Together with the donours Alberta e Pierluigi Corbetta, Tiziana Busnelli, Oriù Busnelli, Roberto Nosotti and the film director and cameraman Roberto Condotta, I have started the trip on May 15th, 2011.
This trip was born, to offer our donators the possibility to go and see on their own. To see the projects of the Costa Family Foundation, to see what is happening in the TCVs, the Tibetan refugee children’s villages.
Together with the donours Alberta e Pierluigi Corbetta, Tiziana Busnelli, Oriù Busnelli, Roberto Nosotti and the film director and cameraman Roberto Condotta, I have started the trip on May 15th, 2011.“The itinerary was very long, going from the extreme North of India to the South, with a huge programme on visits to do; that was a bit frightening to me and to my wife already over seventy years old. Nevertheless our trip mates have contributed to turn this adventure into a pleasant and absolutely not tiring trip, giving us great fraternal attentions.
On May 15th, we landed in New Delhi. It’s “New” because the English, in the early 1900, have transferred the capital city from Calcutta to Delhi, starting to build all around the old city. The old city was a nice garden city, able to expand infinitely. Today New Delhi counts over 20 million inhabitants and is in great contrast to the old Delhi, where the population lives accumulated in little narrow streets within thousands of boxes being used for any kind of commercial and artisan activity. Until today the old city is without sewer lines and without the most elementary hygienic measures. In New Delhi on the other hand the English have built lots of important social works, as for example the India Gate, in memory of 90.000 people killed during World War 1 and the Afghan war. Through fantastic boulevards the India Gate brings to the pink stone Maharaja Palace, to the grandiose temples dedicated to richness. There is then the Jaipur Column, 192 metres high and surrounded by grand palaces, and last but not least the fantastic Ministerial Palaces, a mixture of English baroque, with “Mughal” gates and cupolas embellished by lotus flowers.
It is here in Delhi that we have visited Madame Jetsum Pema, sister of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The meeting has been emotional, characterized by simplicity and naturalness. Madame Jetsum Pema and her husband have clearly and gently answered to our questions, even the most political ones.
On May 18th we have flied to Dharamsala, in the western Himalaya, in the Kangra Valley. This is a densely populated zone, where in the far 1960 the Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) has been born. Today the village counts 3.000 little exiled children. It is also in Dharamsala, that the exiled Tibetan Government is based, as well as the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The village is on more or less 2.000metres over the sea level, in the back the Tibetan mountains rise with its peaks of over 7.000metres height. An astonishing view!
Entering the TCV is like entering an oasis. Outside everything is as if the time would have stand still back of some centenary: chaotic, densely populated, narrow streets with steel plate boxes for the shopping and any other kind of activity, no hygienic measures, sewers in the open which run on both sides of the streets, cows walking around everywhere, frightening steep streets, and ages old public transports, everyone blows the horn, nobody gets out of the way. Well, as said, once in the TCV, everything changes, the most exasperating chaos leaves the place to a perfect organization. During an entire day we have visited all the sections of the village, the nursery school, the elementary school, the library, the secondary schools… we have appreciated the carreaux shirts and the green-yellow pullover uniforms. We have taken part to different lessons, had lunch with the president and the director, who have honoured us with the white scarf, in sign of friendship, and a “Tashi Delek”. In the end we have also met Thupten, the 11 years old child adopted by the foundation. We have visited the residence of the Dalai Lama, and the last project of the Costa Family Foundation: the amplification and building of the girl’s boarding school.
On May 20th we have returned to Delhi, and from here we have had a long transfer towards Agra for a visit to the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort. 204km and a 6 hour trip by bus on a two lane highway. It was a two lane highway indeed, although at every village it was crossed by lateral streets converging in it. These streets having shops and cow and animal fairs on their sides. One is going back of hundreds of years!
After other two and a half hours on the plane we arrived to Bangalore, a totally new metropolis. After all the chaos, here it seemed to be in Switzerland. Bangalore is a clean and tidy city, with modern buildings. With its eight millions inhabitants it is considered the Indian California, for its high number on foreign firms operating overall in the technological sector.
In 2001 the TCV University has been founded in the periphery of Bangalore. The Costa Family Foundation has contributed to the university with an entire floor of the girl’s boarding school.
The last two days of our trip have brought us to Mysore to admire the fantastic “Amba Vilas” Maharaja palace. We have then been to Kabini, 200km south of Bangalore, for a “typical African style” safari: elephants, tigers, crocodiles, monkeys, deer and over 300 species of coloured birds.
This trip has been a unique experience, special and emotional, which has contributed to rise and embellish our spirits.”
Pio took a big commitment: he'll help Elide in controlling the numbers that turn around the Foundation. Budget, funding, revenues, loans are all figures important figures that have to be monitored regularly. Pio is that good, that he's also involved in writing down the annual report of the projects we endorse in Uganda.
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Lisa follows our donators with attention. She screens all the donations with precision, before they arrive entire and untouched to the ones in need. In 2012 Lisa, together with Stefan and Paolo, has been to Togo visiting sister Patrizia and Maristella. There she has lived the sustained children’s smile.
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Ludwig is the foundation’s auditor. Our actions pass through his attentive control. He follows us with enthusiasm and commitment not only for the accounting aspects. He concretizes our ideas, our projects, our activity in numbers.
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Manuel takes care of the dialogue with the Tibetan Children’s Village. He follows our Tibetan projects. During his trips to India, he has got to know the children of the Tibetan peoples in exile developing a strong and honest relationship to them. When not on the road, he is the creative director of our meetings.
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Merch follows the practical and less practical aspects, like bureaucracy, organization, fund raising. He is a tireless resource of ideas and like magic, from small thoughts, he gives birth to great projects. From his trips to India and Uganda, he has come back richer. Richer on thoughts.
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Michil, thanks to him, the foundation project has been born. In 2007, together with his family, he brought the foundation to life and made its work possible. His commitment is great, he has got to know the Tibetan people, he has approached its thoughts. Michil’s contribution is of unexhausted creativity.
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Francesco De Pasquale
Francesco is development director at ISP in Karamoja and he is our person in place to follow the school projects with accuracy and great commitment. His joie de vivre and passion for what he does, is contagious even through email.
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Joe follows the foundation since its birth in 2007. She is the mother hand which guides us gently and with great sensibility. Her advices are precious, her look honest. Twice she has been to India visiting our projects. She is responsible of the foundations press office and communication.
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Davide is project coordinator of ISP… in Africa. In Uganda since always, he has lived the tragic years of guerrilla, revolutions, Kalashnikov and hunger side by side with the locals. His efficiency is reassuring. He lives in Kampala with Giulia, his wife and little Leonardo, the second one is on his way.
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When one is good at so many different things it is likely that one will be involved in organizing, arranging, planning and more. That's the case of Nicolò. For our foundation he is in in charge of fund raising events: if there is a meeting, an evening or a dinner to organize as it should be, he knows how.
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His happiness is contagious, his advices precious. Daniele is managing the fund raising at Insieme si può… but his commitment goes well beyond. Together with him and Piergiorgio, in 2012 we have started our two green projects in Uganda. Daniele is a honest hand to hold in moments of necessity.
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Andy is an adventurer. Six months spent in India alone, several trips in far lands have formed him. He likes jokes and has always one ready for you. At the back-office of the Hotel La Perla Andy and Fabian are the perfect duo. At the end of October 2016, he has been to Uganda for the inspection of the projects. His critical spirit and enthusiasm, have brought home the will to improve and help even further.
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Brigitte von Imhof
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Born in Munich, for many years Brigitte has been chef-reporter for the travel magazine “abenteuer und reisen”. During a work trip to Alaska, she got to know his husband Chris, who “at the end of the world” has created the biggest ski-resort. Now she works as a free journalist between these two worlds.
In 2011 sister Patrizia has got here by chance, she was sent by the Providence to enrich our souls with tales of life. Together with Maristella, in Togo since thirty years already, she follows the school project there. When she happens to be in Italy though, she always finds the time to pop by to say hello.
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Lobsang Tsomo is project manager at the Tibetan Children’s Village in India. She is Tibetan, escaped from his oppressed homeland looking for freedom of expression and life. Thanks to her, the distance between here and the Tibetan people exiled in India, is less huge and richer on possibilities.
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Francesco Ricci is from Modena, since years he is active in company and social communication. To the foundation he offers his time and his words, rich on honesty and joy for life.
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Alessandro is project coordinator for ISP… in Africa for Karamoja. He follows the projects directly, and makes them blossom. But his main strength, is listening to the local community, translate their needs and make possibilities out of them. He lives in Moroto with his karimojong wife Florence and the two children.
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Elide is responsible for the Costa Family Foundation o.n.l.u.s. since 2011. She is silent, her eyes are sprightly, her attitude sweet. But don’t get fooled: she is very determined and admonishes us when the work is not properly done. Elide doesn’t like to appear, but as nobody else she manages to move the public.
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Hannington Kakembo is the founder of the Ssezibwa Demonstration Farm in Mukono, Uganda. He follows his project, by the community for the community, with great commitment and passion, but most of all with transparency and efficiency.
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