Empowering Tibetan Civil Society

The Tibetan Civil Society Empowerment Program (TCSEP) started in 2017 with the vision to build stronger and more resilient Tibetan communities by providing small grants for non-profit organizations in key sectors. By building the capacity of these Tibetan civil society organizations (CSOs), they can increase their impact. This program focuses services mostly in education, health, livelihood-skill training, settlement development and women’s empowerment arenas.The TCSEP is supported by donations from US-based private donors and philanthropic organizations. So far, The Tibet Fund (TTF) has backed approximately 25 CSOs in India and Nepal.

Building New Partnerships

The Tibet Fund has been a staunch advocate for the educational and social development initiatives undertaken by various Tibetan CSOs.  These projects specifically cater to the needs of youth, women, elder, children and other vulnerable groups within the Tibetan community. Recognising that Tibetan CSOs possess a unique understanding of grassroots challenges, we collaborate with a range of existing and new CSOs as partners including: 

Manjushri Educational Services

Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) is vital because it capitalizes on the period of the richest brain development for children. A rich ECCE experience enables youth to achieve their full potential later in life – laying the foundation for good health, learning and educational success, socio-emotional development, and economic productivity throughout life.

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Despite the strong evidence for these developmental gains, ECCE has historically been given low priority in traditional Tibetan education. In 2016, Manjushri Educational Services (MES) and TTF partnered to conduct an assessment of the principal-related challenges. The assessment identified the following primary issues: a shortage of culturally relevant early childhood reading and play materials; inadequate knowledge and awareness among the leading stakeholders – including parents and caregivers – about the importance of ECCE and its best practices; and a lack of high-quality community facilities, such as youngsters’ libraries, day-care centres, and outdoor play areas.

As a result, ECCE programs were developed to address some of these significant service gaps. Tibetan language children’s books and play materials were produced. ECCE workshops for caregivers of newborns were conducted. Positive parenting workshops for families with school-age boys and girls were introduced. Additionally, a library for Dharamsala’s youth and home reading rooms in Ladakh was built.

Approximately 10,000 boys and girls alike, as well as 2,300 parents, have benefited from MES’ ECCE-related initiatives since its inception.

Children’s Literature Publication: Since 2017, this MES program has been quite successful in publishing original stories and folk tales (and translations); STEM book translations; as well as high-quality and culturally relevant alphabet cubic blocks.

Over the years, MES has published around 45,000 copies of original titles, with some translations from TTF’s support – benefiting about 10,000 young students studying in over 70 Tibetan schools in India and Nepal.

Tibetan Baby Bag Project: Since 2017, families with pre-schoolers aged 0-5 years, from various Tibetan settlements and nomadic camps in India and Nepal, have received MES ECCE training. Altogether, more than 500 parents have benefited from this project.

Shatsa Organization

Shatsa is a Ladakh-based organization founded by young Tibetans born and raised in the region. It is committed to developing excellent reading habits among local Tibetan children, setting the community’s youths on the road to embracing lifelong reading. TTF started partnering with Shatsa in 2019. Since then, it has opened a community library and organizes many activities; started a Reading Intervention Program for youngsters from nomadic camps so they can have access to books; along with a mobile book collection that visits areas where there are no student reading rooms. 

Lha Charitable Trust

Lha Charitable Trust (Lha) is an award-winning, grassroots, registered non-profit organization and one of the largest Tibetan social work institutes based in Dharamshala. Since 1997, they have been providing vital resources to Tibetan refugees, the local Indian population, and people from the Himalayan regions.

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TTF partnered with Lha in 2019 to launch the Livelihood Skill Training Program to address the unemployment issue in the Tibetan community. This program offers short-term courses so graduates can find jobs as bakers, baristas, special-cuisine chefs, Tibetan traditional massage and spa therapists, tattoo artists, certified fitness trainers, beauticians, nail artists or bartenders. So far, Lha has trained about 300 Tibetans in these short-skill courses. Lha also supports internship placements for trainees.


Drokpo and Hope & Challenge

Hope & Challenge and Drokpo Nepal started the Microenterprise Development Project in 2018 to support 50 microenterprises in Kathmandu. Each microenterprise receives about US$1,500 to establish or revamp their business, along with skills training and basic financial literacy coaching.

Altruism in Action

TTF has been partnering with Altruism in Action since 2019 to spread awareness about Hepatitis B while providing free consultations, treatment, and vaccinations.

Tibetan Cancer Society

TTF started its partnership with the Tibetan Cancer Society (TCS) in 2018. Since then, TCS has organized cancer awareness and screening camps in various Tibetan settlements and Indian cities with Tibetan enclaves. A variety of free-of-charge medical examinations are being offered. During the Covid-19 pandemic, TTF even sponsored an ambulance so that TCS could provide free ambulance service to cancer patients, those who caught Covid-19, and Tibetans with other critical illnesses. Overall, TCS has served over 10,000 Tibetans through its cancer awareness and screening camps.

Tibet Writes

In 2019, TTF began partnering with Tibet Writes, a Dharamshala-based Tibetan writers collective that works to promote Tibetan writers and publish their works in both Tibetan and English. So far, Tibet Writes has published almost 10,000 copies of 10 titles written by Tibetan authors in English and in Tibetan.

Charitable Tibetan Dentists

Charitable Tibetan Dentists (CTD) is a volunteer organization started by a group of young Tibetan dentists to provide free dental services in Tibetan settlements.

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In 2022, CTD conducted dental camps in Leh and nine nomadic camps in Ladakh. This was the first instance of dental services being conducted in these remote nomadic areas. 1,500 nomads were screened for dental ailments and 573 received treatments such as fillings, extractions, scaling, and fluoride therapies. CTD also conducted dental awareness sessions for nomadic communities and children of TCV school.

Tibetan Heart Foundation

Tibetan Heart Foundation (THF) works to promote good cardiac health and spread awareness on cardiac disease.

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In 2022 THF conducted a series of free medical camps in four major Tibetan settlements in south India. Around 959 Tibetans benefited from specialist consultations and screenings related to cardiology, gastroenterology, urology, orthopaedics, ophthalmology and gynaecology. CPR demonstrations were also conducted. Following the medical camps, THF provided further assistance to more than 100 patients with hospital visits and securing concessions on surgeries.


Drokmo is dedicated to addressing the problems of health, education and livelihoods faced by girls and women.

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In 2022 Dromko conducted workshops on puberty, adolescent health, and menstrual health management for 145 students from STS Bylakuppe and STS Hunsur. In late 2022 Drokmo conducted similar workshops in Tibetan schools in Arunachal Pradesh, as well as menstrual health management workshops in several nunneries in the Dehradun area.

Drung Films

Drung Films is a new partner under TTF’s Tibetan Filmmakers Initiative. Based on Dharamsala, Drung promotes Tibetan films and provides a platform for aspiring Tibetan filmmakers by mentoring them and helping them network with other filmmakers.

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In 2022 TTF partnered with Drung Films in a filmmaking mentorship program for two new and aspiring Tibetan filmmakers. Two award-winning filmmakers, Hiroshi Sunairi from Japan and Kyungmook Kim from South Korea, started a 2.5-month mentorship journey with the new filmmakers.

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