Alongside the support scheme we are now trying to expand our work in Rewalsar to include broader community development. From our conversations with local Tibetans, one of the most helpful developments would be a centre offering adult education, especially in languages, including:
Tibetan literacy classes – many Tibetan refugees have had no education. Literacy helps their self esteem and the survival of the Tibetan language in exile
Conversational Hindi - to help Tibetan refugees make better connections with the local Indian population.
Spoken English - of particular benefit to Tibetan people who make a living selling handicrafts and running food stalls and cafes as quite a number of visitors are Westerners attracted to Rewalsar for its interest as a place of pilgrimage and its pleasant scenery
There is also interest in using the Centre as a base for a Tibetan Women’s group; as a place for elderly people to meet; and as a base for exploring ways of collaborating with others in local environmental improvements. A committee of 4 women and 3 men, who are featured in the slide show below, has been set up to manage the development of the Centre.
After several months of work, fundraising, securing premises and getting them ready, the Community Centre opened at the beginning of October. The Open Day was a very happy celebration involving all sections of the community. The photos give some idea of what the day was like. At the moment the Centre is opening 3 days a week and it is already very popular with elderly Tibetans and between 20 and 30 are coming each time the centre is open. Previously they had nowhere to go where they could all meet up together. It is hoped that in time it will be possible to provide food at least once a week and also develop a wider range of activities for different age groups.
Update- 24th November 2016 This is the day we officially handed over the full funding and management of the Community Centre to Tibet Relief Fund, a long established charity based in the UK. Their website is www.tibetrelieffund.co.uk
We're so pleased that the project is up and running with Karma Tenzin - the new project co-ordinator- full of enthusiasm to take the project on. We're delighted that, having got this far, Tibet Relief Fund has now taken on the longer-term funding and management of the project, which would have been well beyond the reach of TSGY - it just seems perfect timing.
We will still have a strong connection to the project and we are, for example, particularly well placed to raise funds for any activities or equipment that lie outside the budget. All of this has only been possible because so many people have supported the project. We’ve been very moved by so many people’s generosity and kindness.
Thank you all so much.
If you would like to contribute towards the development of the Centre please use the donate button below. Any contribution would be much appreciated