“Cha Cha” Nehru, Siddhartha School Hero
“I like being with children and talking to them and, even more, playing with them. For the moment I forget that I am terribly old and it is very long ago since I was a child.” Jawahar Lal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister and Siddhartha School Hero
“My hero is Jawahar Lal Nehru because of his gift every year we have Children’s Day to celebrate.”
— Sonam Chuskit, 4th grade Siddhartha School student selected this week’s hero for his love of children — the flowers of India’s future — and the roses he always wore on his lapel. Her painting at the left is part of the Hero Project, an international exchange of artwork and essays with children in New York, Colorado, and Indonesia.
Last week Siddhartha School joined schools all over India in celebrating “Children’s Day,” a national holiday to honor the first Indian Prime Minister, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru’s birthday and his love for the youngest citizens of the largest, most culturally diverse democracy in the world.
In his 1939 letter to the children of India, Nehru confessed to them:
“I like being with children and talking to them and, even more, playing with them. For the moment I forget that I am terribly old and it is very long ago since I was a child.
Above photo: On Children’s Day, which his also “Cha Cha” Nehru’s birthday (“Cha Cha” means uncle in Hindi), teachers put away the usual lessons and focus on a day of fun activities. Siddhartha School teachers in costume for their play “Find the Hero for Yourself,” which was written by Ms. Tenzin Dhasey, Siddhartha School English Teacher and Hero Project co-designer. The children loved the drama and found inspiration in its message that the opportunity to better yourself will lift up your family and improve life for the entire community.
“But when I sit down to write, I cannot forget my age and the distance that separates you from me. Old people have a habit of delivering sermons and good advice to the young.
I remember that I disliked this very much long ago when I was a boy. So I suppose you do not like it very much either.
…What then shall I write about? If you were with me, I would love to talk to you about this beautiful world of ours, about flowers, trees, birds, animals, stars, mountains, glaciers and all the other beautiful things that surround us in the world. We have all this beauty all around us and yet we, who are grown-ups, often forget about it and lose ourselves in our arguments or in our quarrels. We sit in our offices and imagine that we are doing very important work.
“Grown-ups have a strange way of putting themselves in compartments and groups. They build barriers… of religion, caste, colour, party, nation, province, language, customs and of rich and poor. Fortunately, children do not know much about these barriers, which separate. They play and work with each other and it is only when they grow up that they begin to learn about these barriers from their elders. I hope you will take a long time in growing up…”
Top left: Siddhartha Teachers with Lama Phuntsog Yourtong, Siddhartha’s Bodhi Language and Philosophy teacher; to the amusement of all the kids, even Mr. Tsering Phuntsog, the Math teacher dressed up!
Play, innocence, openness…This is the important work of childhood that Nehru so wisely recognized as lost in the adult world. On his birthday, Children’s Day, schools all over India honor the world of the child and what they can teach us about life.
We hope that this week you will take some time to play and rekindle your innocence with a special child in your life. Good for the spirit and so contagious, sharing the joy of play with our youngest world citizens is a gift repaid with love many times over.
With deep appreciation for your support,
Siddhatha School Project
Here are 3 ways to make a BIG difference at the Siddhartha School this season.
1- SHOP. Did you know your holiday shopping can help give Siddhartha School children a great education? Yes it can! Here’s two great ways to make holiday gift buying give back to Siddhartha School and the children it serves…
Shop Cyber Monday with AmazonSmile.
SSP is a registered charitable organization with Amazon. This means we can get .5% of registered purchases donated to the Siddhartha School Project, even during the biggest online shopping day of the year.
Go to smile.amazon.com. Type Siddhartha School Project in the organization field, select it from the pop up menu, and go shop
2- PLEDGE. Make a Donation to Siddhartha School Project on December 2.
#GivingTuesday– Join millions around the world to make this the most charitable day ever. Make a gift to #SiddharthaSchool Project and post your pledge on social media to inspire your friends to join in support of our goal improve the educational experience for Siddhartha School children.
This year our goal is to raise $48,000 for boys and girls washrooms and a school kitchen — critical improvements that build on our success in pumping and piping water to the school last year!
3- SHARE. Join an international effort to shore up support for #SiddharthaSchool by posting your pledge of support for Siddhartha School Project on social media to inspire others to do the same. Together we can do so much to change the lives and expand opportunities for Ladakhi children. Siddhartha School graduates like Tsewang Chuskit are planning #UNSelfie posts for the big day to give back to the school they love.
Tsewang Chuskit, the first Ladakhi girl to get an education visa to the USA to complete high school at the Rockland Country Day School in New York is calling on her friends back home to give on #GivingTuesday.