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Rabgey family honoured with ‘Meritorious Service Cross’ in Canada

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The Rabgey Family with Canada's Governor General in Ottawa on December 7, 2023 (Photo/

By Tsering Dhundup

DHARAMSHALA, March 4: The respected Tibetan-Canadian Rabgey family based in Lindsay, Ontario, was awarded the ‘Meritorious Service Cross’ by Canada’s Governor General, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon in Ottawa, Canada on December 7.

Phuntsok (Pencho) Rabgey, Tsering Dolker Rabgey, Dr Losang Rabgey, and Dr Tashi Rabgey were awarded the civilian award for their dedication to the service and empowerment of Tibetan communities in Tibet. Their contributions included the establishment of Machik—an organization that garnered support within the local community of Lindsay, Ontario, and among the Tibetan diaspora in North America.

The story of Machik traces back to the late 1990s when retired factory worker Phuntsok “Pencho” Rabgey answered a call to build a primary school in Lithang, Kham. Alongside his wife Tsering, they invested their retirement savings to kickstart the project.

In 2002, Machik successfully opened the Chungba Primary School with the support of social entrepreneur Chris Walter and the Litang County Bureau of Education in Sichuan with 210 students, marking a milestone in rural Tibetan education. The school’s remarkable achievements, including securing the top position among 53 schools in the County, challenged stereotypes and inspired hope for the potential of Tibetan children.

Over the years, Machik’s endeavours expanded, fuelled by its commitment to local empowerment and cultural preservation. Their work, characterized by grassroots efforts and partnerships, has become a beacon of hope for Tibetan communities, garnering support from volunteers, partners, and supporters worldwide.

The Meritorious Service Decorations (Civil Division), created by Queen Elizabeth II, aims to recognise outstanding Canadians for their exceptional deeds that bring honour to the country. It acknowledges activities or deeds that are innovative, set an example for others, or improve the quality of life in a community. This distinction, part of the Canadian Honors System, stands as one of the highest accolades a Canadian civilian can receive.

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