The Tibetan Jewish Youth Exchange (TJYE) was established to enhance the cultural identity of both Jewish & Tibetan youth through informal education & to forge links between the Jewish & Tibetan diaspora communities. We actively help these communities' youth movements to empower young people, that they can become leaders & make a difference. This blog will record the continuing work of the project's volunteers, including Jewish volunteers in India & Tibetan leaders on exchange in the UK.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

We finished the first week of seminar. Thursday Phantok and I did a SWOT analysis of Longsho. That's identifying the movement's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. At the top of the strengths list were the commitment and ideas of the youth leaders, the enthusiasm of the kids the movement's reaching and the likely expansion into Darjeeling and Deckyiling. Included as weaknesses were the uncertainty surrounding funding, the authority of the schools who are able to decide whether kids go on Longsho camps or not and the inexperience of the leadership.

Friday we reassessed our plans for this seminar. Organisation of camp is getting tight - the leaders are meeting every day to finish writing their programmes on this summer's theme, 'Leadership', and Namsay and Phantok still need to confirm a campsite and find out which kids are coming. So the new plan is this: the three of us work together to write a complete & final 'Running a Movement Seminar' to run with all the new workers & regional reps in June, after camp is finished. Effectively, the seminar serves as Namsay's and Phantok's handover. It shares the load, allowing them to get on with camp logistics and me to take a breather and avoid burnout.

As soon as we decided all this, we set about planning the basics for the new seminar. We've designed a programme of 20 sessions, running mainly in the mornings, from Monday 14 June to Monday 25 June. I'll post the programme up some time over the next week or two. We've already defined the aims of each of the sessions, and 5 of the 20 are written in full.

Also spent the morning drawing up a vital 'to do' list - the urgent tasks and deadlines coming up for the Longsho office. It was a good opportunity to review the long term plan that was made in October last year. I was able to email the new document to TJYE UK members.

Best thing now is to let Namsay and Phantok get on with what they need to do. I'll be going treking for a few days before a meditation retreat at the end of this week / beginning of next.

Meanwhile, thanks to Anna Langleben, Dan Jackson and RSY-Netzer, who responded to my email and sent me the 'one-one-seven', a list of 117 youth movement programming ideas. It's going straight to Namsay, Phantok and the Longsho leaders, to incorporate into camp to their hearts' content.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Phantok and I did a session on how to write a report: defining target audience, thinking about what we want to happen as a result of the report, defining areas of coverage, structuring... Did a few role-plays to show the link between target audience and aims.

In the afternoon I left Phantok to start the Longsho report, to go to funders and TJYE. He's working on it today as well. Last I saw he was a couple pages in, saying this was all necessary. I'll go over it at the end, working mainly on the quality of the English. Then I'll give him some feedback and we can think about distribution.

Dropped in yesterday on a local organisation, Volunteer Tibet. If we want, we can get Longsho on their database. Travellers passing through can be matched to the movement's needs. At the very least, they could help with the English on Longsho documents.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Started seminar today with two sessions for Phantok and Namsay. First went through hopes, fears and expectations on the roof, in Nick's Kitchen (sounds familiar, Ruth and Clare?). Some main themes were recurring: attendance, relevance, hand-over to the new workers, possible burn-out and boredom. So we made a list of things we can do to make it work - like keeping each other in touch about absence and aiming to participate fully in every session. I also came up with the idea of 'game vouchers'. N & P get three each and can use one any time to request an emergency game.

Second session I told them to imagine I was the new Longsho president who nevertheless knew absolutely nothing about Longsho or Tibetan society. I gave them 45 minutes to prepare a presentation on all issues: history, purpose, stakeholders, structure, achievements, resources and issues. Longsho in a nutshell - very useful for me and hopefully for Phantok too as he prepares to write a Longsho report for various stakeholders. My questions and our discussions went on a bit long. Both N and P complained it had dragged.

Namsay can't make tomorrow or the next day as he's attempting to get his motorcycle back from the police station. Don't ask. So Phantok and I are looking at how to write a report. Ideally, we'll have something to show for it all by close of Wednesday. Optimistic, I know, but I think we can produce it, certainly before the end of the week. It's an absolute priority - I know the funders would really like to see something.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

I've added a comments feature. We can get a dialogue going.

Thursday - Phantok and Namsay went by themselves to the school... there was a long delay leaving until it clashed with another commitment. They reported back that the school principal would be meeting with his executive committee to discuss the issue of kids going on camp.

Friday and today - As Longsho representatives from Darjeeling and Deckyiling are not available until camp (first week of June) I agreed to run a trial 'Running a Movement Office' seminar for Namsay and Phantok over the next three weeks. All three of us can then run it for the new workers and the regional representatives once camp is over. Drew up the schedule and planned Monday's sessions in full. We'll be working every day, mostly in the afternoons but some full days as well. Have split the seminar into three sections:

1. Who we are, where we're going and why?
2. Making it work - an introduction to office skills; and
3. Movement work

I've split it evenly, one week per section. We start tomorrow with an introduction to the seminar and a session on 'what is Longsho?'.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Yesterday: Hiked to Triund with Phantok. The day itself wasn't really TJYE-related, but he did explain to me that Longsho say that in order to be a leader you have to have passed your final high school exams. He also taught me a Tibetan song, decent to hike to, but I forgot it. Determined to learn it while I'm here.

Today: Induction to Dhasa community life continued. Got take for an audience with the Karmapa, the second most revered Tibetan Buddhist figure in this area. Had no time to ask him any questions or speak with him at all - it was straight in, get your sash, and straight out!

In the afternoon I went to the office with Phantok. He wrote a proposal to a Deradun-area school principal in order to request use of their grounds for camp. I checked over the letter and worked with Phantok on its wording. Also got my hands on new TJYE/Longsho t-shirt.

Tomorrow I should be going with Phantok and Namsay to see them approach another principal regarding kids' possible attendance at camp. Plan is we can feed back on stuff like body-language and communication at a future date.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Friday: Pema, a Longsho leader who works at the Tibetan Welfare Office (the municipal authority) took me to various appointments in the area around the library, where the offices of the government in exile are. I met with someone from the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, who told me about all their research; someone working at the Environment and Development desk in the government, so I saw what a govenment in exile actually do (by necessity, not much - mainly monitoring and pressuring); and a public relations guy from the Tibetan Medicine and Astrology Institute. Also saw the monastery and the library. The whole morning felt quite official and well-organised and again I got a bit of insight into the Tibetan community's life via their institutions.

Saturday: Phantok took me to the local Tibetan Children's Village (TCV). Hannah Freedman, who is about to start as a teacher in England, came along. We sat in on a class, gave food out and played with some incredibly cute 2-4 year olds and kicked a football around with some of the older ones on the sandy pitch. At the nursery we were told some of the children's stories by the head 'foster mother'. One example: a teenage mother's arrest in Nepal, by policemen scared of the neighbouring Chinese authorities; a subsequent prison birth; a bribery to get both mother and child out; and now here is the kid, in front of us, playing by the stairs; meanwhile the mother is getting closer to the child and is making more frequent visits.

Today: In the morning Phantok took me to the Norbulingka crafts village. It was set up by the Dalai Lama as a 'diaspora'-based centre for Tibetan arts and heritage. Longsho is very much in line with its mission to promote and preserve Tibetan culture in exile. This evening I experienced my first Longsho leaders' meeting. There were about a dozen leaders, for whom I ran a programme on programme-writing. Used the TAMAR (Target group; Aims; Methods; Arrangement; Review & results) model many of them had learnt before. Gave them time at the end to work on the sessions they're writing for summer camp. Noticed some overlap among a couple of the sessions and alerted Phantok and Namsay, who are going to take a look and coordinate. We might sit down and talk about it in the next couple of days. Tomorrow Phantok, Hannah, Rob and I are hiking.