As well as working hard for his Bachelor of Commerce degree in the government college Dharamsala, Vijay has been helping the evicted slum communities. Vijay was concerned about the conditions that the slum community were living in and wanted to help them. He approached the local commissioner’s office, mayor’s office and municipal corporation seeking rubbish collection work for the men in the slum. He now meets a group of the men at 7am every morning before he goes to college and arranges their collection work for the day. He visits over 1,000 households every month to collect payment for the rubbish collection and passes all of this onto the men. The project has had many challenges but Vijay persisted, giving all of his spare time to making it work. His efforts to help this community are amazing and a credit to him and to Tong-Len.
Here is what Vijay has to say about his life:
“My name is Vijay and I am 19 years old. Before I came to Tong-Len my life was very hard. There was no source of income for my family and no house, only a shelter made up of plastic sheets and bamboos. I used to go for begging and sometimes for collecting the junk material. If I did not get some things to take back home to sell, or some money, I used to be beaten by my father.
Before I came to Tong-Len I did not even know that people have three meals a day because sometimes I had only one or nothing. It was very difficult for me to survive.
One day me and my friends were collecting junk material from the garbage dump when a monk shared his lunch with us. And became a friend of us. That person was none other than our Guru ji, Jamyang. It was the turning point of my life. He came to our camp to select children to go to school. Unfortunately I was not there. I was in Manali with my mother for her treatment. I came back to see that my friends were studying in school. After a few months Guru Ji again came to the slums to select children. He did not at first pick me. I cried a lot and lay down at the centre of the road and begged Guru Ji to take me with him. My mother gave permission for education and that was my new birth.
Tong-Len taught me lots of things and has changed my life. I studied and now I am doing B.Com in government college, Dharamsala and my dream is to become a Chartered Accountant. Tong-Len gave me a new future and I am very thankful and will always be.”