The Central Tibetan Administration is faced with the two principal tasks of rehabilitating newly-arrived refugees from Tibet and empowering the Tibetan community in exile. Despite building a successful refugee community, the exile Tibetan community today is confronted with several diverse and unique challenges that have the potential to fragment the long-established settlement life thereby threatening the long-term sustainability of the Tibetan culture and identity itself. Increasing demographic and overseas migration trends, scattered communities, inadequate employment opportunities, lack of income-generating activities and alternative source of livelihood in the settlements, have all given way to a new set of challenging scenario in the exile Tibetan community.
The Tibet Fund prioritizes strategic development programs that are aimed at revitalizing the Tibetan settlements and empowering the Tibetan community as a whole. In addition to alleviating poverty and deprivation through funding and programmatic support from the US government and our donors, we work to facilitate economic self-sufficiency through initiatives that promote entrepreneurship, small enterprise development, employment and job competitiveness of unemployed youth. We also support local grassroots Tibetan NGOs and civil society organizations to address local community priorities and also to reinforce their effectiveness in delivering socio-economic and welfare services.
Recognizing the significant role that entrepreneurship plays in promoting financial empowerment and economic mobility in a society, The Tibet Fund encourages the growth of entrepreneurial ventures in the exile Tibetan community. Some program highlights in this area are:
Unemployment and underutilization of Tibetan youth in the Tibetan communities are caused due to financial barriers, lack of employable skills and training infrastructures. To address this critical issue, The Tibet Fund has provided trainings in vocational and business skills to improve employability and livelihood opportunities. Program highlights in this area are:
Recognizing Tibetan Civil Society as a powerful agent of social change, The Tibet Fund has supported many Tibetan civil society organizations (CSOs) in their works and help to strengthen their organizational capabilities and outreach impact. Some highlights in this area:
The USAID funded program for five years encompasses multiple components including livelihood improvement, education, health, cultural preservation, and institution strengthening, the latter focusing on CTA and other implementing partners. Diagnostic need assessments were completed in six key program areas to inform TSRR planning for the next four years in entrepreneurship development, workforce development, agriculture development, education, women empowerment, and culture preservation. Program highlights in this area since its implementation began in 2016,
More than 11,200 Tibetans in India and Nepal benefitted from sustainable livelihoods and institutional strengthening activities
Delegation of the Tibetan Chamber of Commerce visits the US annually to establish partnership and build networks with various chambers of commerce and business institutions. Over the years, The Tibet Fund has facilitated meetings for the delegations with representatives of the Office of Tibet, International Campaign for Tibet, and the US State Department but also assisted in maximizing opportunities for networking and cooperation through engagements with business experts and leaders of the Chambers of Commerce of Manhattan, Queens, Greater Flushing, and Eastern Connecticut. Under the patronage of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tibetan Chamber of Commerce was established in 2005 when Mr. Lobsang Nyandak served as its Finance Minister.
After a nine-month detailed assessment of the community needs and economic problems of 25 refugee settlements in India and Nepal by our Board member, Richard Weingerten, The Tibet Fund launched Tibetan Economic Development Project. We worked for several years with the CTA, late Mr. Michael Currier of New Cycle Foundation and the Charitable Trust of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to establish $500,000 revolving loan fund in India. The project helped upgrade agricultural and handicraft cooperative societies, establish new cottage industries, develop small-scale industries and business in the settlements and strengthen existing agricultural and handicraft ventures.
Tailoring our assistance based on assessed needs for capacity building within the Tibetan community, The Tibet Fund has implemented targeted and high-impact capacity building programs for our partner organizations in India and Nepal, in particular the departments and affiliates of the CTA and local Tibetan NGOs. Some program highlights in this area are