The continued arrival of new refugees from Tibet is placing tremendous pressure on the Tibetan exile community and is stretching its resources to the limit. The lack of housing and employment opportunities in the Tibetan settlements is forcing the refugees into scattered communities and Indian cities where they eke out a living as sweater sellers and in petty business for several months each year. This situation is fragmenting families and threatening the long-term sustainability of Tibetan culture and identity. The Tibet Fund works to strengthen the economic self-sufficiency of Tibetan families in exile through initiatives that promote entrepreneurship, small enterprises development, employment and job competitiveness of unemployed youth. We also work with local Tibetan NGOs, elder homes and grass roots organizations to address local community priorities.
The Tibet Fund continued to encourage the growth of entrepreneurial ventures in the exile community through expansion of the Tibetan Entrepreneurship Development (TED). Last year with support from the U.S. State Department, Tibet Fund supported participation of 750 Tibetans entrepreneurs in entrepreneurship outreach and information sessions in settlements, colleges and universities. 10 entrepreneurs further took part in a business start-up incubation and training at Jindal Institute and the JSS-STEP incubator center in Delhi. With the help of Judith McBean Foundation, the Tibet Fund provided salaries for two full-time staff who attended networking forums and trainings and created a 5-year business plan for the program in collaboration with Intellecap, a reputed entrepreneurship consultancy in India. TED aims to be an agent of change in helping Tibetan entrepreneurs and businesses become more competitive, sustainable and impact-oriented.
Unemployment and underutilization of Tibetan youth in the Tibetan communities poses serious threat and challenge to the development of the communities in exile. To address this critical issue, the Tibet Fund supports training of unemployed Tibetan youth in various job oriented courses India and Nepal and promote development of new enterprises.
The Tibet Fund also supports CTA’s Tibetan Career Center (TCC) to provide career counseling and guidance to the unemployed youth by organizing intensive workshops for high school students and parents alike. TCC provides one on one counseling including relevant assistance in preparing quality resume, cover letters and job applications. Career planning workshops encourages students to explore options based on their interest and aspirations and educating parents about post-secondary school options for their children. All vocational training , new enterprise development and career counseling was funded by the U.S. State Department.
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The Tibet Fund assists the CTA Department of Home by supporting income-generating projects including fruit orchards and vegetable gardens and small enterprises such as stores and guest houses. We have funded the construction of housing, flood control structures, community halls and offices, including a housing project for 52 Tibetan refugee families scattered in and around Dalhousie Hill station, Himachal Pradesh, India and the renovation of houses in Bhutan. The Tibet Fund also supports management skills training for staff of the Department of Home and settlement administrators. To help improve communications within and between 33 Tibetan settlements, we provided computers and training that enabled the settlement administrators to network and use the internet. As conditions in the settlements continue to present significant challenges to self-sufficiency, we are continually seeking funding partners for all types of development projects.