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

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Do you speak Bollywood?

Here is a project of documentary about Tara: the journalist and film-maker Revati Laul, Settlor of Onyva, plans to follow the lives of different characters from Tara over the next 5 years.

Here is the trailer of the project:

You like the idea? We are looking for its producer...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Where do the stars come from?

Our friends Diane, Bertrand and their daughters Olga, Emma and Paola, dropped us a visit to help us decorate our Christmas tree.

  The children on this day also discovered croissants and other French vienoiseries and happily pounced on them. They had though just taken a very nutritious breakfast based on crushed cereals and Complan. Their ability to ingest sometimes leaves us flabbergasted.

Then Diane asked to the children why did they think, traditionally, a star is put on top of the Christmas tree? Here are their answers:

Kishan : « Because it is the brightest thing in the world »
Rajesh : « Because… errr… there is a star on the tree » (Thank you Rajesh)
Javed : « Because at the time of Jesus, there were no road maps »
Suman : « To show the direction »
Diljoo : « To tell us what is good and what is bad »
Suraj : « Because the stars come from the moon » (?!)
Shyamu : « Because Santa Claus was born in the stars »
Sidhu : « Because Tara is famous! » (Tara means "star" in Hindi, the oscar of the good joke is for Sidhu)

Sunday, November 14, 2010


  A Boz is a funny little doll, a wooden alive figurine created by children all over the world, endowed with a personality. « Faithful, devoted and joyful », the Bozes find through internet an adoptive family to whom they are officially handed over and which has to ensure them love and security.

The French artist Lionel Lauret came to conduct a workshop for a few days and extend the Boz family. A nice opportunity to channelize the boiling creativity or our boys, who were given the responsibility to invent new cardboard prototypes, which will be later turned into wood.

Here, the artist reveals the secrets of his work in front of an attentive (but somewhat sceptical) audience :

Off we go, the child is won over, the child starts making.

  Kishan made a Harry Potter Boz. Kishan loves Harry because « he had many problems when he was a child but he became a young strong man ».

Kishan likes magic because it can help these who fight injustice and the « evil people ». Beyond these purely ethical considerations, magic also has a practical aspect since it allows to tidy your room in a second with a wand. But most of all, Harry Potter can fly and this is one of the dreams of Kishan who would love to go to China (!?).

Kishan also strongly needs to surround himself with friends, he has for this reason created a second Boz to keep company to the first one.

Here are the ideas of the others kids:
(Big thank to Lionel and Alliance Fran├žaise Delhi who put us through)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Commonwealth Games: we were there

Upper row, from the left: Javed, Rakesh, Jaan
Lower row: Sidhu, Sunil

  This is NOT a commercial for a toothpaste. These are the Tara teens attending the 19th Commonwealth Games, the sport even of the year. OK there has also been the Football World Cup. Let’s say of the semester then.

The 16 boys attended different competitions. They had prepared slogans and songs, more or less inspired. Our teenagers, let’s say it frankly, mostly came to support the Indian athletes but stayed fair-play by acknowledging the feats of foreign competitors. « They are amazing, these ladies! » whispered Lokesh to us, eyes wide open in front the pirouettes of the Australian synchronized swimmers.

At the medals ceremony, just when the hymns were being heard, the children all had a very solemn and respectful behaviour. Except slight signs of impatience during the hymn of Kenya who tends to take its own sweet time and crowns one good third of the athletes.

We had the chance to attend swimming and athletics at Nehru Stadium and finally the dazzling closing ceremony: we were filled with wonder and we really enjoyed the games.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

New girls in town

Three new residents have just reached Tara, from the family of the leporidae (bunnies, really).

Renamed Basanti, Champa and Dhanno, these French girls are from now educated in a multicultural trilingual context (Hindi/English/Yogurt). They are the object of all the attentions and cuddles from the children, whose enthusiasm sometimes has to be moderated by the adult. The child in the past has far too many times been hugging cuddly toys and took a couple of several wrong habits…!

After a learning phase, the boys showed delicate with their new girl friends and explain henceforth in a learned manner to the volunteers and visitors that one has to be veeeeeeery sweet with pets.

With excessiveness. Did not the child say recently (end of September, the reader will need elements of reality): “Sir, don’t switch the fan off, the rabbits need it”. And as the adult refuses to sponsor the ventilation of the bunnies (our sponsors will support us in this combat), the child persuades himself that the unfortunate animal is at death’s door and has a hard time focusing on his homework.

Tara is sometime the theater of epic ethical battles: should we, should we not VENTILATE THE RABBIT??

(Please drop your comments and give us your advice on this, we are, to be frank, puzzled on this one)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Kishan Superstar

BBC is shooting a commercial for the Commonwealth Games. Shortlisted for his acting abilities, Kishan is giving a formal audition in a studio. Lot of pressure as the final film will include the famous Shahrukh Khan!!
In spite of an understandable stage fright, Kishan manages like a boss and steers his imaginary kite in the air with so much conviction, interacting with the other actors as if he had done this all his life. And the adult watches, proud and deeply moved. Until where will Kishan go?

Friday, July 30, 2010

He made it!

We had left, remember, Rajesh in his trial period at the excellent but demanding Saint Mary's School.
The news is just out: Rajesh, who showed “impeccable behaviour” (come again???) and made rapid academic strides, has finally been admitted in Class 2 for complete education in the language of Shakespeare!
Well done for Rajesh, who has earned his uniform and wears it proudly, and conqueror that he is, strikes a pose bearing the colors of St Mary’s on the terrace of Tara:

(OK, we’ll have to reconsider the size of the shorts!)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rajesh and the autos

« Auto » is the short form for autorickshaw, those mototaxis that criss-cross Delhi. We are just leaving the doctor who underlined the difficulties for Rajesh to locate himself in space and time. It’s time for an immediate exercise: Rajesh is asked to bring us back to Tara.

The first auto, bad news for us, is dozing. He pleads a technical failure and goes back to the arms of Morpheus (one should not be allowed to disturb people in the middle of their nap!!!):

The second autowallah, wide awake and good-natured, proposes the fare of 60 rupees. Rajesh manages to get us a discount of 10 rupees:

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Election Day

The children are electing their Representative, who will be part of the staff meetings and board meetings for six months.

Here are the posters of the campaign:
  Suraj promises to help the children to « make [their] dreams come true». And he completes this ambitious but maybe a little vague statement by a more concrete commitment: «If something is broken, I will have it repaired ».

On can express doubts about the choice of the photo, which does not really give the impression that Suraj is going to exhaust himself with hard work... But this is the Child’s Choice, and at Tara, we respect that!
  Jaan prefers to advertise his experience and credibility as he has already taken the job in the past.

Cunning, he flatters the small children (he knows that Shyamu, Kishan and Rajesh hold one ballot paper for 3 and he intends to get it) but does not forget to remind that respect is due to older children, which by the way and by an implacable logic leads to his election, as he is himself the oldest candidate.
It’s finally Jaan who wins after a count of the votes tighter than expected.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tara at the beach

Sidhu and Rakesh, holidaying in South India, discover the sea for the first time ever("Sir, it’s hard to believe that there could be something beyond the immense sea"):

Among other things, they enjoyed seeing the seaside in Kerala, the elephants (a little agitated, surprising as we were expecting a more placid animal, who would have been happy to meet us), a tea plant in Ooty, and ultimate pleasure: flying ("Sir, why is there nothing in the sky, apart from the clouds??"):

Invited to the Jeevan Jyoti Shelter close to Bangalore, Rakesh, Sidhu and our trainee Caroline explain to the staff the secrets of the North-Indian chapatti, but the unflappable didis clearlt seem to prefer their good-old South-Indian chapatti:

And to go on with the North/South cultural technological transfers, our boys take a dance class, given by the girls of the institution. Sidhu is much more at ease than Rakesh, who is intensively wondering what the hell he is doing, sweating blood:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Computer Room

Witnessing the passion of all the children for computers and tired of having to continuously evict the squatters from our office computers, we decided to start a dedicated room at Tara.

Motivated more than ever, the older children helped the carpenters hoist the spanking-new computer cabinets.

From now on, every Child can play and replay his favourite CD-Rom I Become Kung Fu Master at the Temple of the Dragon, that he finds as fascinating as ever, even after hundreds of viewings, despite the long suffering adult, who has time and again expressed his annoyance regarding the so-called Okinawa synthetic music which illustrates each movement of the virtual karateka wannabe.

These days, the computer room hosts a workshop on Photoshop and HTML:

The computer room of Tara is sponsored by Main Tendue and Delhi Footlights.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


11 years ago in a street of New Delhi, two brothers named Sidhu and Sidhant ran… but in different directions. Two little boys separated by Destiny, never to meet again.

I am looking for my brother”, Sidhu told us when he arrived at Tara. We helped him as much as we could but in a country of more than a billion people, how could we find Sidhant? It seemed hopeless. Then, out of the blue, a few days ago, from the NGO Deepalaya, we heard about Sidhant who was alive and well, and in Delhi! Soon the two brothers were face to face. What happened when their eyes met was indescribable...

Life, for them, is now complete. This is their story and it is with their agreement that we are publishing this picture, of their memorable reunion.

Today, Sidhant, is a 20 year old man who just passed his Class 12 exam. Sidhu is not alone in this world anymore. Miracles do happen, and we were happy witnesses to this magical occurrence of life.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Long pants Short pants

Here is the composition of the school teams:
  Laxman Team
Laxman Public School, in Hauz Khas Enclave, admitted Sameer and Lokesh in kindergarten. Asif, in class 6, was stunned by the impressive list of options proposed to the pupils. He looked like he had been given a dessert menu with all his favourite things! After much deliberation and thought he finally chose French class, computer club and roller blading.
  Saint Mary Team
St Mary School in Safdarjung Enclave admitted Shyamu in second grade where he continues to impress everyone with his English and manners. Javed was admitted in class 7 and it was a heart wrenching moment for the vice-principal when he thanked her: “Madam, going to school is the dream of my life”. Javed glows; he is so proud to hang out with the educated children of this prestigious school. He has started learning French and is happily quoting his verbs.
  The Legionary of Saint Paul
Diljoo, who had passed admission tests from 3 prestigious schools, was put on the waiting list each time! No seat was vacant in class 5... Finally, after a stressful period of doubt, a seat became available at St Paul School. Diljoo got admitted in this institution recognized by the British Council. The joy and relief on the face of the child moved everyone around.
  Sarvodya Team
Among the Government schools, Sarvodya Vidyalaya represents a label of quality. These schools are reputed in Delhi for their level of Maths and Sciences. We had a good contact with the Principal of RK Puram, who gave 9 of our children the chance to sit for an admission exam. The school admitted Kishan in 2nd grade, Ramu in 4th grade, Afrez and Rakesh in class 6, Sunil and Suraj in class 7, Suman in class 8, Sidhu and Jaan in class 9.
  Rajesh's case
Rajesh’s energy, that sometimes needs to be channelized, challenged a couple of teachers at Tara. The case of “Mister Rubber Eater” was difficult to solve. How do we apply for him in one of our partner schools without ruining our reputation for at least 16 generations? Seeing other children leave for school while he had to wait at Tara all day long, was cruel for Rajesh and we decided to plead his cause at St Mary School. The Principal, Mrs. Annie Koshi, gave him his chance in a small group, with a dedicated and understanding teacher. Rajesh was admitted in class 2, on a trial period. As you can see in the picture, there is some stress, as Rajesh knows he has to show ability and behave well. But glad to be finally given his chance, Rajesh is now transformed. He behaves himself, wakes up from his nap without moaning and even asks for more homework! A miracle is happening... Rajesh has been touched by the Grace of Saint Mary. Who could have expected this??

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The prestige of the uniform

This is the most demanded picture in the small but whole Tara history: all the boys are now at school (and in good ones).

Let’s go back and sum up the previous episodes: we wanted the children admitted in the best possible CBSE schools (label given for school level by the Board of Education). We prepared the children intensively to pass the admission tests of good schools in South Delhi and targeted the institutions which would understand our work and share our vision.

Our education Manager, Liz, visited not less than 9 Government Schools and 28 private ones, a real marathon. Thanks to the support from the Government of NCT of Delhi and a few motivated Principals, Liz successfully achieved her mission and went back home to England, relieved.
We will talk about the admissions of our boys in details soon but for now, we feel like simply enjoy this victory and celebrate with the children!

Friday, April 2, 2010

A big splash

Exams are over. We are waiting for the results. A year of hard work has gone by trying to catch up with the academic levels of the various schools. Now it’s over and stress levels have fallen though the temperature keeps rising. It’s time for kids to cool off. Thanks to our Australians friends Peter Askew and Rilka Macainsh, the company Beyond Business Connections sponsors swim lessons. Children had weekly sessions in April and May plus an intensive week in the end of May.

  But floating properly is not an easy task and requires patience. A few gallons swallowed later, Diljoo starts feeling like a fish in the sea.
  Rajesh has some difficulties despite the whole survival pack!

Staying seated on the pool’s border is at this moment the best option. Indeed, he has some synchronization problems and every time he tries to swim, his legs don’t follow the rhythm and Rajesh sinks dramatically in spite of his heroic efforts.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sameer going to bed

9pm, it's time to go to bed after a long, packed day. The thing is that one has to make his bed and, at the age of 5, it can be a quiet moment of solitude...
Fortunately, Kishan is here to support Sameer in his distress. The rest of the story in this (particularly sweet) video:

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Aah, the splotch! The child was missing the splotch, Marie-Anne came and repaired that.

Here are our bigger boys attempting to reproduce a bunch of flowers, a subject whose fresh and natural fragrance inspires their young souls:

Over in the Smalls corner we can clearly see the influence of abstract impressionism. And it seems imperative that every square inch of the drawing sheet is covered with as many layers of different coloured paint as feasibly possible. In the end, quite structured compositions are produced; a lot of paint on the sheet and almost no paint on the child himself.
Marie-Anne, a former educator of young children in trouble with the law, is used to handling much tougher cookies than Tara's budding artists.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mostly Maths

Thanks to our 25 volunteers and 5 teachers, we can provide the boys with more than 200 hours class per week. At Tara, we are working hard for the coming exams in March, that will enable the children to get admission to good schools in Delhi.

This morning, the Tinies are taking their Maths class with Kingsley. Sameer is summoned to the whiteboard, while Lokesh can hardly contain his joy at not being picked:

The Smalls (Rajesh, Kishan and Shyamu) are visiting the doctor for their routine check-up; they have not been followed by our reporter. Apologies to their fans.

The Mediums are doing Hindi with Anuj. Diljoo is correcting his write-up, closely watched by Afrez. Ramu, who still can’t believe he was promoted to the medium group, is fully absorbed in the task of sucking his pen:

The Juniors are doing Maths with Dhira. Conscientious care is being taken by Suraj and Sunil on the exercise. But what are Asif and Rakesh doing, staring at their laps? Could this be some sort of elaborate cheating scheme or is that just the adult’s perpetually suspicious mind?

And the Seniors are doing Maths with Sylvie. One can note the high levels of concentration and, yes, almost, enthusiasm! Sidhu, Jaan, Suman and Javed know that they have to work super hard if they want to have a good chance at the exams:

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Lunch box Batucada

Our regular readers know it: the children attend dance, music and sport classes. But we never thought of putting all these activities together in a single one. While we were waiting for a dinner which was a little late on that day, Javed, Kishan and Sameer unleashed their creativity.