Tutors for Tibetans is dedicated to providing tutors, classrooms, and basic school supplies as well as clean water and nutritious meals to the Tibetan children who currently live in the nine refugee camps around Drepung Loseling Monastery in Mundgod, South India.
Since the 1970’s, when the monastery and the first camps were established, the Tibetan community has struggled to provide their children the traditional education they need to understand their distinguished heritage. Even though CST (Center Schools for Tibetans) has taken over the educative process of refugees, the predicament has become critical. The widespread poverty among refugee families has even further exacerbated the situation, as financial need forces parents to leave their children for weeks and months at a time, depriving them of the invaluable and irreplaceable living experience of their heritage. As family life in many cases provides the only reliable source of authentic cultural transmission, young Tibetans suffer an even greater poverty than their parents – an inner poverty of their own identity and way of life. While this situation is urgent in India, it also exists among Tibetan refugees worldwide, and especially in America. The very survival of Tibetan culture is at stake.
Recognizing this need, and inspired by their experiences in The TEXT Project, an oral history study-abroad program of Tibetan cultural preservation at the University of Arkansas, several students shared the common vision of Tutors for Tibetans. Together with Geshe Thupten Dorjee and Professor Sydney Burris, select students began work both here and in the refugee camps abroad, and continue to provide the lion’s share of the hands-on work necessary to ensure the program’s success. However, the greatest need is for infrastructure and regular on-site tutors, for it is they who daily work with the children both during and after school, helping reinforce their cultural identity, and devoting individual counsel and academic attention to the children who need it. Early reports indicate that our initial efforts have greatly improved the quality of education that the children are receiving, and the teachers are deeply grateful for our help. However, more funds are needed, for our ultimate goal is to provide classrooms, supplies for all nine camps, and 18 on-going tutors to serve our 2,000+ students outside the monastery and nunnery.
We believe that helping others help themselves should be a vital part of any student’s education in the 21st century, and that our greatest fulfillment comes through compassionate service. If you share this vision, your generous and most appreciated support will truly be of benefit to many. Thank you. Geshe Thupten Dorjee