New lives begin…

Lydia Dean – GoPhilanthropic Founder
Lydia Dean and Heather Kilian travel to New Delhi, India to partner in opening TARA Tots, a new shelter for vulnerable children.  Thank you to all who are making this a reality…

The morning after our arrival into Delhi, we sipped coffee with Pascal Fautrat, Director of TARA to get an update on the opening of the new shelter for the “tots.”
“How shall we say…things are still a bit wild and it feels a bit like the jungle!  ” he says with a chuckle. Vanshika (4) and Deepika (5)  , Saira (5) and Manish (3) were admitted only 5 days prior to our arrival and are logically struggling with the concept of having been removed from their normal surroundings–however unsafe they may have been.  These 4 children are still unaware of the precious gift they have been handed.  In the coming months and years, they will be building new lives based on education, arts, sport, and most importantly love–healing the wounds of having been neglected and exposed to some of life’s more difficult realities.

dsc01461Before visiting the tots, we head to the TARA Boys Shelter the home of 20 bright and happy boys aged 6-18.  Pascal started TARA Boys only 3 years ago after seeing first-hand the atrocities children faced in government run institutions and other NGO shelters.  All of the boys have come from very harsh backgrounds–yet since being at TARA they have blossomed into amazing young men.
Pascal and the staff have found a powerful balance of “love and limits” alongside a rigorous academic curriculum intertwined with yoga, dance, art and sport.  When they arrive a TARA some have missed years of schooling.  Carefully and patiently, TARA helps them become whole.  The more time I spend at TARA, the more I realize that these young men show such a tremendous appreciation for the opportunity they have been afforded.  There is something very powerful that a child emits when he doesn’t take for granted his education.  I have no doubt these young men will do great things…

Lokesh, one of the younger TARA Boys, guides Heather to meet the Tots for the first time.

dsc01443We catch up with the boys and then take four of the smaller ones to come and meet the tots, their new family members.  When we arrive, little Manish, only 3 and terribly upset about his transition,  is extremely reluctant to meet his new BIG brothers.  But I was amazed to see how quickly the olders took the tots under their wings–Mohid, only 7 himself, quickly clams Manish by rubbing his back and wiping his running nose with a gentle tenderness of someone who can relate to his pain. We walk across the street to a pretty green park and the tots enjoy the fresh air.  But after only 15 mins the tots gravitate to my lap, emotionally exhausted.  Vanshika closes her eyes and escapes into a nap.

We attend the Tot’s first staff meeting the following morning.  It is clear that they have yet to synchronize a schedule–staff members are new and not adhering to a set sleeping and eating schedule for the children, the carpenter is late doing his work, and the cook’s food is too spicy.  The feel is one of organized chaos – all to be expected in these early days.  Vaishali is reviewing profiles of 2 more boys aged 2.5 and 4 years old.  But days later, much of these issues were resolved and better yet, the tots had had theirs first lessons, a yoga class and a fantastic trip to the library (a first).  All were sleeping through the night and a system for integrating quality time the TARA Boys had been established.  All in all, off to a good start!

We hope to be at full capacity with 20 Tots by end of the year. 

Outfitting the New Shelter
The tots shelter is located on a residential road in a building on the first floor. It consists of 5 rooms which include 3 with ensuite bathrooms, plus laundry facilities, a kitchen and a large main living area and small garden. The feel is airy, bright and clean–a superb environment for the tots. The bathrooms have western toilets and are  being outfitted with steps so the tots can reach sinks themselves.  The children sleep on mattresses on the floor in one room and have large cupboard to arrange their things.  It is a notable step up from the conditions at TARA boys shelter yet considerably more expensive in rent.

Beautiful warm light streams through the windows of the main area where the children will have their lessons, and various classes.  It’s rather empty now but will soon be filled with tables and toys


Heather Kilian works with Vaishali in unpacking the wooden toys, clothes and books that she and Lydia brought over from the US.  Thank you to all those who contributed!

GoPhilanthropic’s has pledged to raise $35,000 this year towards the running costs of TARA (25k for the tots).  
Two corporate sponsors have donated what is needed to outfit the new home.  What we need now are funds for ongoing day-to-day needs teachers, nannies, and other staff…
Email Lydia for full financial reports on running the tots center and how you can donate various needed elements to the program

We have $7000 already in place – so we have quite a long way to go 🙂

Creative fundraising campaigns
Deanies:  Nick Dean and Heather Kilian are partnering to sell “Deanies” (beanies) to Nick’s network of fans.   Heather Kilian is currently knitting the hats and has plans to recruit 1-2 more knitters willing to knit for charity.  The Deanies will be sold for $20 online and at Nick’s music events.

Fundraising Goal:  $1500

Only Provence Charity Weeks:  John at Only Provence has incorporated CSR in order to raise funds.  Rental weeks in the off-season will go towards TARA tots.  
Fundraising goal $10,000

Not yet part of our efforts?  contact Lydia  [email protected]

It takes more than $:  GP giving circle hopes to assist in project management.
Other ways in which we hope to contribute:

  • identifying measurement tools for success of the program
  • Examining  / research on special needs of traumatized children
  • A global family:  developing a meaningful way for our children to learn and connect with the Tots and the Boys through skype and video diaries

Heather teaches Sidhu to knit – he calls it the “weaving thing.”


 Director Pascal talks about the inspiration…

 the tots have their lunch

The Younger TARA Boys talk about life at TARA.

 Rakesh talks about why TARA is special