The following is a final draft of updates and articles to be published in our new pamphlet: The Hope Pamphlet.
We just thought we’d publish the same online too, so that all our volunteers, from all across the world could get an update as well.
H.H Dalai Lama on Hope:
“We are same human being. So, all sentient beings have the same desire to overcome suffering and to achieve a happy life. I think the very foundation of our existence is our ‘Hope’. Where there is hope yes, we survive. Once we lost our hope, then very survival becomes difficult.”
Introduction to our Upcoming activities:
The THC has been undergoing some major space improvements over the past few weeks including working on the grounds outside so that class can be held there and our conversation classes can continue to grow. Our waiting list for the conversation classes is 35 students but due to an inadequate amount of space and volunteers, in order to maintain quality classes we keep our numbers at 25. We would love to increase our numbers and you can help us do this! Please refer to the “How to volunteer” section of this publication for more information. Also, be on the lookout for two upcoming projects from the THC including a photo exhibition on his Holiness the Dalai Lama. Similar to our successful “Tibet in a Lens” photo exhibit, we will be gathering photos from photographers all over the world of his Holiness and displaying them as a fundraising project for the THC and also an awareness raising project. As Founder and Director of the THC says, “Photography is a prime form of freedom in the media and each photo has the power to express strong messages to the general audience.” For more information on our second upcoming project refer to the “Dalai Lama, We Love You Project” section of this publication to learn how you can express your gratitude to his Holiness.
Statement from Kunsang (director)
The recent earthquake in Tibet is a sad tragedy. In such times, we can only HOPE to persevere and stay together. Such tragedies give an opportunity to come together and work to unite. Based on that hope, we can build a new future, despite our troubled past. Although it is a tragedy, we can take this opportunity to view it in a positive light in order to produce an optimistic future. We mourn the loss of many Tibetans in this earthquake, but must not remain fixed on their memory, instead looking forward to brighter times. Through this tragedy we are able to further show how Tibetans are ready and willing to help each other in times of need.
We, the Tibet HOPE Center, have done what we can; we prayed and offered butter lamps for the victims and their families. Being Tibetan, and more importantly being human, has called us to offer our prayers and sympathies.
To our readers, we also call upon you to fulfill your responsibility in supporting this cause. We ask you to say a prayer from your heart, no matter your religion or beliefs; a tragedy such as this crosses all cultural and faith boundaries. We know that many countries were active in sending aid to the Tibetan people, and for that, we cannot begin to express our gratitude. Supporting and helping one another is both a spiritual and humane act. One day we will be free, and at that time it will be our turn to help you. We Tibetans will make sure that we do not forget the help and compassion you have provided to us, and will ensure we help you in the same manor.
Our Creative Initiatives:
1. Tibet in a lens ( Gavin)
From April 12th to the 17th the Tibet Hope Center hosted their first photo exhibition titled “Tibet in a Lens” at the main temple. The idea popped from Kunsang Tenzin and it came to be when all the THC staff and volunteers were in supports of the exhibition. The Director of THC stated that “Photography is a prime form of freedom in the media and each photo has the power to express strong messages to the general audience. I think there is a real message about the nature of humankind in the exhibition”
So we got the guts to start it with approximately five hundred photos from both locals and tourist photographers from Korea, Japan, Russia, France, Spain, USA and The Netherlands. We finalized thirty photos for the exhibition; it was visited by the local residents, monks, domestic/international tourists, and IPL players and officials.
With the funds that we earned from the sold out photos, postcards and donations we are going to use for the construction of a new cement ground outside the Hope Center, where conversation classes and games happen on working days. The THC would like to deeply thank all those who took part in our modest cause. We especially owe our kind gratitude to the photographers for their photos, for funding our cause and converting the simple classroom into a tranquil gallery. We are looking forward to hosting another photo exhibition in the near future about his Holiness the Dalai Lama, please refer to the “Upcoming Activities” section of this publication for more information.
2. We love you : Dalai Lama (Kunsang/Kayla)
Since the Chinese Government is continuing to accuse HH the Dalai Lama for the violence between China and Tibet all of us here at the THC would like to tell our side of the story to the world and that is how we came up with the “We Love You Dalai Lama Project”. If you love HH the Dalai Lama, appreciate his contribution to the world, wish to encourage him and believe in what he does we ask you to be creative and write a letter, a poem, an essay or draw a picture expressing your thanks and love. We will then bind these papers together into a book titled, “We Love you Dalai Lama” and present the book to his Holiness on his coming birthday on July 6th. This is an international project and we are in touch with people all over the world. We welcome pages in all languages so if you would like to show your appreciation to his Holiness, come by our office for a special piece of paper and be a part of the love! But hurry as his birthday is fast approaching.
• English Language class:
To teach the English language to Tibetan new comers is one of our priorities here at the Hope Center. We try to help our students read, write and speak at their best level. To achieve this goal we offer to our students different edutainment activities (activities that are both educational and entertaining) like listening to English songs, watching English movies and conducting conversation classes. The Hope Center welcomes all level English speakers from beginner to advanced levels. We offer 6 different English classes per day and over 150 students attend. Additionally, we can help arrange private lessons for those interested.
• Conversation class:
Often time newcomers from Tibet have little to no education in the English language but having the ability to understand English is an important aspect of starting their new lives in a foreign country. Therefore, the Tibet Hope Center conducts conversation classes where volunteers and students can sit together, practice their English skills and also share intriguing and fun conversation! Volunteers and students alike benefit and enjoy these sessions and we are always looking for new volunteers!
3. Who gives hope : Volunteers
Optimism, cooperation, unity, resourcefulness and Hope - These are the qualities that you can find at the Tibet Hope Center within the dedicated staff, enthusiastic students and sensitive volunteers.
It was my own hope to be a part of a progressively thinking NGO but what I became a part of was a cause, a family, and an experience that I will always keep with me and share with others.
Within the first week I truly felt the impact of my own actions at the center by witnessing the smiles and gesture of thanks and pure gratitude from both students and staff. My role within the organization was to gain relations with students so that they may express their ambitions and stories with me. I arranged some fun games after class which allowed students to interact with volunteers with more confidence facilitate new volunteers and keep records of students. Most importantly, my responsibility was to keep hope strong.
Many people at the Hope Center repeated “don’t leave”, even weeks before my departure. However, I will leave but with the intent to return and the certainty that the hope here will continue.
4. Radiance of hope : Benefactors
One not so particular, sunny Dharamsala afternoon, I sat with co-founder and vice president of the Tibetan Hope Center (THC), Tseten Dorjee, to hear his story and share it with the Dharamsala community. This is what I heard…
The morning of June 20th, 2006 an 18 year-old Tseten, fresh out of Nepal, stumbled from a car that had just pulled into Dharamsala. After almost 6 weeks of riding in buses and cars, staying in guest houses, trekking through mountains and hanging by ropes upside down over rivers, Tseten had finally arrived in India as a Tibetan Refugee. Tseten went to the Tibetan Reception Center where after a one month wait he was sent to the TTS (Tibetan Transit School). Tseten stayed only 15 days before he was back in Nepal with the intentions of going to America where his only sister lived but Tseten returned to Dharamsala three months later. Due to complications with his visa he was unable to re-enroll in TTS so he enrolled at the LHA center and took some English courses.
Soon after, Tseten formed a relationship with Kunsang, also a young Tibetan who had arrived in Dharamsala in 1992. Kunsang and another friend were inspired to start an organization and asked Tseten if he would like to be a part of it, “I was the first of four students, during that time what I could do was clean-up, painting things like that.” Soon Tseten was asked to serve as a board member, “I accepted very easily because I was interested in the center.”
With the help of the THC Tseten’s English steadily improved, “I was still just a student with a private teacher but the THC gave me so many opportunities to learn and speak English. Most of my English education came from the THC. Now I teach English skills to others, this is the proof!” One of these opportunities were the conversation classes which Tseten found to be a huge build in confidence, “When I was first trying to learn English I was shy to speak but the conversation classes gave me confidence. We really appreciated the time they [the volunteers] spent with us because when we are with our friends only speaking Tibetan, how are we to learn?”
Now Tseten serves as vice president and is especially happy to watch the THC grow. “Compared to 2007 the growth is huge! Before, we had only one chair in the office and one room for teaching, now we have 4 rooms and the space outside, lots of books, many things.” Tseten said he is especially proud that the THC became a registered NGO with the Indian government in December 2008 as that is just another sign of the continued expansion that is happening. “Why I am working hard at this NGO with no salary is I have an idea in the future. We are going to establish THC in different countries.” With volunteers in places like the USA already working towards this initiative, the THC would like to even have a center in Tibet. “Right now we are young so we believe we can do it, we started it! As the saying goes, aim at the sky.”
Tseten said that he would have never imagined he would be teaching others. “When I was in Tibet I didn’t have great hope to do something for society but when I came to Dharamsala I saw many people were doing positive things to learn and serve something. It made me want to contribute and that gives me hope.”
If you would like to give and receive hope come visit the Tibetan Hope Center and refer to the “How you can volunteer” section of this publication.
Tibet in Trauma: The Earth quake in Yushu
It was in the month of 17th April, 2010 a devastating earthquake struck at the Yushu County (in Qinghai Province) around 7:49 am. Ever since, the death-toll in the region has hiked up gradually but to our dismay the Chinese-state media has manipulated everything to use this disaster as their propaganda tool. For that we are hoping that our Chinese brothers and sisters don’t get eluded by their unending propaganda.
However the truth is that the local Red Cross Society of China said that 70 percent of the school buildings had collapsed in the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, an area the size of South Korea that has a population of 350,000.
CNN also reported that “Tens of Thousands of survivors are requesting President Hu Jintao & Premier Wen Jiabaoto to allow His Holiness The Dalai Lama to visit the Quake zone to conduct the funerals for thousands of Tibetans who lost their lives, to pray for the departed souls and to provide solace to the broken hearts.”
Tenzin Choeying, the National Director of SFT India, he stated that “This Earthquake was disastrous and it was not only because of the collective past Karma but it was also due to the Nomadic resettlement from ‘tents’ to poorly built housing which was implemented by the Chinese Government in the past decades. Geographically, this region was an earthquake prone zone where the tectonic plates were vulnerable.
Here at the THC we have held prayers, candle light vigils and moments of silence. For each week anniversary of the earth quake we have had an event in honor of those who have passed and those who are still suffering as a result of the earth quakes damage.
How you can volunteer:
Interested in volunteering with the THC? The THC is a completely youth run organization and is full of creative, fun and energetic minds! There are always volunteer opportunities here at the THC for both long and short term visitors to Dharamsala. Regardless of your personal English skills we are always looking for volunteers to help with our conversation classes (M-F, 4:30-6:00pm). Volunteers and students alike learn from and enjoy these classes. We also could use volunteers to help us write this newsletter. Any skills or talents you can offer will most assuredly be utilized here at the THC. Please come visit us!
(Your support can make a difference)