Tenzin Dhazai’s journey of working with children with special needs

I love to be around children. I enjoy spending time with them, and I feel that I can truly be myself in their company,” says Dhazai, describing her work with children with special needs in Dharamshala.

Tenzin Dhazai was raised in Mundgod, South India, by parents who were committed to serving the community through teaching. Inspired by them, Dhazai decided to pursue a career where she could do the same and contribute by supporting the most vulnerable community members. “My parents encouraged and financed me to pursue higher studies. Having received a lot of exposure during my undergraduate studies, I decided to get a Master’s Degree in Social Work. This degree involved conducting a lot of field work and trips. Getting the scholarship from USAID enabled me to continue my field work and trips and complete my studies.”

Like Dhazai, many Tibetan students in India cannot afford the cost of higher education or thereafter. Thanks to scholarships offered through programs supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), more than 2,000 Tibetan students have been able to attend a wide range of college, graduate degree and post graduate programs. As a result, the Tibetan community in India and Nepal has benefited from more well-educated youth, many of whom are highly motivated to give back and serve their communities.

Dhazai’s master’s education in social work enabled her to focus on both medicine and psychiatry. After a brief stint as a research associate at Goa University’s Sociology Department, she found a job at the Tibetan Ability Center in Dharamsala, a non-profit that offers community-based rehabilitation services to Tibetans with special needs. As part of her job, Dhazai engages in awareness programs, educating the parents and teachers and the community on how to take care of children with special needs and  promoting inclusive education and early intervention.

My team and I are committed to improving the quality of life for people with special needs by providing preventative, remedial, and rehabilitative treatments. By educating the public about inclusive practices and removing the stigma associated with disabilities, we make efforts in bringing the parents and teachers together as a team and prepare our students to become contributing members of their community. Seeing a child transform and succeed by meeting their goals is both gratifying and rewarding,” concludes Dhazai.