Alice Project News- August- September 2022

Dear Friends

We are ready with the new edition of ‘The Alice Project News’. In the last edition of our newsletter, we had updated you about the events that had happened till April, now we will go on.

Summer Holidays and experimental classes: The month of May and June were of summer holidays. But it wasn’t a complete holiday. Two classes, the students of class 2nd and 7th were coming for an experiment on the teaching methods of Math and History. A group of teachers were following the program. We found that the students did really well, and positive results were found.

We are still going on with the experiment with these classes. We will publish the report about the evaluation in our next editions.

Board examination and excellent results by our students:
On 18th of June, the UP govt. declared the result of class 10 and12th. The students of Alice Project Schools once again made an outstanding performance achieving 100% results in class 12th and
98.45 % in class 10th. In class 12th (Science stream), there are 48 students. Where, 40 students cracked the exams with first division while other 8 got second division. In class 12th (Arts stream) there were 15 students in. In this stream also all the students passed the exams with wonderful marks. 12 students got first division and 3 second division. In class 10 there were 64 students 63, who passed the with very good marks, unfortunately one student could not attend the exams due to Illness. We wish all the best to our students for their outstanding performance and a bright future to all of them.

Arrival of Mr. Valentino

Mr. Valentino Giacomin accompanied by Agata Montevecchi (President Alice Project Onlus Italy)  arrived at the Alice Sarnath branch in July. It is his first visit after the different phases of Lockdowns in India due to the COVID pandemic. And for Agataji it was her visit after 6 years. They were received by a senior student, Sanjay Kumar at the Airport and upon arriving at the school premises; they were welcomed by the office staff and some students.

Welcome sir, Welcome Anila!

Arrival of new volunteers and the new website of Alice Project: In July two French university students arrived in Bodhgaya for a two-month ‘smart holidays’ at Alice schools. Already three years ago we welcomed a couple of students sent by university near Toulouse.

The two students Paul and Lisa did a very nice job redesigning the Alice Project Websites. They also made a training for a group of staff to work on the websites and in exchange Alice offered her skills in meditation, yoga, holistic teaching, “new education”,.

Visit to the Arunachal Pradesh School : Paul and Lisa after working for one and a half month, paid a visit at the Alice Project Arunachal School. It was a wonderful experience for them. They could visit the place, talk to teachers, the students,  and their families.

They were moved to see the wonderland of ‘Alice Arunachal Pradesh School’.  They were happily welcomed by the teachers and students at the Independence Day celebration. After visiting the schools they visited the local village and the family of the students and teachers too.

New Uniform for all the staff: After the summer holidays completed, the Alice offered the new uniforms to all the teachers and staff. The staff and the teachers all were extremely happy and thankful to the administration.

Rakhi Celebration with Mr. Valentino and the residential students

Raksha Bandhan is a popular and traditionally Hindu annual rite or ceremony that is central to a festival of the same name celebrated in South Asia. It is also celebrated in other parts of the world significantly influenced by Hindu culture. On this day, sisters of all ages tie a talisman or amulet called the Rakhi around the wrists of their brothers. They symbolically protect them, receive a gift in return, and traditionally invest the brothers with a share of the responsibility of their potential care.

This year the students of school and the hostel tied the talisman to each other. Mr. Valentino who was present here, the children celebrated the festival with joy and happiness with him, offering him the Rakhi and sweets meats. Mr. Valentino, who was so happy, shared his blessings, love and gifts with them. A wonderful moment for all of us.

75th Independence Day celebration

This year the whole nation is celebrating the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav which is an initiative of the Government of India to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of independence and the glorious history of its people, culture and achievements.

Alice Project Schools celebrated the day with joy and happiness. The students of the school, teachers, members of the society and the staff along with the trainees of the 6th International teachers training participated it with keen interest. The national flag was hoisted by the secretary of the society, principal of the school, and honorable guests.

In his address to the students Mr. Vinod Kumar Pal (one of the senior most teachers) explained the value of independence and the sacrifice of the national heroes.  Students performed the cultural programs with enthusiasm.

The principal of the school thanked all the participants, for their valuable presence and collaboration to make the event a great success one. Sweet meats and other gifts were distributed to the students and all the members present there.

6th International Teachers Training at Sarnath School

After two years gap due to the covid pandemic, this year once again at the Sarnath Branch of Alice Schools the 6th International Teachers Training was organized.  11 participant teachers were physically following the training. While 3 teachers from Italy were following this training on zoom.

A group of teachers and trainers from Sarnath Branch participated it too.  The Training was a very successful.  The participants not only had a theory lessons, but they could practically see the implementation of the method in the classes.

They had a chance to meet and interact with the students and other teachers and see how the teachers are practically using the teaching method and the special program (Yoga, awareness practices, meditation exercises, and the philosophy) in the daily lessons.

At the end of the training, certificates were distributed to all the participants. At this ceremony all the participants, thanked to Mr. Valentino and all the members of Alice who helped them to make it a success one. 

One of the participants, Silvia, shares her experience as follows:

I want to thank all of you. You took a good care of us. We completed a long journey to come here and to know the Alice Project Methodology. All of you were so kind with us, you (the president)cooked for us, the teachers also are doing a great work. Agata, Romina, Boom, Sanjay , Mohan , Sudhakar and all of you have been really very helpful and caretaking.

So I am grateful to all of you.  I am especially thankful to Mr. Valentino who was with us on this journey for all this time.

I thank also to the students who are the future of the nation. You have a great power. So I wish you will implement in your life what you are learning here at the Alice Project Schools. I feel in my heart and I can see in your smile and eyes that you are doing great work. I wish you all the best. And I hope I will meet you again.

While Stefania expressed herself saying: “Thank you all. I would like to know your names so I can personally say thank you. But it’s not possible, so let me say: ‘Thank you all’. I am a teacher in Italy and I came here to learn from you. Italian schools are so uncomfortable. Here I learned how to shrink it. You taught me many things. One of the most important messages I received here was how to get out of the wheel of suffering. So I will take this message with me. You students are lucky. You have an important seed in you and you have a responsibility to make that seed bloom. Like you, I too will keep this seed in my heart and try to make it sprout and blossom.

Taiwan and Alice: Prayers and Puja for our Taiwanese friends: This year in the teachers training we missed a lot our teacher friends from Taiwan who have been with us in all the previous trainings.

But we haven’t forgotten our dearest friends of Alice from Taiwan, in this difficult time. They have been supporting and caring for our school for almost 25 years. They are an example of kindness, honesty, pure dharma and pure mind. They are always polite, humble, and generous. An incredible humanity guided by Tibetan Gurus and by an extraordinary genius from German, friendly called Fritz. His partner, Yueh-mei, is an excellent translator from Chinese to Tibetan. We, as Alice Project family, feel extremely lucky to have met such beautiful and unique people. As we all know at the time being the situation of Taiwan is not so good, the political situation is not so stable there.  In this difficult situation, we have not forgotten our friends of Taiwan. They are always in our mind and prayers. Particularly, we offered puja at one of the oldest and blessed monastery in Nepal, situated in Munstang region. We, as Alice schools, are affiliated with this Sakya Monastery which has also a branch in Pokhara (Nepal).

We have asked a divination for our Taiwanese friends from a Lama from Mustang, in Nepal, who is our Spiritual counselor. The result was not totally positive. Lama suggested several puja:  to overcome obstacles: 1 ) paint on stupa, like offer color on Boudha stupa as they do very auspicious day. 
2.) Give food or cloths to beggars.
3 ) reciting Gyetong pa  
4) Recite 1000 time of Maha Vairocana mantra.
The school has offered all the pujas for our friends from Taiwan.

Stupa of Maitreya almost ready:  

The Maitryea Statue which is under construction since the year 2010 is almost ready. The statue has been generously sponsored by our Taiwanese friends who have been extremely kind to support the construction work of the Statue that is situated in the Tara temple, next to the Sarnath School….   The head of the statue and  carvings behind it , is being installed and now the final fitting and polishing work is being done.  The names of Taiwanese group have been inserted on the base of the statue.

Here we would like to share that beside our Taiwanese friends the Kopan monastery, Nepal is also helping  us to complete the work faster 

Conference and an award to the Alice Project Schools: At the end of the the three week training a conference on  the topic of “Comparative review of Vedic education and modern education” and an award ceremony  was organized by the one of a prestigious Ved Vidyalaya (Vedic Schools) called Shri Swami Narayanand Teerth Ved Vidyala, where the Alice Schools were going to be awarded for its incredible work in the field of education, and its work on upliftment of Sanskrit Language, Indian culture and its tradition.

Following is the text of the award:

Alice schools, named by a Western scholar the “Montessori of XXI century”,  are continuing, since decades, a successful research on a new, revolutionary,  modern, educational paradigm, based on ancient Indian Wisdom and philosophy. Alice’s intuition, research, and its practical implementation show that India has the key to solve the dramatic problems of education in the world, through an “eco-transpersonal, holistic, spiritual pedagogy”, able to favor a harmonious development of the students.

In a materialistic world, that is increasingly based on performance, Alice is able to contribute, through didactic and educational training, to the construction of the Self, the deep structure of the person, both as a single individual and as a subject inserted in a community context.

But on the very day of the conference, before we could reach there a resident monk of the VED VIDYALA passed away due to natural death, so the conference was postponed for next few weeks.

Efforts to make the Alice Schools more self dependent:   Covid pandemic gave a strong message to the mankind, and Alice also learned a strong message, which was to be financially more self dependent on its own feet. In this regard, the president of the society Mr. Tsewang Tenzin, is trying his best to work and contact people, find resources, friends of who can support the Alice Schools.

In this series, some friends from Varanasi paid a visited the school at Sarnath and they assured to help the Alice to make it strong: I am impressed to see all of you here. I have seen many assemblies but yours one is a really amazing. There are many schools that are running a school for business. But yours ones is a special which works on the mind to develop its powers.. Alice is preparing so many ‘Valentinos’. I am sure in future you the students will create many other Alice projects. We will try to make you a brand ambassador. There are many ways to promote this pedagogy and people are doing it in different ways ; writing the newsletter, other social media platform,  I saw you have a website as well. There are many people who are very surprised to see all of you. You all are doing great. I assure you that I and my team will try to do the best. Your prayers and positive energy will make the miracle. Once again I thank to Ven. Tenzin ji all the guests, the principal, the teachers and everyone.  I have seen such a responsible principal here. He has been the best among all whom I have met till now. – Dr. Manoj Kumar  Pandey

Continue on the Mission of our President in Nepal. Precious ambassador of Alice at Lama highly qualified who play roles of great responsibility in their monasteries. Mr. Valentino express himself as follows : After humbly cooking for the trainees in Sarnath,  Tenzin la Our Society President, went on mission trip to Nepal seeking sponsors for three schools in India.

Despite serious health problems, he faced the difficulties of the train to save the flight costs. Our bank accounts are in… dry, due to Covid and post Covid crisis. Teachers’ salaries are at stake so much that we have been forced to think about asking for a loan from our bank. Tenzin got active by contacting journalists and his friends.

The trip to Nepal led him to meet the chief manager of Gelupa school’s  the second most prominent llama (see photos).

“It was a lucky encounter!” he wrote to me. “I’m continuing my research,” he added.

I thought, “How odd! Poor people who … they beg among the poor”. Nepal, as it is known, is one of the poorest countries in Asia. Alice thanks her president for heroic efforts to make schools independent.

Debbie: A special friend visits the Alice Project Schools: Debi La, a great supporter of the Tibetan community in India and also a friend of Alice and Valentino Giacomin recently visited the Alice Project School in Sarnath

She saw the school, the students, met the teachers and staff. It was a moving experience for her to see everyone here.  She was very impressed. She expressed herself as

 “Thank you for the hospitality, for the experience, for sharing… something not taken for granted.

In sobriety I perceived the enormous work and perseverance in the research and implementation of the method as the only key to evolution and inner freedom through ethical education! “,

The students and teachers surprised her with the peace and farewell song in Italian “We say goodbye here, with the last song… we salute you, friend, with a goodbye! “

Finally the meeting with the aspiring leader: “Is it true that you’re leaving?” “. “Yes, I must go! “. “But will you come back? ““Sure! I’ll be back'”

Arrival of Ven. Lama Khenpo Samteng Gyatso from Mustang Nepal

Ven. Lama Khenpo Samteng Gyatso from Mustang Nepal paid a visit at the Alice Project School. We came in contact with lama, through an Italian friend of Mr. Valentino called Niki Nikola who is working as a volunteer at the center of Lama in Nepal. A little history about this lama for our friends

“Khenpo was born in Ling village in the High Mustang in 1958.Since he was a child, his dream was to become a monk. His family didn’t want to, so they hired him to learn a trade. He learned how to make boots and clothes. This is why he can spice up our kids clothes. And he taught our monks how to repair shoes. When Khenpo-la reached the age of 15, the family gave up. He figured he would never stop wishing to be a monk. So they allowed him to take votes.

But at that time, because of the poor conditions of the Mustang, the monastery was so poor that no monks still lived there. Some former monks, now married, used to do pujas (prayer ceremonies), but that was it. Rinpoche Khenpo wasted no time. He started going to other monasteries to seek teachings and at the same time kept the monastery alive by performing major pujas.

“I learned how to play instruments, how to perform all the rituals correctly, the proper practice and many other things. And to think he was only 15!”- says Lama.

With him the monastery came back to life and some boys were sent by their families to become monks. Khenpo brought them to Dehradun India at Sakya school so that they could get proper education.

Heroic times. Out of money, just faith to keep going .

Then, when His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trinzin asked our monastery to create the monastic school, Khenpo went to serve her as a spiritual teacher in Taiwan. A more peaceful life. But when the late Khenpo Samdup passed away; Khenpo Samten Gyatso was summoned by His Holiness to act as spiritual father to the monastery.

And he is back. Kids love him and everyone loves and respects him. Because even if no one thinks about it, everyone feels it’s precious”.

Visit Bodhgaya school with our Society President’.

After visiting the Sarnath School, Lama with our president visited the Bodhgaya School too. There he met the teachers and students. He blessed the students with his precious teachings.

In his talk to the students lama said: “You the students are extremely lucky, you have a perfect human rebirth , with all the positive qualities. You all are born in such a place, which is so holy, and you have such a nice school, where teachers are always ready to help you, you have parents who take care of you all. So you should be really thankful for all these. …………….. You should understand that value of all these. Listen carefully the teachings that your teachers give to you. Do not waste your time in idle works.

At our monastery where some years ago there was an earth quack, many of the students who are in our monastery lost their parents and other family members. The place where we live is very high, and about 6 months of a year, it is full of snow and this also makes their life more difficult. Once a year we can cultivate the food and this is what we have to use for the whole year. So you can understand that how difficult is our life there.

This is why I am saying that you all are extremely lucky. So understand the value of all these and try to do something good in your lives. Good means do something for others. Live your life not just for one self but make it worthwhile makes efforts to do something for others too.

I wish all of you all the best. And thank you for letting me be here.

Alice will support the Lama and 50 students of his monastery

Alice School has promised to support the Lama and 50 students of his monastery and we will work together. In fact we have started to take the steps : first installment of teaching and learning materials : laptop, projector, teaching materials and copy of books have been sent with Lama to Nepal. In the next step, we are going to purchase new LED TVS and other necessary teaching materials, so that the students there can join online with the daily lessons from Alice Saranth

Games at Alice Project: Many of our friends, those who are following us on Face book, think that the Alice Schools are only working in the inner world of students, they think that there is a lack of physical exercises and games.

But it is not like this, as you can see in the images students of Alice also make games, gymnastics, of course the Yoga practices. Songs and dances too are promoted here.

Some of our teachers who are already trained in the games time to time organize games for the kids. Recently some of the participants of the 6th teachers training  as volunteer participated in the games and it was very nice experience for all the students, the teachers and the volunteers too.

Two play grounds for basket ball and while other two grounds for volley ball has been constructed at the school. In the periods of games the teachers are students are enjoying the games in these play grounds.

The ethical project: Since September 2019 we the Alice Schools are running the Ethical Project in its Sarnath and Bodhagay Schools. The project consists in a training course for the students on the vision of HH the Dalai Lama. In this course the students participate in this course every  weekends. The training provides notions and practical demonstrations on the following subjects and techniques: Yoga, meditation, concentration, visualization, memory stimulus, and ethics about not-dualism, socialization, education on emotional and transpersonal intelligence.

The project was sponsored by the HH office for two years 2019 /20 and 2020/21.  Unfortunately, the covid have affected whole world, and this is why for this year we could not receive the funds from them.

But we did not give up hope. As we believe that what we are doing is a good work and soon or later it will be fruitful.  So with our limited resources and some of the generous donors, we are running the project.  Due to lack of funds we had to reduce the number of students per week, where in past the project was running with 6 classes per week, now we are running it with one class per week. We hope that once again, when we will start getting supported by interested friends of Alice , once again we will run it on a larger level.

Project Online with Bodhgaya School: From Sarnath School we are continuously making English classes online, connecting with a Bodhgaya class which doesn’t have a qualified teacher. We called this: “class without barriers”. Successful experiment.

We were working since last 5 years how can we make it possible, but after making several attempts finally we succeeded to make the lessons between the two schools. As next step we will make the lessons from here to Nepal, helping the monastery of Khenpo Lama Samteng Gyatso la.

Teacher’s day celebration:

On 5th September Alice Schools celebrated the teachers’ day. On this day the students honor their teachers by showing gratitude for their work and commitment. The students of school happily gathered together with their teachers, and honored the teachers with kind words of thanks and appreciation, they sang the songs for them, happily celebrated the day.

Visitors from Kopan Monastery:

Recently Venerable Tenpa Choeden La, the chief Administrator of Kopan Monastery in Nepal visited our school at Sarnath. He was accompanied by Ven. Khenstun La, the manager of the Tara Temple. They were warmly welcomed by our students and teachers during the morning assembly. They experienced the daily routine of morning assembly where our students sit for a while practicing meditation after the Morning Prayer.

Ven. Tenpa Choeden La invited the Founder and Director, Mr. Valentino Giacoimn to visit the Kopan Monastic School in Nepal. He also showed interest of collaboration with Alice Project in regards to its Methodology.

Quote of thanks: On behalf of whole team of the ASUE- Alice Project we express our deep gratitude and thanks from the bottom of our hearts for your generous help and support. Thanks to the donors such as you we will continue to see improvements in our school.

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