Author Archives: Friends of Likir

About Friends of Likir

An initiative to nurture & educate children in isolated villages of Ladakh. Once upon a time a traveller wandered into the high altitude mountainous folds of Ladakh in India. She meandered into a magical village in a valley which had an old monastery on top of a hill. She was enchanted by the serenity of the picturesque village and by the cherubic 'Chungjungs' - the novice monks of the ancient monastery. She noticed that they were really happy but needed some help with their reading. The traveller had to go back home but decided to return soon. Back home she told her friends about the magical village of Likir. She kept her promise .. Friends of Likir a.k.a FoL, is an initiative to nurture and educate children in isolated villages of Ladakh. FoL was born in Likir and so the name remains as a metaphor for acts of loving kindness, creativity, connection and compassion and our children's right to education. Since then, Friends of Likir has joined hands with other isolated and neglected schools in the Ladakh terrain, Indo-China & Indo-Pakistan borders. Thank you for becoming a ‘Friend of Likir’. This year, Friends of Likir branches out to 10 isolated and neglected schools in the Ladakh terrain, Indo-China & Indo-Pakistan borders. Plans for 2012, 15th April onwards: Sourcing and collection of children's books and setting up libraries in 10 schools. Re-designing reading spaces in existing schools Conducting learning modules, art and drama workshops over the next 6 months Providing children with games, toys, sports equipment, art & stationery supplies Medical Camps for vaccinations and treatment of respiratory and skin infections Sponsorships: Their tuition fee, boarding and annual expense. Educational Assistance to schools in remote and drastic environments Supporting Ladakhi teachers with educational resources, teaching aids and training programs. FoL aspires to organically build an integrated network of like-minded individuals that can extend their support through care, love, time, effort, their skills or monetarily. A few ways in which you can help: -Spreading & sharing -Collecting and gifting children's books Please visit the wish lists- http://www.flipkart.com/wishlist/friendsoflikir-4769 http://www.flipkart.com/wishlist/friendsoflikir-1285 -Sponsoring a school library -Sponsoring a child. If you are an individual who would like to volunteer your skills, creativity and time, have training in Montessori methods, experience with young learners, consider yourself a selfless nurturer, love children's books or are a natural story-teller, please write to friendsoflikir@gmail.com with the subject-Volunteer with FoL.

Fundraising by students in the United Kingdom

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Since the beginning of Lent, the young school students and their teachers from the Bishop Wordsworth’s School in Salisbury in the UK have been thoughtfully collecting money for books to donate to Friends of Likir. They’ve been at it for days and have been appealing to people in and around the school whenever time permits. Recently, they even drew up some posters to support this precious endeavour. We’d like to thank them for taking out the time to do all of this.

Their small steps have made a big difference, in fact they so far have successfully managed to raise about £542.50 which is approximately INR 43,999. What a marvellous gesture on behalf of all them!

Friends of Likir would like to thank each and every one of you wonderful people, teachers, students and parents at the school. We hope we all get to meet each other in the near future! O’ju-Le.

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Soul Work

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When sparks of excitement fly in the classroom, when tears emerge, when laughter erupts, when students from previous years send notes of gratitude, these moments touch the soul and remind teachers of the reasons they entered the profession. Those ‘moments of being’, as Virginia Woolf once described them, that sense of connectedness, convince  you that there is a deeper life of the soul to explore.

The art of knowing oneself, knowing others, and knowing the sacredness of all life are the skills of spiritual literacy and are vitally important to the development of the whole child. Students can nurture a personal spirituality or philosophy that is wise, empathetic and mindful. Teachers and students awaken senses and creativity, foster relationships and community, and value intuition, silence and spiritual diversity. Teachers who do so know they are creating havens of peace and understanding that provide stillness and perspective outside the frenetic pace of modern life.

We thank all those former teachers who have been our guides and those students who have been our teachers, and who like ourselves know in their hearts that education must first nurture the soul. Teaching is an ongoing pilgrimage toward the self and as a mentor once told us, ‘ We teach most what we need to learn.’ “Soul work”, the truest work of any education, is a lifelong journey for teachers and students.

Excerpts from The Compassionate Classroom- Lessons That Nurture Wisdom and Empathy

To Nurture & To Educate

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To Nurture & To Educate

Once upon a time a traveller wandered into the high altitude mountainous folds of Ladakh in India. She meandered into a magical village in a valley which had an old monastery on top of a hill. She was enchanted by the serenity of the picturesque village and by the cherubic ‘Chungjungs’ – the novice monks of the ancient monastery. She noticed that they were really happy but needed some help with their reading. The traveller had to go back home but decided to return soon. Back home she told her friends about the magical village of Likir. She kept her promise ..

And this, is how Friends of Likir was born. ‘There are two things in the world that are close to my heart – Igniting young minds and nudging them on to becoming compassionate human beings. Educating children gives me immense satisfaction and happiness. I’ve always believed that every child, irrespective of his or her family or financial background, deserves a chance to go to school, to read, to write, learn and grow- and in this process have lots of fun.

I happened to visit Ladakh in August 2005 and it created a lasting impression. I realised that beyond this mountainous terrain that holds great appeal for tourists, there was another world. A world where the children were eager to learn and in their cherubic smiles, I could see potential. I decided to stay on for two more months. I design modules here, that aid children in learning communicative skills though activities involving listening, speaking, reading and writing in the medium of English. Through these modules I evoke their imagination and set them out on inquiry-based learning.

‘Friends of Likir’ is a personal initiative and it is gradually evolving to support young learners in remote schools of these neglected areas. It is a slow labour of dedication and love & of my humble steps towards nurturing and educating children in isolated villages of Ladakh. This year, there are further plans of joining hands with other schools in the regions around the Ladakh terrain, Indo-Pakistan & Indo-China borders. The initiative branches out to fifteen schools to build libraries and spaces of effective learning for each. We aspire to gradually build an integrated network of like-minded individuals who may support this endeavour through their time, effort, skills and resources.

I am closely connected to this high altitude region and hope to make a meaningful difference to the lives of these young children. ‘Friends of Likir’ celebrates the spirit of children and their right to education.’ – A.S.

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The Wonderful World of Eric Carle

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The secret of Eric Carle’s books’ appeal lies in his intuitive understanding of and respect for children, who sense in him instinctively someone who shares their most cherished thoughts and emotions.The themes of his stories are usually drawn from his extensive knowledge and love of nature—an interest shared by most small children. Besides being beautiful and entertaining, his books always offer the child the opportunity to learn something about the world around them. It is his concern for children, for their feelings and their inquisitiveness, for their creativity and their intellectual growth that, in addition to his beautiful artwork, makes the reading of his books such a stimulating and lasting experience.

Carle says: “With many of my books I attempt to bridge the gap between the home and school. To me home represents, or should represent; warmth, security, toys, holding hands, being held. School is a strange and new place for a child. Will it be a happy place? There are new people, a teacher, classmates—will they be friendly?

I believe the passage from home to school is the second biggest trauma of childhood; the first is, of course, being born. Indeed, in both cases we leave a place of warmth and protection for one that is unknown. The unknown often brings fear with it. In my books I try to counteract this fear, to replace it with a positive message. I believe that children are naturally creative and eager to learn. I want to show them that learning is really both fascinating and fun.” 

http://www.eric-carle.com

You may order for books by Eric Carle for the children in Ladakh from the ‘friendsoflikir’ Wishlist on flipkart http://www.flipkart.com/wishlist/friendsoflikir-1285 These are books we require in sets of 10.

Write in to us at friendsoflikir@gmail.com for queries. O’ju-le.


Books on the Eve Of Christmas

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I was wondering what to contribute ever since I came to know about Friends of Likir. And I am glad I took my time when I discovered libraries were to be set up for the children in Ladakh this new year.

There is a quaint, street bookstore near my house right in the midst of Bombay’s chaotic life. It’s a tranquil place I visit whenever I want to buy books. A young man, Jiten Maurya who is from Uttar Pradesh owns this shop that is sandwiched between a regular residential building and a big grocery store. The shop is in fact inside the parking area and all the books rest on shelves and on the floor. He has the most eclectic book collection and also, a street library for old and new books.

I would often miss the kid’s section, which I have lately found out has little story books, beautifully illustrated books of all shapes and sizes because they were of no use to me.

I went back there one evening, sat and sifted through all the kid’s books. I hand-picked all of them because this is a second hand book shop. There were rare story books some of which are no longer published. While choosing them, I put myself in the shoes of young children who had no exposure or source to such delightful books. I wondered what I’d like to read about if I lived in the high altitude mountains of Ladakh ..and then I knew exactly what to pick! 

Some of the books in the box:  Mr Rabbit and The Lovely Present’ published in 1962 and written by Maurice Sendak, lots of Scholastic books, The Weathervane, Snow White, Kipper, Winnie the Pooh and loads more.

The boy who owns the shop was very kind and helpful, he even asked me “Yeh kiskey liye hain?” I said “ Ek Madam hai joh baccho ko padhatey hain aur woh bohot duur jaaney waley hain. Yeh sab lekar. Toh mera help karo acchey books dhoondney main”. He then sat with me and we wiped all of them clean, erased pencil marks if any and here they are.

When I was done, quite coincidentally I also stumbled upon a book from the classic Mr.Men and Little Miss series by Roger Hargreaves. This one was of Little Miss Helpful. They make them into t-shirts and pillows these days.

A few days later, I was crossing the street and I hear this familiar voice. It was the bookstore boy calling out to tell me that  he’d found 6 more books and his next stock was coming in January. The boy asked, ‘Madam kaisey hai chale gaye Kya Ladakh? I said, ‘Nahi abhi time hai aur Madam tumharey books se bohot khush hai’. Big smile on his face…

Here are some pictures of the place, Jiten and the books. I brought them to Ahmedabad on Christmas Eve.

Nikhil F.

Busy Spiders Are We..

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                                                           As you may have observed, busy as spiders are we..

We are gradually collecting children’s books to set up libraries in the 10 schools for April. I shall be there for 6 months and apart from setting up these libraries and delightful reading spaces, would be conducting learning modules that inculcate listening, speaking and reading skills & teacher training workshops.

Interior designers interested in volunteering their design skills- this may be a delightful opportunity to recreate a reading room.

Volunteers that would be willing to travel to Ladakh and dedicate time, please write in.

-YES! We are on the look out for a efficient web-designer who knows everything that needs to be done and executes (who I don’t feel the need to constantly badger!)

-Individuals that would like to browse and buy online, you may visit  Tara and Zubaan books or select from the books we frequently posted on Friends of Likir, our facebook page (Ideally, we’d like 10 sets of each book- but, we’ll share each valuable contribution)

I have put together and ordered a list of books that in my teaching experience would be a valuable resource to the children. We would require sponsors for each of these libraries. If you would like to sponsor libraries or need further assistance please write to  friendsoflikir@gmail.com

O’ju-le!

-A.S.