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Amazing Interview In India with a boy from the streets ~ Beyond Slumdog Millioniare / Video Update 4/2013


Amazing Interview In India with a boy from the streets ~ Beyond Slumdog Millionaire


Suraj, Sazzy Varga, Dharmasala Update 2-2011

This is a note about YOU..., six degrees of separation and that butterfly wing thing...

Something incredible that happened mainly because of you.
It looks like you might just be changing a life.

Thanks to you, our supporters of The Tibetan Photo Project, we were able to return to India and under the direction of several Tibetans produced "Save Tibet... Why?" ( we/they could use the sales)

But that is not what this is about...

For the price of a few extra tapes (under $50) we figured we could collect extra footage of India and add an India travel film ("India 101) to our catalog for a more general audience, and it could introduce the Tibetans in the context of India and sales when it releases will benefit The Tibetan Photo Project...

This is where you and your support come in...

So... With a wider eye and camera pointed into India, we tripped over an interview with an 11-year old street kid and given this was not long after Slumdog Millionaire won the Oscar for best picture in the entire world, this interview felt very relevant....

We got home and about a year ago posted the entire interview as raw footage and it had a few hundred quiet views...

Something happened and last week it began to gather about 60,000 views and its still climbing at at least 5,000 views a day...

People have watched it and contacted us about helping the boy... including many people in India...

To respond, first we had to get on the email machine and try to see if the boy was still around... and it looks like we found both a connection and an NGO that works with kids like him in the Dharamsala.... and we are connecting folks interested in helping to the NGO (we do not make endorsements but connections), so we hope that people will look to this or another avenue that satisfies them and then Raj and maybe even other kids will get some help...

All of this is because of your support... We would not have been there without you... its nothing that was intended...

But you get to be the butterfly wings who through your support stir the air...helped us make it to India where we somehow landed in this exact minute and space to film the interview and your support moved everything to end up possibly helping kids in India...

Or maybe you want to link the actions, starting at the moment of your support and see how many elements or degrees of separation have to fall into place in order to link you to this boy in India..

You are pretty darn impressive.... thank you

Here is your video

It looks like you might just be changing a life!

Correspondence #1

From: Anna Owen
To: Joe Mickey <>
Sent: Mon, February 21, 2011 3:04:35 PM
Subject: RE: Your work in Dharamsala

Hello Joe

Suraj is well known to Tong-Len. His brother, Sunny, is one of the children sponsored into full-time education and living in one of our hostels. We have been able to help Suraj's family and others living in the slum camp at Charan Khad with health care, clean water etc as well as providing education in our tent schools and a nourishing midday meal to all the children in the camp who cannot yet be part of our sponsorship programme. His grandmother Rukma, is a lovely lady who I have become particularly close to. Four other of her grandchildren with different parents are also part of the sponsorship programme. When selecting children for sponsorship, we have to follow certain criteria that have been agreed with the residents of the slum camps. One of these is that we only accept one child per family. The residents considered this to be the fairest way, as one child with all the opportunities a good education provides, is able in the long term to help the family. The family is given a small stipend to help compensate for the loss of family income from the child's begging. We are currently in the process of building more hostel accommodation to allow more of the children the chance of full -time education. When this is complete in July, we will be in urgent need of new sponsors. If anyone is interested, they can contact me There is more information about Tong-Len's work on the website and the facebook page of Tong-Len UK.

I tried to post the above on your facebook wall but my comment does not show - perhaps because we are not friends! Can we rectify this? I am a relative newcomer to facebook and am not completely au fait with how it all works.

I can send you a lot more information about Tong-Len by email but I am waiting to hear back from Jamyang who is the director of Tong-Len in the field and is in daily contact with the residents of the slum camp including Rukma. I know Jamyang has been and continues to be concerned for Suraj's well being and safety on the streets especially as he spends long periods away from the relative safety of the slum camp where Rukma and the rest of his family reside.

I live in Scotland but am currently in Australia. My skype name is avowen and Jamyang's is Jamyang4 if you feel you want to communicate in this way.

With all god wishes for your project - great photos!


Anna Owen Director Tong-Len UK


Correspondence #2
Hi Joe

I totally understand that people who have seen the video interview want to direct support to Suraj personally. Whether or not this is possible through Tong-Len is really for Jamyang to decide in consultation with his co-workers on the ground and the leaders of the slum camp residents. I am sure Jamyang will get back to you when he has had the opportunity to discuss the issues involved.

With regard to donations, Tong-Len UK, has no paid administrators, so 100% of every donation received goes directly to the work. My husband and I (both retired) run Tong-Len UK from our home in Scotland. We absorb the running costs and pay our own way when visiting the projects. Tong-Len UK totally funds the current hostels and child sponsorship programme, and is a major contributor to the medical work and the running of the tent schools within the slum camps. Tong-Len USA, which has been set up more recently, has taken on the responsibility for the mobile health clinic in conjunction with Rotary. Other major support for the work within the slum camp itself has come from the Dalai Lama Trust and the Energee Association. There is also a little other local support given directly through our Dharamsala office. I am sure very little of any donation coming through these other routes is lost to administration.

I hope this answers your queries, and I look forward to becoming your facebook friend!

Kind regards


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