The Tushita Foundation
Back in India, we visited the Tushita Foundation that was created in 2009 by the Tushita Travels with the aim of improving the living conditions of the less fortunate through learning and empowerment of children. What I loved about this foundation is that they really focus on “empowering” children in a number of unconventional and creative ways. Different from an orphanage or a school, walking into the Tushita Foundation you can immediately sense how they are not just “relieving” the less fortunate but that they are actively giving the tools for these kids to create a brighter and more hopeful future for them and their families. In fact, I believe that somehow they are helping India as whole as these children might go on and have an amazing ripple effect across the country.
The Tushita Foundation offers free of cost after-classes to around 150 children of all ages from Amer, near to Jaipur. They also empower a few local women by training them and giving them a job as teachers in the Foundation. These woman get training every morning on a particular subject from volunteers that came from the best universities around the world. Then, they go on and give classes to the 3 different batches of children in the afternoon. Therefore, these local women “earn to learn” and are given the opportunity to become active role models in the community by becoming teachers.
What I liked the most in the Tushita Foundation is that the volunteers coming from abroad each bring a project based on a passion they wish to share with the children that will be the basis for a new subject. This makes the diversity of subjects the children learn unimaginable and truly equips them with multidisciplinary skills! They study unconventional subjects such as storytelling, photography, nutrition, architecture or entrepreneurship from a young age and are taught in a way that, they understand how these concepts apply in the real world. More importantly, they are invited to play with this knowledge to find more sustainable and conscious solutions for the community as a whole.
Another particularity of the Foundation is how it incentivises the children to make healthier and more sustainable choices overall by having small but impactful practices such as, serving fresh fruits everyday, providing the children and their families with health checkups yearly or starting classes with a few minutes of meditation. Children will eventually be the ones leading by example in their families and community and will hence become the agents of development. Furthermore, all of the subjects are taught in English which becomes, of course, an additional tool of advancement.
This is why I felt the Foundation has a very strong and holistic basis for truly empowering the children of the community. The results are evident. As you visit the Foundation, you are amazed by the knowledge of these kids, by their curiosity and eagerness to continue learning. You are also touched by their kindness and the apparent happiness in their faces just for being there. The Tushita Foundation succeeded at creating a safe and unique place of learning that fills these children and families with enthusiasm and hope of a better future - so much so that they had to unfortunately refuse further student applications due to a lack of capacity to take in more kids.
Therefore, what makes the Tushita Foundation a meaningful project to FoodforSoul is that they empower the children in a holistic and diverse amount of ways that are in line with what we believe are the keys to a more sustainable & happy future. Some of those keys are:
- Improving the physical and mental health of children through health initiatives and education
- Increasing the level of consciousness by raising their awareness to pressing issues in the community
- Helping them learn in a fun and passionate way giving them space to find their own passion
- Nurturing a never ending curiosity
- Bringing positive change by leading by example
- Nurturing spirituality and creativity as a means to improving our life and the rest of the world
- Erasing differences of cast and religion