Over 52,000 children educated since 1960: Tibetan Children's Villages leads in exile education infrastructure

Nearly Rs 50 crore comes in as aid from across the world. US AID is one of the largest contributors towards this programme.
Children playing in Tibetan Children's Villages.
Children playing in Tibetan Children's Villages.Photo | Yeshi Seli

DHARAMSHALA: When His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, came to India in 1960 he learnt of around 51 young children finding it hard to survive with the large batch of refugees that fled from Tibet.

To accommodate these children came up the idea of setting up the Tibetian Children Village (TCV) in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh. The school was subsequently run by HH Dalai Lama’s sisters.

"TCV is the largest education infrastructure in exile which focuses on retaining the ethos of Tibet while providing holistic education. It’s a boarding school that takes care of over 1000 students at present from age 3 to 18 as the school has classes up to 12th standard in Dharamshala alone. If we factor in the other seven schools there are over 5500 students,’’ the President of TCV, Sonam Sichoe, told this newspaper.

Sonam came to India when he was 10 years old in 1970 and studied in TCV. Over 52,000 children have studied in TCV since 1960, which now includes a total of 7 other schools spread across different parts of India- bringing the total to 8 schools.

Children learning in Tibetan Children's Villages.
Children learning in Tibetan Children's Villages.Photo | Yeshi Seli

The education of one child incurs a monthly expenditure of around Rs 5000 to Rs 8000 ($80) but many sponsors have taken charge of these expenses. Nearly Rs 50 crore comes in as aid from across the world.

US AID is one of the largest contributors towards this programme.

"There are eight schools under us now in different locations in India. Our school’s alumina also pitches in to help, besides we have exchange programs for Tibetian children studying in other countries. Indian government organizes programmes here and our school is affiliated with CBSE,’’ General Secretary (External Relations) Lobsang Tsomo told this newspaper.

Tibetians want their culture and ethos to remain intact and India is one country where they can do so through their education system, and monasteries. "The Chinese are trying to forcibly send Tibetian children in Tibet to Chinese boarding schools, with the intent of them forgetting their culture, we on our behalf are doing everything possible to retain in,’’ Sonam added.

TCV says it represents the 6 million Tibetians in Tibet and they will continue to inculcate Buddhist values so that the children who study here become good citizens of the world.

In the word of HH Dalai Lama, "Be kind whenever possible, it is always possible."

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