By Tenzin Choephel
Kathmandu, January 25 - Ex-Mussoorie Student’s Association received 20 students from Tibetan Homes Foundation (THF) Mussoorie and Rajpur for one month vacation in Kathmandu this morning under their annual ‘Home away from Home’ project. The students aged from 10-14 were received by Tsering Rhitar La, the president of the association, all of them don’t have home in India or Nepal and have never gone on vacation for over three years but today they were excited and happy to be on a vacation. The students were distributed to families of the members of the association and a couple of Tibetan volunteers who came forward to provide accommodation to one or two students in their family during their stay and make them feel at home.
Besides staying with different families, the association would provide pocket money, take them together for shopping, tours and picnics to various places in Kathmandu Valley and this year they would also celebrate Losar (Tibetan New Year) with their new Tibetan family. Mr. Buchung La, a staff of Homes brought the students to Kathmandu, according to him there are over 600 students in Tibetans Homes Foundation who have no place to go for vacation and stay in the school while their fellow school mates leave home for vacation during winter months, a majority of them are from Tibet, they either don’t have parents or their parents could not afford to come and see them; the school also try to take them on educational tours and picnics, those who are here have been selected randomly by home parents of THF.
Tibetans in Tibet send their young children to India because in Tibet they either could not afford to send their children to school or children don’t get opportunity to learn their Tibetan language and culture under the Chinese rule; children go to India via Nepal and then they are send to different schools of TCV (Tibetan Children’s Village) and Tibetan Homes Foundation where they receive free education and get opportunity to learn their language and culture.
Mr. Pema La, an executive of the association who have worked for THF for over 17 years said that this is the second year they are running the project, last year they were able to receive ten students only but this year they have received 20 students, a major part of the fund was raised from screening of movie ‘Karma’ by Tsering Rhitar La and they would like to thank all those who have supported this project, he added that, “we grew eating tingmo and dal (Tibetan steam bread and lentil soup) by the grace of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, now we are all settled and it is time for us to give something back to our society, so we came up with this project and I hope this would encourage other Tibetans to do similar things”.
One of the volunteers Mr. Phenpo Gyaltsen La, who took care of two students was very happy; he appreciated the project and thanked all executive members for giving their valuable time for such an admirable project. Mr. Tenzin Wangdu La, who went to US and Canada for screening of movie ‘Karma’ thanked all the viewers and supporters.
Sonam Dugyal, an eleven years old boy studies in grade four at THF, he originally came from Purang, Tibet in 2004 at the age of nine, since then he has never seen his parents and he never went to vacation but today he was very happy. Tsering Dolma 10 and her younger brother came from Chone County of Amdo Region, Tibet in 2004 and joined THF, she said, “I remember my only father in Tibet but I am happy at Homes and I happy to be on vacation here”.
Lobsang Dhondup 12, originally from Lhasa city in Tibet is now studying in THF Rajpur, he came from Tibet in 2002 and stayed in Mussorie for 2 years and then was sent to Rajpur, he never went on vacation for all these years, he never saw his parents for all these years, while asking whether he remembers his parents, his eyes were full of tears, he bowed down sobbing and could not talk.