Tara Homes for Children, NGO for street children in Delhi, India

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas, happy!

The first thing required for Christmas is a Christmas tree. A nice one was chosen by our volunteer RĂ©gine and decorated by the children who are all crazy about it. « Sir, this tree is much better than the one we had last year! ».
And of course since the tree last year was some kind of a… bamboo.

Then Christmas is not Christmas without Santa. Especially the endless wait for Santa. During all afternoon, after each single ring of the bell, the children exclaimed « Santa Claus ». So naturally, when the real Santa arrived from the North Pole (but though, wearing sandals) there was an explosion of joy among the children.

Santa was a little shy this year but he did his job: giving gifts and after all that is in the end all we expect from him. Bearing in mind the real progress made this year: the « Thank you » thing is now acquired by the children.

Everyone was running to find his own space to open his gifts. Here are Kishan and Lokesh making strange discoveries.

We finished it with a delicious meal. This years’ menu for Christmas Eve was mutton, fried kidney beans, all kind of curries and twin-lens cakes. In the air, there was happiness and, why not say it, love.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Funky Diwali

On Diwali, the Festival of Lights, some of the guys were feeling a little low, so we decided to go to town on the celebrations. We took the metro to an amusement park situated in North Delhi.

On the rollercoasters, some were looking distinctly less brave (and perhaps a little pale!) especially with their feet in the air and their heads upsidedown.

The biggest children were not necessarily the bravest (we wont mention any names as these swashbucklers are very careful about their reputation!).

On the other hand, fearless Diljoo (left on the photo) really had a ball and seemed to feel absolutely no fear in the face of jaw-dropping heights and stomach-flipping loop-the-loops! He was desperate to go back to one particularly death-defying ride, but funnily enough no child volunteered himself to accompany him to that machine of torture; it was the adult, still greenish and wobbly from the previous ride who had nobly to step up to the mark. There were hardly any people in the ride itself (for what to the adult seemed very obvious reasons) but on the ground, a large crowd gathered to laugh at the howls and hideous screams of the tortured victims...

The adult succumbed and cried mercy way before the courageous Diljoo did. Never again, Diljoo. "Don't worry Sir, you were not in real danger".

When the sun light dimmed, we came back to Tara and celebrated Diwali in a more civilised and traditional way (much to the adult's relief); candles all over the home, crackers and fireworks on the roof and to end with, a fabulous treat.

The children of Tara wish you a Happy Diwali 2009 !

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Anne and the Toys

Anne, the sponsor of Lokesh and one of our fundraisers in France, came to spend 2 weeks with us, bringing with her a huge bag of goodies for the children.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Asif teaching

Today, the teacher who comes for the reading and writing of the "Tynies" (Sameer et Lokesh) is absent. Asif decides to handle the situation:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

At the Taj Mahal

A drive at the Taj Mahal as our dearest volunteer Annick is leaving, after having spent more than one year fulltime with us. We were all super sad to see her leaving and decided to celebrate instead of moaning. And share one last unforgettable moment.

Javed and Rajesh :

Diljoo and Asif:

In order not to lose the child whose pranks sometimes make him difficult to count, the adult covered him with a flashy head gear:

On the way back, we met an old, disused train. It's hard to know who exactly first said "Prepare to board!", but an hour later, we had to extract our 16 boarders one by one. Although we were explaining them that the train was not meant to move any more, that it was going NOWHERE, that we were wasting our time, that this was not constructive, the child really felt he was moving:

In the end, we went back to our (personal!) bus, sang a lot, fought a little and slept.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It's raining, men!

As the monsoon arrives in Delhi, the boys climb onto the roof and enjoy the rain.

Have you ever heard of “The frog game”? It’s a Tara boys' trademark.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A little of your time

  Do you live in Delhi and have a bit of time to spare? Would you like to spend a few hours a week learning from some inspiring kids, whilst they learn from you and having fun into the bargain? We are looking for people of all ages, background and nationalities to volunteer at Tara.

Tutors are what we mostly need, in all subjects: English, Hindi, Maths, Sciences, Environmental Sciences and Sport. We need tutors to teach at all levels, from Kinder Garten/Nursery to Class 8 and you will always with a small group of students (2 to 4).

No previous teaching experience is required; more important is your enthusiasm, commitment and reliability, as well as your passion and desire to share learning.

Ready to give a try? Contact us for an appointment.

(Left: Thibaud teaching video)
Revati explains about India Gate Rilka teaching the name of the colors Tanuj struggling with Hindi We have some very prestigious recruits; even Santa has volunteered for us!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chaya becomes Tara

On the 1st August 2009 we became one year old, strong enough to fly our own wings with the support of our own NGO, Onyva.

Tara (“star” in Hindi) is the new name for the hostel, chosen by the children after a long round of brainstorming. “Tara” was preferred to “Namber One” (with a spelling mistake), “Mango Juice” and “X-Men”, among other fanciful ideas.

Our warm thanks to the NGO Deepalaya for their constant support in our first year of existence. By nurturing the project in its infancy and working with us to make it self-reliant, Deepalaya helped make this journey possible. A journey whose next stage is just waiting to be travelled.

Keep on following the adventures of Sidhu, Jaan, Javed, Suman, Suraj, Sunil, Rakesh, Afrez, Diljoo, Asif, Ramu, Shyamu, Rajesh, Kishan, Lokesh and Sameer by logging on to our new address: www.taraindia.org

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

They survived!

As the other boys were visiting the countryside, Sidhu and Rakesh got a special ticket for the rivers of Uttaranchal. Rafting Well, that is what was planned, but the holiday turned into something of an adventure survival mission.
First, we had to overcome an 8 hour hair-raising ride through the mountains of the world's highest mountain range, and not win the puking competition.
Then, avoid falling from the raft into the turbulent, icy water; when you don't know how to swim, you suddenly have a very different relationship with the liquid element...

But in the end, we shared some great moments with the boys, with campfires, stars-counting and crazy dances. And after the Dehli smog, there was nothing like breathing that fresh mountain air!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The boy's last production

We are proud to announce the release of our second movie!

Not a Simple Day, a short 16 minute film, was directed by Thibault Tron, a student in Delhi who spent 4 months with us as a volunteer. At every step of the production, he managed to guide the kids, but give free rein to their overactive creativity.

A few months after their successful debut, the children decided to make an abrupt departure from the dark, gritty ambience of reality drama and produced a fantastic light comedy. Exactly how fantastic is up to you to judge...!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Before school

As our big children are doing their Tae Kwon Do, the rest of the troops have just finished scrubbing Chaya and are getting ready for school. It’s time to prepare the lunch boxes.

Asif is explaining the situation : the jam that he is responsible for dealing with, the bread, the tiffin, one per schoolbag. In the background, Devender the Caretaker desperately tries to rush everyone to be on time for school. The child always needs infinite time to do things, which noticeably curbs his productivity. Rajesh for example, likes to spread his jam on his toast extreeeemeleeey slowly.

In the meanwhile, on the ground floor, those who are not spreading are punching! It is 7.45 am, the adult has barely woken up properly and the child is already in full possession of his physical strength.

Shyamu is neatly perched on the pile of schoolbags, perceptibly distant from the punching bag, whose presence he stubbornly refuses to acknowledge. Each one has his own style and punching a bag is obviously not an occupation that Shyamu thinks worthy of his time.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Volcanoes and Preterit

The junior students are taking their geography class with Liz. Today, the volcanoes:

(Sorry for the poor quality of the sound but with 40 degrees, we MUST have the fans on!)

In the meanwhile, Rakesh is learning his regular verbs.
He gets stuck on "to brush", which with his Bihari accent comes out "to bruss". We persist and persist. But it won’t be for today...

Monday, June 1, 2009


Each morning from 5.30 to 7.30, Suman, Jaan and Sidhu attend their Tae Kwon Do class.
Ladies, Gentlemen, have a look at these early-risers in action, Sidhu performing an exercise and Jaan studying his kata:

And now, The Deadly Double Killing Kick of the Mortal Dragon (we are in some doubt as to its exact terminology), magnificently executed by Sidhu and Jaan, then more timidly by Suman who was taking his first class...!

With 15 hours of training per week, Chaya’s security crew is shaping up well and anyone who want to pick a quarrel with us better watch out.
"They are so sweeeet" exclaim our visitors. If only they knew that Chaya is in fact a secret Ninja training camp!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The child who wanted to become a bird

"What do you want to become when you grow up?" The Dutch photographer Sofie Knijff asked that time-old question to the boys and took a snap of each answer.
Here are the Chaya Boys striking a pose:

Left: Asif as a Prime Minister

Right: Rakesh as a Hero
Left: Javed as a Computer Engineer

Right: Sameer as a Hero (just like Rakesh. Hmmm it looks like there has been some copying going on here!)
Left : Ramu as a Singer

Right: Lokesh as an Actor
Left: Jaan as Social Worker

Right: Kishan as a... Bird! "Are you sure Kishan ? As a job?!". Yes, Bird as a job.

Check out Sofie’s artwork on her website.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Take the plunge

When our friends Marie and Thierry came to visit us from Belgium and proposed taking our big kids to the pool, we jumped at the chance.

(Suman and Jaan)

A big first time for Sidhu, Jaan, Suman, Suraj and Javed who discovered that a body plunged into water has a hell of a tendency to float. « I knew that », boasted Sunil, who was showing off the skills he learned in the rivers of Chhattisgarh in his early childhood. Then he performed an energetic demo. What to say? Zero for technique but good floating ability, that unfortunately the pool staff’s video censorship does not allow us to share with you.

Facing the liquid element, Sidhu somewhat loses his usually steady nerve and is suddenly 12 years old again… He collapses onto the river bank, his calf muscles numb. «Sir, it’s better to be in Delhi, we are far from the see».

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Art And Science Of Magic

After weeks of puzzling questions from the young scientists at Chaya, along the lines of; ‘Do trees bleed?’, and ‘How many satellites are there in space?’,‘How do they get there?... It finally happened; 16 young scientists boldly went where... er... many HAD been before... The Science Museum.

Once in there, it was about anything BUT Science, never mind learning about the evolution of man - Look! There's a monkey chart!, The focus instead was, ‘let's see how we can convert the museum into a fun video game-like place, with a few toy dinosaurs thrown in, oh and plenty of opportunities to see yourself a thousand times reflected in mirrors, and watch balls magically fly in the air (no, please don't bore us with explanations about air pressure and gravity...it's magic!).

In the end they all had one important discovery: never mind how things happen, the fact is, when you watch closely, it IS magic.