Dear Alice Friends,
Once again we are ready to bring you on the journey of the Alice Project with this newsletter. In our last edition you have been updated with all the activities that had happened in the months of September. Now we will move on.
The new chakma students ‘Andrea’s Family: The administration of Alice’s school has decided to welcome 10 (5boys and 5girls) new chakma students in the hostel of the Alice Project – Sarnath Branch. Most of these students are orphans and belong to farmer families that are compelled to live in extremely poor conditions at the Arunachal Pradesh. Some of these students could never go to the schools as the place where they live, there is a strong need of schools that can provide education. And since long the administration was receiving request for giving a support to these students.
We did not know what to say to the parents of these children, as the economic crisis that has hit the entire world, did not spare the Alice Project Schools. But thanks to the generous support of the UBI and some other kind supporters this could finally be possible. And we are ready to welcome these children here.
Literacy project for girls :
To provide a chance for better education, specially to the female students of our schools, we are always ready. In this series, we have launched literacy program for the female students of our school. Soon the new chakma resident girls will join other girl – students of our school.
Extra classes and the weakened lessons for the English, Math and general knowledge are being organized for these children to recuperate the loss that they had to face due to the covid lockdowns.
As these female children like the Chakma students, who are coming to our hostel, they too, belong to needy families that are not in a situation to afford extra classes and coaching. Therefore the administration decided to help these children and we can see there is a progress in these students. We thank all our supporters who are helping us to make this project a successful one.
Leprosy Project: The leprosy project is going well. Till now, we were taking care of Mrs. Jhunni Devi, who has been supported by the school since last 15 years. Now there is one more resident chakma student called who was diagnosed and found that she needs the treatment of leprosy. Therefore at once one of the best doctors in Varanasi has been asked for her treatment.
The medicine is working and we hope all the best for Miss Eba,may she recover soon. We will write more about their health updates in our next editions.
Visit of H. E. Jangtse Choegyal Kyabje Gosok Rinpoche at the Sarnath and Bodhgaya Schools.
The most Venerable Kyabje Gosok Rinpoche is a Buddhist monk acknowledged in Tibet as the emanation of a whole series of distinguished spiritual masters. As such, and especially due to his exceptional ability to express loving-kindness and compassion as well as to impart wisdom, he is said to be very precious for sentient beings.
In this way, he appeared in his lineage of incarnations as the Omniscient Kaudinya, the eldest of the first five disciples of Buddha Shakyamuni. Later, in Tibet, he was incarnated as Döndrup Gyatso, a famous abbot of the Drepung Gomang College. Along with Sera and Ganden, Drepung is one of the three main Tibetan monastic universities. On 15th of November Rinpoche paid a visit at the Bodhgaya school and on 20th at the Sarnath one. Rinpoche was extremely happy to meet the students, teachers, all the members of both the schools.
During his address Rimpoche expressed himself as follows : Dr. Valentino Giacomin has established Alice Project School Sarnath, with an intention to impart education and moral values to the children.
This project is extensive and vast that it brings immense benefit to individual and society both. I found this school to be an extraordinary in many ways. The subjects being taught here is equipped with (both method and wisdom aspects) ancient Indian cultural values, modern educational qualities, such as: it is in-line with science and psychology. In today’s world, this kind of school and education system is very rare to find, therefore, it is inevitably need of an hour. I know, this undertaking is possible, because of the Dr. Valentino Giacomin’s many years’ painstaking and sincere efforts along with his dedicated staff members, conducting research and experiments for the implementation of the curriculums in the school. I take this opportunity to specially thank him for his generous work. Since the inception of this school, the faculty members and staff has been collectively shouldered the responsibility to teach children with a love and affection, considering the current exigent social-economic problems. Also, the students have worked hard in studying with the sense of urgency.
Therefore, I take rejoice in all your virtuous deeds and thank you all that you have been taken this rare opportunity to make our society a better place. The way of educating the children here is unique and marvelous. The knowledge being imparted here will bring groundbreaking change and benefit in days to come in the family, neighbors, in the life of an individual, society, in the nation, and world at large. I urge you all to continue this endeavor in future as well. Since this project is envisioned with altruistic intention, it should be benefited all without any discrimination of nation and race. It should be aimed at alleviating sufferings of humankind and bringing about peace and happiness for everyone. I believe that this project is playing a role of kind parents for the students and making huge contribution in ensuring peace, harmony and happiness in the world. There is no doubt that this is happening because of the Dr. Valentino Giacomin, and once again I take rejoice in his kind activities and appreciate him a lot. His projects and this school will surely lead the world, and will be the model to follow.
I hope in the future this project will organize Teacher Training on education and moral ethics and the graduates will go to various schools around the globe to teach. Though, the outer facilities may not be equipped well, but the important one is the inner education. Take an example of a food, the plate is not that much important, the food inside is more important. The education you are receiving here benefits one and all, now and in the distant future. I urge teachers and students to grab this rare opportunity and make the most of it. Try to help others with your body, mind and speech with a kind and compassionate heart. I know you all have diligently made this possible. I thank you again. I want to say especially to the children that the most important thing we need to be in our life is to be honest and kind hearted one. If you posses these qualities then if you are less educated, still you can spend a happy and meaningful life. If you posses both, then you can benefit your society and world. If one is dishonest and cruel hearted, then one is not only fails in all endeavors, but also may not enjoy happy life. Therefore, be kind and compassionate towards everyone. This is my heartfelt request to my students, my sons and daughters. Keep me in your memory. Tashi Delek.
Ethics Classes to recuperate students after Covid: To recuperate the students at our our schools of Sarnath and Bodhgaya, once again we have started the special training course for the students about moral ethics and philosophy, this is called the Ethical Project. At the same time, special classes for English, Math, Science, Hindi and Special Program are also organized twice a week.
Under the Ethical Project, in this weekend H. E. Jangtse choegyal kyabje gosok rinpoche’s accepted our request happily and spend a quality time with our students, while exchanging smiling faces, Guruji explained them about the importance and need of moral ethics in our life and the importance of human life and how we should lead meaningful life.
While addressing to the students about the important of sharing, Rinpoche said: if you will share, as much as you will share, you will get that much of peace and sukoon (relief) in your heart. This is what Rinpoche is saying to all of you.
As your teacher, what he is teaching you, as much you will share it with others that good will it be. A good feeling will come to you too.
Guru ji says, what you are learning (the ethics)… what does it mean? It is important to know what Ethics actually is. Keeping ethics in your mind, if you will think of the benefit of others, so in your mind , the peace, will come in your mind too. As in your class when your teacher teachers you each and every letter, so it is not just to memories it, important is to understand , what is it and what is its meaning. It is very important to understand it and keep in your mind. So keeping in the mind , that this ethical teaching is very important, and then use it in a practical way. If you will keep practicing and meditating, then you will get the peace.
The conference on the “Philosophy of Alice project and its practical application on education”.. On 15th of November a conference on the topic: “The Philosophy of Alice project and its practical application on education was organized at the Alice Project Sarnath Branch. “
We talked about Alice’s pedagogy and vision today at Sarnath School. Synthesizing, we explained that two types of teachers are exhausted: a materialist (who unknowingly projects outwardly their negative lives and shadows, creating a problematic classroom); another, a spiritualist, (who recognizes his projections, withdraws them and works ‘with’ and ‘on’ them). Alice proposes the training of a second type of teachers to solve the dramatic problems of the world.
More than 95 participants (Online/ offline)who are working in the field of education participated the event that was a great successful one. The students of the Alice Project School also participated the event; they honored the chief speaker Mr. Valentino Giacomin with the songs. The principal of the institution expressed the quote of thanks.
Cooperation with Italian schools and Nepalese: After the visit of Ven. Lama Khenpo Samteng Gyatso from Mustang Nepal, the two institutions : the Alice and the Lama’s institution agreed for a cooperation. Where the Alice Project Schools will help the children of lama’s monastery for the education and the lama will help the Alice Schools with his spiritual guidance.
Mr. Valentino, along with Mr. Boom Dorje and Miss. Romina went to the institution of Lama and a meeting was done how to work on it.
Beside this one the public schools on Italy called, Parco dei Balloons – Treviso, Italy, from where two of their teachers had participated the 5th international teachers training organized at the Sarnath Branch in the month of August, showed a keen interest in the Alice Project methodology, and agreed to follow it in their schools. So In this series since the months of October twice a week the online lessons are conducted by our teachers for the Italian students.
The principal of the school at Treviso was extremely happy for this online project and she thanked the Alice’s schools as follows : First video link with kids from schools in India by Alice Project Universal Education School we participated in a Real School lesson where children’s emotions and their lives were at the centre.
Master Mohan repeatedly asked the children “How are you feeling? “In one hour class, in which the teacher spoke exclusively in English, the children practiced math and logic exercises, alternating them with songs, sitting on the floor, in a position that was most comfortable for them, free to express and off the shore” Larsi. We are waiting with great joy for the next lesson, we are very happy about this twinning, we are living an extraordinary adventure. Thank you to those who made it possible.
About this the famous new paper La Tribuna di Treviso celebrating the opening of the first private school in Italy that adopted, in its entirety, the pedagogy and didactics of Alice schools made the following news article about the Alice’s Schools.
Starting a training course for Counselors on Ethics education:
The Alice Project after getting the inspiration from H. E. Jangtse Choegyal Kyabje Gosok Rinpoche, is sincerely working on its new project to organize training course for the counselors on Ethics Education. At first we are working with our teachers and we are looking forward, to get an approval of some institutions, which can approve the certificates that we will issue after this course.
As start some of the interested teachers who are working with the primary classes, have shown the interest to work on this project. We will update you more about the progress of this project in our next edition.
Effort to repair damage to our construction after Covid:
Due to the closure of the school due to covid lockdown, our building and the construction needed, maintenance, as the buildings were closed and locked for long. Therefore, we made efforts to repair, paint, reconstruct, the building and the classes.
Where it was extremely needed the walls were white washed and other parts of the building were repaired and painted.
Covid, Tara temple and Kopan Monastery – supporting the Ethics lesson and the hostel of the Sarnath : With this newsletter we would like to inform our friends that if they want like the in Charge of the Tara Temple Ven. Khyetsun la, can support us sponsoring even the small projects that are running at the Alice Project Schools. We would like to express our deep gratitude to and thanks to Lama la, who has been sponsoring the students of our hostel for milk, food, clothes and other teaching and learning materials for the students of our hostel from last 3 years. Since the Covid pandemic had attacked the world, and everything had been closed. Since that time, the Tara temple has been supporting our students of the hostel, they are bearing the expenses done one milk.
Twice a month, they sponsor the food for the students and time to time, the clothes, shoes and other teaching and learning materials are being donated by the temple though kind intuition of Ven. Khyentun la.
Not only this during the covid pandemic, the temple had made a great effort making the offering of food, medicine and other donation to all the teachers, staff of the school as well as the local villagers of the area. Beside all these the Kopan Monastery Nepal has been our sponsor for the weekend Ethics class for one year. We thank Lama and the head of Kopan Monastery from the bottom of our hearts for their generosity.
Brief notes about Alice’s Project : The last but not the least, here we are going to share a brief not about Alice Project Schools for all of our Alice Friends.
BE WISE AND KIND. COMPASSION IN ACTION.
“The reality of the world we live in is not the external one, but the one that the brain creates by processing the data of sensations.’ inside, in the cognitive mechanisms of the brain, and nowhere else, everything we are aware of happens. The brain does not project anything outside, because the outside that we can perceive and in which we live is inside us”. Neuroscientist Arnaldo Benini:
Alice’s interreligious and intercultural school has a long history.
It began, in Italian public schools, about 35 years ago, as an experimental research based on the non-dualistic conception of evolutionary psychology Samkya, Nagarjuna’s vision, cognitive and transpersonal psychology.
The research continues since 29 years in India, at the suggestion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
How did we start?
We started from the observation of the failure of the education system in the world which is inspired by a single idea: industrialization.
Industrialization that depends on a mechanistic vision of nature and life.
The ethical and moral values, duties and spiritual aspect that characterized the ancient education imparted in the Gurukula , are ignored or denied in modem education.
We, at Alice schools, intuited that the key to the solution of the dramatic problems of the modern world lies precisely in that educational model of Vedic and Buddhist philosophy. Their aims are also ours.
What are these aims?
- knowledge o]’transcendence beyond matter,-
- understanding o]’niatter and its laws:
- pro]’essional moral and spiritual education to create a stable and peaceful inner nnd outer environment.
Particularly, we are trying to understand how we perceive and conceive the world and how we project mind’s creation into a supposed external world.
There is nothing more important to us than understanding how our experiences and knowledge of ourselves are created and where, actually, the perceived phenomena exist. We try to answer these fundament questions:
Who am I?
What are thoughts?
From where do they come? Where do they go?
What is their nature?
Who is asking these questions? Who is giving the answer?
Where is him/her? Am I my thoughts? Am I my emotions? Am I my body?
Am I my mind?
Where are the phenomena which we perceive.
We believe that it is gnosis that conveys liberation from the illusory identification with the body / mind, from the illusory cycle of becoming (samsara) that is inconclusive and extremely painful for those who identify with it.
The education of the Gurukula and Alice has the aim of breaking the veil of Maya and ignorance about the true way of how the phenomena exist (Nagarjuna:” There is no samsara apart from your own thoughts. Samsara is based on thought. Samsara is made of thought”)
In our schools we try to deactivate – through meditation, correct vision, social engagement
– the vicious circle (chain of suffering) of avidya-karman-samsara (ignorance-attachment- cycle of birth and death) contrasting it with a “virtuous circle” of vidya-bvairagya-moksa (wisdom-detachment- liberation) to dissolve evil, fear and suffering.
HH Dalai Lama’s First visit at Alice Project Sarnath, year 1999 –
“We are meeting the little students who have the light of self confidence and assurance in their eyes. I am really very happy to see this!”
- HH Dalai Lama’s Second visit at Alice Project Sarnath, year Jan 2006 –
“If we think differently, this is something like a pilot project. This is a new system, which is like a role model for others. Therefore, it is very important.”
In May 2007, His Holiness’ Office communicated that the Dalai Lama accepted the request to become the Patron of the Alice Project Schools.
- HH Dalai Lama’s Third visit at Alice Project Sarnath, year Jan 2013 –
“This school alrcady cmphasiscs moral principlcs. Thc facilitics arc quitc basic, but the cducation you arc giving here is wondcrful, wondcrful.”
“So, (…) your (. ..) song, also, mentioned Lord never found in different, religious holy places; only here, in a village, with a little school, at quite poor condition
… (laughing). ..where the teacher was singing this marvelous song; love your friends and
your enemies; love the creatures of this wonderful world, love the earth, love the people beyond the religion…beyond the religion or the image of God. We really need that.
You young Indians, (pointing to our students) please think about what I have said. Think about how to create a just society with less corruption, a greatly reduced gap between rich and poor. Don’t blame only the politicians for what is wrong; the people themselves must take action. Cherish a vision of a more just society in this country. This is important because India is the world’s biggest democracy. Let it make a greater contribution first in the Asian forum and then in the wider world.” (…)
“So I just to say, I just want to say express appreciation to all concerned teachers of donors and leaders, and I really appreciate. So thank you! Please carry it, continue! And I wish eventually find more open place and then as a usual sort of school some play ground, and some other things, not like here. So may be possible eventually.” (…)
“I’d like to say how much I appreciate everyone who has contributed to this great project, teachers, staff and donors. Thank you, please keep it up.”
- Event with HH Dalai Lama in Bodhgaya, year Jan 2017 –
“Indeed I feel great honour and very very happy on meeting young students and then, the Italian friend (Pointing to Valentino Giacomin), you actually implement what we want, wonderful, thank you.” (.. .)
“Here, with help of one Italian, you yourself a product of materialistic education…(laughing …but you realized. You see. .. that education not adequate to build happy human being.
So, now you start education, small education sort of institution, I think this is a very right place, Buddha enlightened place, Bodhgaya.
So, this is small but this should be some kind of pilot project. So, I hope… now whether this small school or college, whether you can carry more significantly or not, depends on these young students. Now you study, study well.”
HH Dalai Lama’s Appreciation to Valentino Giacomin:
“So, finally I very much appreciate all your effort and your helpers, and those people who work with you, I really appreciate. And including those people who financially support you. Thank you very much.”
Doctor Andrea Bocconi, Italian writer and psychotherapist, defined Alice Project : “The Montessori of XXI century” which integrates scientific pedagogy with spirituality. (beyond self).
To conclude this brief introduction of Alice’s schools and their vision, I’d like to mention that the University of Sanskrit, in Varanasi, awarded three times the creator of the Alice Project’s research and the founder of the Alice’s Schools.
Here is an excerpt from the speech on the occasion of the delivery of the second award by the
Vice Chancellor in May 2008.
“We confer an award in honor of Valentino Giacomin, social worker ofsarvhaumik Shikshstam Sanskrit Vidyalaya University, and founder ofAlice Project Universal Education Schools in Sarnath and Bodhgaya, as well as in different countries of the world, based on the development and wisdom of non-dualistic educational methodology. The experimental educational research of V.Giacomin, which lasted two decades, successfully demonstrates the powerful therapeutic effects of this pedagogy, inspired by the deconstructive cognitive theory known in antiquity as Maya, on the erroneous perception of reality. The Alice Project Universal Education Methodology integrates the knowledge of traditional disciplines with the wisdom of transpersonal psychology (beyond the self).
V. Giacomin’s extensive research carried out in collaboration with his partner Luigina De Biasi – scientifically and practically demonstrates that the new generations of the global village who are committed to Alice’s Educational Methodology could certainly find a positive solution not only to their personal problems. , but also to the dramatic crisis of the environment (global warming, pollution, drought, famine…) and social unrest through a more rational and realistic way of thinking. We consider the Alice Project Universal Education proposal to be a revolutionary educational method that in the short term can cure and prevent students’psychological distress and behavioural disorders and – in the long term
– can help them achieve personal and social existential happiness. With this award we wish to pay homage and recognize the great success ofA.P.U.E. Educational method and research “