In 1994, The Tibet Fund established its Tibet Assistance Program to address the neglected medical, educational and economic needs of the Tibetan people. Working primarily with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Tibet, the Program has launched small-scale, well-managed programs to educate and care for orphans, offer scholarship opportunities for higher education, and provide eye care and blindness prevention services. For the past 11 years, The Tibet Fund has administered a State Department-funded cultural exchange program that enables Tibetan scholars and professionals to study and gain internship experience in the U.S. The program has also provided college-level English language and computer skills training in Tibet.
Many children in Tibet are victims of personal tragedy or extremely difficult economic conditions that force parents to leave their sons and daughters in the care of orphanages throughout the country. The Tibet Assistance Program has been providing support to three orphanages for more than ten years. In 1999 the Tibet Fund financed the building of the Chushul Orphanage Home, located outside Lhasa and has contributed funds annually for the maintenance of the Home. Currently, 26 children are under the care of the Home. They attend local primary, middle and high schools and three of the students have already graduated and are attending universities in China.
The Tibet Assistance Program also assists the Waka Orphanage, which cares for 30 children including 12 orphans from Ganzi in Kham in the eastern part of Tibet. The children from this orphanage receive after school tutoring in Tibetan and Chinese from an in-residence tutor and are performing consistently well in their studies at local schools. The other orphanage that we assist is the Poor Snowland Home in Golok. This orphanage is in a remote area officially recognized as being one of the poorest counties in Tibet. The Home has made a special effort to serve underprivileged girls whose families could not afford the most basic necessities or the parents were suffering from physical or mental illness and could not care for their children.
Our Tibet Assistance Program has been supporting 15 of the school’s 62 orphans. Because the Home has gained a positive reputation for the excellent care it takes of its girls, it has a long list of others who are waiting to join. Our support for all three orphanages comes primarily from our sponsors. Your sponsorship will make a huge difference in the lives of these children. Visit the sponsorship page for more.
Over 30,000 people in Tibet suffer from cataract blindness, and about 3,000 become blind every year. In 1999, The Tibet Fund provided funds to construct an eye care hospital in Lhasa and has continued to support its services every year since. We also fund mobile eye camps which conduct cataract removal operations on hundreds of Tibetans living in remote areas where access to eye care is virtually non-existent.
To address the need for qualified Tibetan ophthalmologists, the Program has provided funding for several Tibetan doctors to receive surgical training at the Tilganga Eye Center in Kathmandu in Nepal. The prevention of blindness continues to be an urgent need in Tibet. The Tibet Fund welcomes donations for this.