There are many Tibetans in exile who struggle with poverty, deprivation and other sources of vulnerability that inhibit their personal growth, well-being, and civic responsibility. Many are orphans and newly-arrived children from Tibet who have come to India for a better education. Some are elderly Tibetans with no family members to take care of them. In 1999, The Tibet Fund established the Sponsorship Program to break this cycle of social and economic deprivation and has transferred over $4 million to approximately 80 sponsored institutions working in exile. Based on sponsorship appeals and other forms of outreach such as social media campaigns, hundreds of compassionate donors have made a tremendous difference to the exile community, giving the most vulnerable Tibetans hope and the opportunity to live a purposeful life. This program has also helped in providing nutritious meals, clothing, healthcare, and other basic necessities for Tibetan refugees in monastic institutions, schools, and rest-homes whose resources are stretched to the limits
In 2017, The Tibet Fund raised a total of $176,772.46 in sponsorship donations from private sources. These donations were transferred to the offices of the sponsored monasteries, nunneries, schools, and rest-homes in India and Nepal. The sponsorship supported 183 monks, 108 nuns, 352 school children, 42 disabled children, 39 elders, and seven performing arts students. Our Sponsorship Coordinator works with over 80 institutions and organizations to facilitate this program and meticulously maintains regular communications and follow-ups between donors and beneficiaries.
FELICIA AND CHARLES SMITH: We have had the privilege to sponsor children and elders through the Tibet Fund for many years. It is a joy to be a part of the lives of these courageous and gracious people. Over that time we have received so many heartwarming letters, artwork and reports from the children and their guardians and support staff. We feel grateful to know about and be able to support the work of the Tibet Fund, the Tibetan Children’s Village and related organizations that seek to enrich the lives of Tibetan refugees.
RICHARD AND JOAN ZALENSKI: I have been a sponsor for Lobsang Tenpa for at least 22 years. He is 37 years old now and I also sponsor his two nephews Lobsang Tenzin and Tenzin Tsering for the past 5 years. I am so blessed to be able to sponsor these wonderful monks at the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, they are amazing. I would also like to mention the kindness and support from the Sponsorship Coordinator always shows, always helpful and kind so i say thank you. It has been a pleasant and happy experience. I am pleased to be able to support the Tibet Fund and these three special monks. Thank You.
KEN KLEIN: 25 years ago, Rinchen Dharlo came to Philadelphia with the youngest brother of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nari Rinpoche for an evening talk and fund raiser for the Tibet Fund. As President of The Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia, we hosted the event as well as offered them my home to sleep.
The Tibet Fund was new to me and in my research I discovered that their sole mission was to help and support Tibetans both inside and outside of Tibet. There was no political mission. During our evening and breakfast conversations, I offered my support and asked what can I do to help. Over the years, Rinchen asked me to start a grass roots campaign to support the Tsering Elders Home in Kathmandu. I developed a coin can campaign which were placed in Tibet shops around the United States. I was able to raise over $15,000 with my “Spare Change for Tibetan Elders” campaign. I have also supported an individual resident for the past 15-20 years. $380 per year does not make a difference in my budget, but it makes a huge difference for support in Nepal.
Last month, I went to Nepal for a pilgrimage and meditation retreat. Before I met my group, I visited the Tsering Elders Home. I spent the morning visiting with Ata, whom I have sponsored, touring the facility and observing the love and care the residents receive due to The Tibet Funds efforts of support.
I urge you to find it in your heart to make a difference in an individuals life. Elders, monks and nuns, families in need or a child. The choice is yours, the benefits are endless.
MARLI HIGA: I found Tibet Fund’s sponsorship program three years ago when I was looking for a way to help support the Tibetan people. Tibet Fund was highly rated on Charity Navigator, and it seemed like a small but vigorous umbrella organization that originated within the Tibetan community and funneled money directly to a wide variety of essential programs. These programs are modest in size but comprehensive in their approach to serving the critical needs of particularly vulnerable groups within the community—elders, children, the developmentally challenged, and nuns and monks. In reading the individual stories within each sponsorship program I was moved by how great the need was and impressed by how well each organization seemed to know the individuals they were helping.
I decided to sponsor a teenage boy at Ngoenga School, a Tibetan school in northern India that cares for and educates children who are physically or developmentally challenged. His name is Tenzin Dorjee, and he entered Ngoenga when he was fourteen. He is seventeen now. Over the past three years I have felt so fortunate to be able to see him grow up in the Ngoenga environment and to witness, through school newsletters and personal correspondence, the kind of care and support the school provides. Though Tenzin still lives at Ngoenga, he now attends Sambhota School, a mainstream school for Tibetan students. It’s obvious how much both the Tibet Fund and Ngoenga care about Tenzin and the other students and how well they know them. From time to time, when I have had a question about whether it is appropriate and possible to send Tenzin something for a special occasion, the Tibet Fund has forwarded my query right away to Ngoenga, and the administrator there has helped me figure out what to buy and how to get it there quickly and securely. The Tibet Fund, in being so responsive to my inquiries, has helped facilitate a correspondence and relationship with Tenzin and with Ngoenga School that has become very meaningful and rewarding to me.
I am so grateful to Tibet Fund for providing a way to help that is not just monetary but personal as well. Through sponsoring, I’ve developed a connection with one particular child and also with the Tibet Fund and Ngoenga School. I feel blessed to be able to contribute in a small way to the work of two organizations that are wholeheartedly dedicated to their missions of helping improve the lives of the people they care for.