Last week 10 former street-children performed in Kagyu Samye Dzong’s shrine room in front of a full house.
The children were brought to London by the ROKPA charity, which runs the orphanage in Kathmandu where the kids have been looked after, cared for and educated after becoming homeless in often very traumatic circumstances.
The evening started off with a moving speech by the co-founder of ROKPA and vice-president of the charity Lea Wyler. She explained how much it has helped the children to be given a platform to tell of their traumatic experiences in the form of song, dance and play.
The children’s lively eyes, engaging smiles and faces full of hope could not fail to melt every one of the 120 hearts in the room. Photographs and film footage projected onto a screen behind the young performers provided the context to their story showing shots of their home country and also of what their lives were like before they were taken in by the ROKPA children’s home.
After the tumultuous applause had quietened down, Dr Akong Tulku Rinpoche the founder of Samye Ling Monastery in Scotland, and co-founder of the ROKPA charity was invited onto the stage. He spoke of his own struggles of facing a situation of near-starvation when he escaped Tibet, having to beg and experiencing tremendous suffering and explained how that has lead him to see how important it is to provide, food, shelter and, possibly above all, much-needed kindness.
A team of 20 young people and staff from Salmon Youth Centre in Bermondsey are taking on the adventure of a lifetime next weekend to climb the highest mountains of England, Scotland and Wales – within 24 hours.
Joining staff from Standard Chartered Bank, the gruelling challenge will see the team scale Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England, and Snowdon in Wales to complete the renowned Three Peaks Challenge between Thursday 24 and Friday 25 May.
Despite the obvious challenges, Miranda Haslem, a Youth Worker at Salmon, is looking forward to it. She said: “We’re all very excited about it as none of us here at Salmon have done it before so it will be well out of our comfort zone. We’re lucky to have the experienced guys from Standard Chartered with us to guide the way!”
Also excited is 16 year old Jack Clayton, a young volunteer at Salmon. He said: “I was going to do the London Marathon this year until I found out I was too young for it, so I set myself a challenge to do this instead and raise money for Salmon along the way.
“I’ve been coming to Salmon since I was 14 and being here has really changed me a lot – I’ve developed skills such as timekeeping, team work and leadership which will help me in future for jobs. I’m looking forward to completing the challenge in under 24 hours – with some time to spare!”
The team is hoping to raise £10,000 to help fund Salmon’s work with disadvantaged young people. To find out more and to make a donation, please visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/SCSquared