Brussels: - 21st March 2014, Rewa started visiting Belgian schools to give presentations about Tibet and its educational activities there in 2012. So far Rewa has been invited by the following secondary schools Ecole Cardinal Mercier in Braine l'Alleud (more than 800 students) and Sint Joris in Kruibeke (750 students) ; this month Rewa was invited to go to a Belgian primary school for the first time.
Gavertje Vier in Belsele very kindly opened their doors to us and gave us the opportunity to talk about Tibet to 3 large groups of 50 students each.
These presentations have a dual purpose; to educate Belgian children about Tibet and to help raise funds for our educational projects in Tibet. Generally speaking, citizens of Belgium know very little about Tibet. While there are a handful of very active Tibet supporters, this is a small minority. Most people are not aware of the situation in Tibet and some don't even know where it is. Rewa's school initiatives aim to remedy this problem, several schools have now shown an interest in teaching their students more about Tibet and it is almost certain interest will spread in the future. Rewa looks forward to being invited to more and more schools.
In 2012, thanks to the sponsorship of Ecole Cardinal Mercier and the Rowell Fund, we were able to build and equip a library in Changtsa valley; this library is now open to everyone. This is a first ever for rural Tibet; we hope it will inspire children to study more and parents to send their children to school.
In 2013, we were able to help the 'winter classes in Denwa valley' project. This local initiative was started in 2011 and aims to provide children with the opportunity to practice their lessons during the winter holidays and for them to teach younger ones what they learnt during the school year.
Three months is a very long time to be away on holidays; if children do not read, write or study a bit during that time, they will have forgotten everything when they go back in March. Parents cannot help as they usually do not know how to read and write, there are no places where children can go and study. This is why we are very happy to be involved with this initiative. In 2011, when the first study group took place, around 30 people attended. This year, the number went up to 175. This really shows the need for educational support in rural Tibet.
Rewa is very happy to see how keen children are to study.
Back in Belsele, the Religious Education teachers from Gavertje Vier (one Muslim, one Catholic and one Humanist) who took part in this event were really motivated and decorated the classrooms and corridors with Tibetan prayer flags, the Tibetan national flags, singing bowls, prayer wheels, malas, bells and mani stones thus ensuring that everyone in the school got the chance to see everything. Children and teachers also had the chance to see the 'My name is Dolma Tsering' exhibition. All this colourful activity appealed to the children's curiosity and they enthusiastically asked question after question.
Another exciting event that took place was the raising of the Tibetan national flag outside the school gates, in the place of honour where the Belgian flag usually flies. For 19 days, the Tibetan flag will be flying over Belsele, giving parents, visitors and passersby the chance to see it and to hopefully find out more about Tibet.
The presentations in Belgian schools are usually followed by action days such as students going on a two day retreat, taking part in sponsored walks, selling pancakes or tickets to a spaghetti dinner to fund raise etc
Gavertje Vier, being a primary school, will organize a dessert afternoon when cakes and sweets made by children will be on sale to the parents.
Thanks to Hans Burm who is a teacher at Gavertje Vier and a long time Rewa supporter.
Thanks also to Tamara Foubert, who is a long time Tibet activist and who has supported Rewa since the beginning.
All of your efforts have made these days in Kruibeke and Belsele very successful indeed.
Rewa is very lucky to have so many sincere and enthusiastic supporters who always help us with our projects.
Rest assured that Rewa will not stop there but will continue to find ways to bring education and the hope of a brighter future to as many Tibetan children as possible.
Rewa is a non profit organization whose aim is to help educating Tibetan children in Tibet. Founded in Belgium in 2009, it has gone from strength to strength by finding sponsors for about 50 children, opening two village schools and opening rural Tibet's first ever library.