redeemed the figure of the guest who helps the school, after the negative experiences of the recent past. Two humble, discreet, sensitive, prepared, available people, far from the Western stereotype with the superiority complex (colonialist) that still exists. They came with the right attitude: to learn and share what they know. In addition to making themselves available for any job they were asked to perform, they lived with the students as family members. And they also offered financial help, knowing our difficulties. Two ideal guests, to be used as an example for the next “smart vacationers” (we no longer use the term “volunteers” to avoid bureaucratic complications). Thanks to Erika and Andrea for their work and testimony.

Parents- Teachers meeting :  

On 7th of March we organized a parents- teachers meeting  which was very successful one. It was very interesting what they say about the Ethics project that is running from August at our schools. Parents understood the importance of spirituality integrated with the traditional curriculum. A great achievement for Alice’s school!

About 70-75% of the parents came with their children. One by one the parents and teachers talked to each other about their wards.  The parents praised about the school and its way of teaching. Many they were saying good things about the Ethical lessons.

They were praising saying this is something wonderful that we are doing for the students. The parents were very polite and humble. It was very good talking one to one so that they had the chance to better understand their children and our views.

Some parents said that they have problem to pay the fees and asked some help. We replied that everything depends on our sponsors.

Free Health Camp open for all:  To protect the students ,children and everyone of the society  from Albendazole for lymphatic Filariasis, a free health camp open for all; was organized at the Sarnath School by the Alice Project Society together with the Health ministry of India. People from the health department came to the school and gave medicine after doing the necessary check ups. Beside the students of school the local villagers also came with their wards and did the check up and got the necessary medicines.

Annual Exam at the Alice Project School: After the parents meting we organized the annual exams. Which was completed timely. Students took part to it with smiling faces.

Corona awareness programs : 

To make aware the students about the effect of corona and how to keep themselves safe, an online awareness program was organized in the schools of Alice Project, where students watched different educational videos about how to keep themselves and their family members safe from the effect of this virus.

Meeting of board and Important steps taken to make the students and the teachers secure against the effect of Corona : 

A meeting of the board of the society and the responsible for the management of the school, was organized  on 15th of March. Several important agendas were discussed and decisions were taken.From the very day all the decisions were excuted to make the students and the teachers secure.The board and manamgement decided to close the school, send back the studnets of the hostel  to their native places and give a leave to all the teachers and staff.. ….How will they survive on a month’s wages in case the emergency is prolonged (as will happen) for several weeks? For this reason, using the donation reserve funds (Ubi, friends from Taiwan, Flora …), 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 will be able to enter for at least 45 days.

 The school is protected by private guards both day and night. We have been stocking up on 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.

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 platform we call it the Tong Len group on WhatsApp 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.  Through this platform we keep everyone suggesting, guiding, advising how to keep themselves safe, secure and utilize our time in the right way practicing the meditation, making prayers pujas and using this time in self discovery and self realization.

Every day we are posting a posstive 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.

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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