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19tht-November-2011-tonglenDharamshala, India: Inaugurating new hostels at Tong-len charitable trust for poor and needy Indian children and families living in Charan Khad, a slum dwelling in Dharamsala, the spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama Saturday, 19th said every human being whether rich or poor has same capability to lead a dignified and happy life.

Tong-len was founded in 2002 by Jamyang, a Tibetan monk and is being funded by the Dalai Lama trust and other generous donors from the world over. Today it provides education and health care services to over 40 impoverished children and their family members.

His Holiness said he is acquainted with Jamyang's work for the last several years and recounted how he brought a group of children to him.

"I always believe and tell people that we are same human being. Every 7 billion human being are same, the way they are born and die. Differences of religious faith, nationality, races, rich and poor, educated or uneducated, believer or non-believer are secondary, more important is that we are same human being. Every one want happy life and not suffering. Every human being have the same right to overcome problems. As a social animal, it our part of our nature and moral responsibility to look after each other by forgetting the differences," His Holiness said.

"Poverty and the gap between rich and poor are morally wrong and practically a source of problem. We must make every effort in finding ways to reduce this gap," His Holiness said.

Nobel peace l said both the rich and poor section of society has the same potential to reduce the rich and poor gap. "The rich people can contribute for the education of the underprivileged section and boost their will, self-confidence and courage. Similarly, the poor people must think about how other people become rich. They should know that the rich people do not get wealth from the sky, but due to their effort and hard work. Moreover, education and vocational training are very essential. So, both sides can make efforts to reduce the gap between rich and poor," His Holiness said.

His Holiness stressed the importance of how vocational training empower the poor and needy people. "With the help of state government and the Tibetan community in Mundgod in southern India, poor and needy local children receive vocational training. We will feel happy to be able to contribute for their education. It is our duty to make donations to help the poor section."

Describing Jamyang's initiative to provide education to the poor children as "wonderful work", His Holiness said "In little ways, we fulfil [Tibetans] our moral responsibility to serve the local Indian community, particularly the needy children. I really appreciate your good work," he said.

His Holiness told the children of Tong-len charity as "young bright students, learning new things including English from a Tibetan monk born in Tibet."

He told the Tong-len trust not to hesitate to ask for donation from the Dalai Lama Trust. When there is no money in the Dalai Lama trust, then I will say no. Otherwise it is your money as long as there is fund in the Dalai Lama trust."

In his address, Mr Shanta Kumar, a former state minister and present member of Indian parliament, said: "I will always cherish the time that I today spent as the most important time in my life."

Describing Tong-len charity as the real temple of god, Mr Kumar said: "To help other human beings is to worship the god, adding, there is not greater means to worship the god than to give care and education to the poorer section of the society. I deeply appreciate efforts made by Jamyang."

"For everyone, it is worth getting inspiration from Jamyang and the support given by many generous sponsors," he said.

For the delight of Tong-Len family, Mr Kumar announced a donation of Rs 10 lakh from his member of parliament fund. "I am very much impressed by the work done by this institute for the poor children. I am announcing to contribute a donation of 10 lakh rupees from the member of parliament fund to Tong-len charitable trust," he said.

Mr Kumar also expressed concern over the large number of slums in India despite the nation making economic progress.

On how he conceived the idea to start the charitable trust, Tong-len director Jamyang said: "I observed that the children were begging, collecting rubbish and eating scraps when they were desperately hungry. I was filled with sadness and concern which prompted me to act and begin my journey of challenging the embedded cycle of poverty for the families of Charankhad."

As a Tibetan refugee, Jamyang feels happy to able to give back to the Indian community for their support and hospitality to the Tibetan people in exile.

Of its major achievements, Tong-len said it has been able to save children's lives; enhance the health of young children, particularly those who were at risk of a life time of serious health; educate children, who as a result are often the first in their families to have not only attended school, but to achieve excellent academic success and change a child's life by providing a new chance of living with dignity and good health.

Apart from looking after the 40 needy children, Tong-Len has been providing health care services to people within the slum of CharanKhad and other six slum areas in and around Kangra.

Sponsors from different parts of the world, including the UK, France, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Italy, have come to join the event.

The Tong-len children sang two songs as an expression of their gratitude and in honour of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's visit.

Dignitaries of the Central Tibetan Administration and people from both the Indian and Tibetan community attended the event.

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