India

Our involvement in India began even before TFI was formally established. TFI’s President Tom Nazario traveled to India as a part of a UN team in 1999 and was inspired to create TFI from what he saw there. It was at that time that Tom discovered one of the biggest problems India faced was access to education, particularly for girls. Later, TFI was compelled to take action when they saw the struggles of the refugees from Tibet.

In India, TFI  has supported schools, education-based centers, organizations the support the Tibetan refugee community, and programs that provide pathways out of poverty for low-income communities. Below please find a short description of each of the programs we continue to help in India.

Source: Khalsa Public School

Khalsa Public School

The Khalsa School was discovered by TFI on our very first official visit to India. We were impressed that the majority of the students were girls, and this school provided educational opportunities for children from the lowest caste in the Punjab region of India, where there is a noticeable drop in attendance and enrollment for girls as they grow older. The longer girls stay in school, the less likely that they will marry early and have children before they are ready, and thus be more likely to provide for their families later on in life without necessarily being economically dependent on a man.

Source: Lha Charitable  Trust

Lha Charitable Trust

Since Lha Charitable Trust’s founding in 1997, they have been provided social services for the Tibetan refugee community in northern India by offering language and computer courses, as well as providing a daily soup kitchen.

In their efforts in focusing on the needs of the community, Lha also developed two outreach projects. These projects target the development of a Water Filtration System and HIV/AIDS Education Program. The water system aims to reduce water-borne diseases and the education program aims to spread awareness of these medical conditions.

Sanskar Kendra

Sanskar Kendra School prioritizes education for girls. The organization was founded as a small initiative to educate the children of laborers and rickshaw pullers living in the slums outside New Delhi. Initially, what started off as a basic education center for around 35 kids soon became a formal school system, which now educates 1,000 children at three locations. In 2016, impressed by their mission and growing success, TFI partnered with Sanskar Kendra School to help these children.

Source: SevaChild International

SevaChild International

SevaChild’s goal is to eradicate the presence of vitamin A deficiency disorders throughout India by ensuring that at-risk children are supplemented with the vitamin A that is necessary to protect them from serious illness, blindness and even death. In addition to this work, during the COVID-19 crisis, SevaChild has been preparing and distributing packages of basic food supplies that will sustain a family of five for one month. TFI assisted in this effort by providing for 250 families.

Source: Shanti Bhavan

Shanti Bhavan

Shanti Bhavan is a boarding school in southern India which provides children from backgrounds of generational poverty with a safe living and learning environment and the skills they need to succeed as they grow into adulthood. The school starts with children as young as age four and continues with support and education until many are accepted at colleges, universities, and beyond.

TFI started a partnership with Shanti Bhavan in 2021 with plans to renovate their girls’ dormitory building in honor of our Children’s Fund sponsored student Priyanka Singh, who passed away in early 2020. In Priyanka’s memory, we will provide these girls with something Priyanka herself was never able to have: a safe and comfortable place to pursue her education. We know these girls will go forward  to excel in their chosen careers and bring about positive change within their communities.

The Priyanka Singh Dormitory for Girls is scheduled to open in the fall of 2022 at Shanti Bhavan for the 80 students who will remain in this home away from home as they grow and look forward to a wonderful future, something seldom afforded to the poor in India, particularly girls.

Source: Swati Kanak Durga Center

Swati Kanak Durga Center

The Swati Kanak Durga Center originally was primarily a day school for young, impoverished children. At the same time, Swati offered the older kids and young adults computer and English language classes.

In 2009, TFI donated shoes, clothes, toys, and medical and educational supplies to the Swati Center. Funds have also been provided to enhance their services. Recently, access to primary education in India has improved and the perceived value of education has grown in remote communities.

At the start of 2015, more young children enrolled in government schools than ever before, especially girls. Nevertheless, to keep up with the evolving needs of their community, Swati is changing their focus from traditional academics to after-school supplemental programs. TFI will follow their progress during this transition.

Source: Tabitha Enabling Academy

Tabitha Enabling Academy

Tabitha Enabling Academy provides education and support to children with special needs in the Northeast regions of India. Here, they offer traditional academic classes along with occupational therapies and daily life skills. However, with some children being bed-ridden or unable to go to school, the academy also offers home-based education. In addition to giving children opportunities, Tabitha brings disability awareness to the community so that families that have children with special needs are able seek assistance early in their child’s development. Unfortunately, in the developing world, where almost no laws exist to help or bring services to this marginalized population, it often takes the efforts of saints to even notice and act on the needs of the disabled and, but for them, these children and others like them might go completely forgotten.

Source: Tong-Len Charitable Trust

Tong-Len Charitable Trust

In 1999, on a   trip to India, Tom Nazario discovered the Charan Khad slum. At the time, the Tong-Len Charitable Trust had set up a nursery school there. This school was giving children nutritious meals, a mobile health unit, solar-powered showers, and public health education for families.

Sadly, in the Summer of 2016, the local government bulldozed the slum and evicted the entire community without plans for their relocation. Regardless, Tong-Len continued its work, offering dormitory housing and educational sponsorship for the students attending the local schools at a new location. Yet, there is concern over how to help the parents, most of whom are beggars. Nevertheless, the hope is that the children can at least look forward to a better life.

Source: Youthnet

Youthnet

Founded by a group of young professionals in 2006 and an attorney, YouthNet was one of TFI’s first projects after we decided to support grassroots programs in India. YouthNet’s mission is to offer young people education and information that will instill courage. Likewise, this grass-roots organization encourages young people to feel more confident with becoming socially and politically active. As a result, this will assist them in gaining leadership roles in their community.

As they are located in one of India’s poorest states in the Northeast part of the country, which has made it hard to visit. Nevertheless, TFI has sponsored students in their rural schools for some time and, in 2012, we donated shoes, clothes, and school supplies to their program. Later, TFI supported their educational programs by providing funding to their two primary schools: Mount View and Agape.

Source: Zilla Parishad

Zilla Parishad

The Zilla Parishad School was brought to TFI’s attention by one of our Board Members, Bobba Venkatadri, who grew up in Unguturu Village in southern India but later came to the U.S. and became a successful businessman. Upon approaching retirement, he decided to try to make sure the children growing up in his village today might have the same opportunities as he received.

Thereafter, Bobba’s first project was the installation of a water filtration system which helped reduce water-borne diseases. Next, he provided the local high school with a digital classroom so the students can remain competitive through learning with the latest technologies.

Bobba, along with his friends and his position with us, has been building an entirely new primary school through partnership with the local government. The building project was paused due to Covid-19 in 2020, but recently resumed construction and will be opening to some 300 students in the fall of 2022.