TIBETAN CHILDRENíS VILLAGE

Dharmasala, India

 

    

   Following the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1950 and the Dalai Lama's flight to India, it became apparent that one of the most crucial needs of Tibetan refugees was a means to care for the many children who had been orphaned or separated from their families during the arduous escape from their homeland. His Holiness the Dalai Lama quickly recognized that the future of Tibet and its people depended upon the younger generation. With this in mind and out of concern for the miserable conditions under which so many children were suffering, he proposed that a center for destitute children be established in Dharmasala, the home of the Tibetan Government in exile.

   The Nursery for Tibetan Refugee Children was born out of this effort to protect and care for the children. His Holiness's elder sister Tsering Dolma Takla, looked after them any ill and malnourished children, with everything in short supply food, medicine, and clothing. In spite of such adverse conditions every effort was made to give these children the love and care they so desperately needed. Gradually the news of the Nursery spread throughout the international aid community and their timely assistance and that of the Indian government allowed the school to continue and grow.

   The nursery expanded into an integrated children's community, where it became possible to give love, care, education, and hope for the future to thousands of destitute children. In 1972 through the assistance of the private donors and international aid organizations Tibetan Children's Village was formally registered. New construction began to meet the rising need for shelter and education. During this time when TCV was successfully emerging out of the critical early stages, the plight of the Tibetan children in remote  areas such as Ladakh remained very grave. His Holiness the Dalai Lama was deeply concerned by the abject poverty and total lack of educational opportunities for the Tibetan refugees in resettlement camps throughout India.  Following his guidance, TCV for the first time in its history expanded into these refugee camps to create schools and residential facilities.

 

   While TCV busied itself with the new responsibilities, the political situation in Tibet changed unexpectedly. China was forced to follow a lenient policy toward Tibet because of the international condemnation of its records on human rights. This provided new opportunities for parents to smuggle their children across the border to freedom. Thousands of children from Tibet flooded the main TCV at Dharmasala creating a serious overcrowding problem. Comprehensive plans for new facilities to address the multifarious needs of children and the community, were initiated.

   Today TCV is a self contained integrated community with family homes for children, schooling facilities and vocational training centers. It has grown to include three additional villages, eight day schools, ten day care facilities and two youth hostels. Over 13,000 children have passed through TCV from 1960 to date. Children are provided with a nurturing home setting in which they can develop into their full potential. A group of 40 children live together with foster parents in a traditional Tibetan home called a' Khim tsang. Children relate as brothers and sisters sharing in household duties and helping each other. TCV also seeks to impart the best of a modern education along with an intimate understanding of the rich cultural heritage of Tibet.

   Given this comprehensive approach the children have the best opportunity to become self reliant contributing members of society. The success of this long standing effort is evident. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said, ''I consider the children to be the seeds of a future Tibet and it is inspiring to note that most of our establishments in exile are today manned by young educated Tibetans.''

   TCV is clearly a success story yet due to the continued and even intensified oppression of the Chinese government within Tibet, many Tibetans continue to escape into India. There are many children arriving at the resettlement camps in great need. Amnesty International has reported that China is currently engage in one of it's most brutal crackdowns in the past decade. Instances of arbitrary arrests, imprisonment and torture have increased within the last year. These pressures have forced even more Tibetans to attempt the arduous trek over the Himalayas so that their children can know a life free from the constant fear and oppression of the communist occupation in Tibet.

   As the greatest needs exist in the outlying branch schools and resettlement camps, sponsorships are sought for the children there. Every year TCV is besieged with requests for help in some form, particularly in the admission of children to school. Although it would be ideal to admit all applicants it is financially impossible now. If you would like to assist these refugee children to have a new chance at life, to receive an education and to live up to their potential please consider becoming a sponsor.

 

   Sponsorship consists of a monthly donation of $30. which is fully tax deductible. Communication between sponsor and child is encouraged and assisted. You will receive a letter and a picture from the child you are helping. Your commitment of $30 monthly will make a world of difference in the life of a child.

Thank you!

may all beings be free of suffering

may all beings be free of pain

may all beings be happy

may all beings know peace

 

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