Lotus Flower Trust

Changing children’s lives through education.
The Lotus Flower Trust was formed to provide access to education for disadvantaged young people in remote areas of India

TFWA Care has supported its work almost since the Trust was founded. TFWA president Erik Juul-Mortensen and World Duty Free Group business relations and external affairs director Sarah Branquinho became involved in The Lotus Flower Trust through their son, who helped on one of the projects in India. After visiting the project and themselves helping with construction, Sarah and Erik sought TFWA involvement in the cause.


TFWA Care has supported a number of projects launched by the Lotus Flower Trust. In recent years TFWA Care has helped the Trust complete the construction of the following schools in the remote areas of India:

 

  • Brahmaputra Home for Railway Children in Guwahati
  • A home for staff at the Ashram Shala Savada school
  • Nalanda Residential Primary School for boys and girls in Ladakh
  • International School for English Language (ISELL) in Ladakh
  • An accommodation block for girls at the Middle School in Ladakh

All the projects undertaken by the Lotus Flower Trust make a huge difference to the quality of care and teaching provided to children in parts of India where educational infrastructure is practically non-existent. As Lotus Flower Trust CEO John Hunt says: "The only way out of poverty is through the education of children! So the Lotus Flower Trust works at grass-roots level providing children with well-built schools with caring teachers and homes where the children can feel safe and have dignity.”

Project in 2018

This year, TFWA Care will continue its partnership and help The Lotus Flower Trust rebuild another school near the borders of Tibet and Nepal. The Mar Thomas Mission School is situated about one kilometer beyond the very small and remote town of Munsiari, Uttrakhand. Its location is so far from the closest town or city that it is unlikely the Indian government or any other local or overseas NGO will give aid to the school in this corner of the Himalayas. The local population is very dependent on this school and most of its buildings are in very poor condition and desperate need of upgrading.

There are currently 260 children at the Mar Thomas Mission School school from kindergarten level to 8th grade staffed by only 15 teachers. Most of the children come from scheduled castes and tribes, with their parents being either farmers or road labourers. Many of the children come from families who have moved out of the hill villages to find a better life but are still struggling to make ends meet. The school encourages girl’s enrollment and 40% of the students are girls. Currently, there is no more space to take further children but the demand is high for more places.

The limited buildings of the current school are in a very poor state of repair. The Lotus Flower team could not see how all the pupils could be accommodated for their lessons. There is a functioning computer laboratory and a library only. The rest are all in need of repair or should be replaced. One of its main buildings that most urgently needs replacing is a crinkly tin hut with two classrooms – where it is freezing in the winter (temperatures drop to -20C), boiling hot in the summer and horrendously noisy during monsoon season.

With TFWA Care’s generous donation this year, the Trust would ensure the building is properly replaced. The balance of funds would be used to upgrade some of the remaining buildings. Thanks to TFWA Care, there will be more classrooms and space for children in the neighboring town to receive basic primary education.


Project in 2017

Last year, TFWA funded the reconstruction of an accommodation block for girls at the Middle School in Nyoma, a very remote area in the Himalayas of the capital town of Ladakh where education is not a priority for children – especially for young girls.  The girls at the Middle School were living in a primitive Sarai (guest house) meant for the local villagers use. During the winter, they have no heating and they live in spartan conditions in frigid temperatures. With the generous funding of TFWA Care, a proper hostel is being constructed.  It was expected that the construction work would take about two years to complete due to the harsh weather in the Himalayas and its remoteness to transport the necessary building materials.  Once the construction of this Hostel is finished in October 2018, it will provide the girls with a much needed place to stay and more importantly, give them dignity in their lives and motivate them to pursue education.   We can provide them a start to break free from the cycle of poverty caused by their isolation through education. The Lotus Flower Trust is the only overseas charity to be working in this remote area of Ladakh.


Without the push to achieve basic education, the career prospects for the children of Nyoma are bleak.  The choices to earn a livelihood are limited: a nomadic life looking after the herds;  working as a road builder which involves lifting heavy rocks manually to repair the roads in the rough terrain of high altitude Himalaya; and lastly, joining the local army brigade ‘Ladakh Scouts’  that is currently engaged in fighting neighbouring Pakistan.  With TFWA Care’s continuing support to the Lotus Flower Trust, the drive to convince parents that in modern India, education is the only solution for elevating people out of poverty.