Caring for the Children
A typical day at TCH starts with the shout of children getting up at 5.30 AM and preparing for a new day. The house mothers help the small children brush their teeth, wash their faces and get dressed in their school uniforms. The children then go to the main hall for an hour of quiet study. At seven o’clock the children recite their morning prayers and then have their breakfast. Special care is taken with the small children during the meals to make sure that they eat properly to remain healthy.
After breakfast, there is a brief assembly with the TCH Vice-President after which the children head off to school. The staff then has their breakfast before going back to their morning work. Special emphasis is given to cleanliness. The House Mothers are responsible for cleaning the dormitories, making sure all the beds are properly made and checking to see that all clothing is clean and organized. The chef and his helper start to prepare for lunch and dinner. The meals are planned by the administration to assure they are nutritious for the growing children under their care. Life in the home is like a self contained family group and children are raised as brothers and sisters. They share the household chores, especially during the week-end, washing, sweeping, and taking care of the younger members of the family. The school day is finished at 2:00PM and lunch is served at 2:30PM. Then the children have an afternoon nap until 4:00PM. From 4:00 to 5:30PM, the children are busy with their school work. Those children who need assistance work with the tutors during this time. For the next hour, the children get their exercise playing games such as soccer and basket ball while others take the time to socialize with their friends. The local nurse visits the home during this time to give basic healthcare to children and staff. From 6:00PM to 6:20PM the children get washed and prepare for evening prayers and dinner. Then it is time for more studying to complete their homework. At 9:00pm, the younger children go to bed. The house mother makes sure that these children wash up before they go to bed and have enough blankets to keep them warm. At 9:30PM the older students retire to bed and by 10:00PM lights are turned off.
Throughout the year kids are engaged in cultural activities such dance, song, and teaching about the Buddhist religion. The TCH children and staff celebrate all the major Tibetan holidays, participating in the festivals at the local monasteries and enjoying special meals at the Home.
During the first two days of the Tibetan New Year, the children and staff cook a traditional Tibetan meal, set up various games in the TCH courtyard and invite the Dhondupling community to come and enjoy themselves. The children also serve the community by helping to clean the grounds of a local monastery every month and serve TCH by assisting with projects that will improve the Home.
The children eagerly participate in basketball and soccer matches with other Homes in the Dehra Dun area. They also delight in periodic field trips to fascinating sites throughout the Dun Valley. To show their appreciation, the children create a cultural show and give a performance for teachers and staff on Teachers’ Day. In turn, the staff throws a gala party for the TCH children on Children’s Day.