By Tenzin Sangmo
Exile Creations Pvt. Ltd. in July 2017. Photo by Tenzin Sangmo
DHARAMSHALA, October 25: The winner of the Rupees 1 Crore Youth Employment for Tibetans initiative’ (YETI) Grand Challenge 2009 Kalden Choephel of Padma Jewel said he felt that their efforts over the years have been acknowledged and that the feeling was accompanied by the weight of responsibility involved in continuing to do work that creates social impact.
Operating in Dekyiling Tibetan settlement in Dehradun, Padma Jewels, better known as Exile Creations makes high-quality lamp-work glass jewelry and handicraft by employing young Tibetans.
It currently has 32 full-time employees and is one of the leading suppliers of handmade glass beads in Europe and America. In total it has seen about 70 employees so far, many of whom left in the ongoing wave of Tibetan migration to the Western countries.
“We train the employees and as they become skilled over time, they become an asset for us but most of them are caught up in leaving for western countries,” said Kalden.
He added that one of their primary motives is to employ the young Tibetans.
43 business enterprises in Tibetan exile submitted their proposals for the grand prize that amounts to $142,780 USD. The proposals were vetted in three rounds by different experts that finally chose Padma Jewels as the winner. Other notable businesses shortlisted in the final round include Norbulingka institute and Third Pole.
Kalden Choephel and Ngawang Tsultrim founded Exile Creations Private Limited in May 2012 and said the name was derived from the status of Tibetans in India.
The duo now plan to incorporate more traditional Tibetan jewellery design in the products and revive such designs by working with the remaining few experts in the field.
The one Crore grant is set to be released in three instalments over a period of three years as the company works to satisfy the expectations set by the organizer.
The Tibet Innovations in collaboration with Tibetan Entrepreneurship Development (TED), Department of Finance, CTA and Tibet House Trust, London launched the YETI challenge initiative to create employment for Tibetan youths and to financially support new Tibetan entrepreneurs who wish to develop a sustainable business that would enhance the viability of the Tibetans settlements.
The duo through their network of experts had helped fix water issues in Dekyiling settlement and other related issues in the larger Tibetan community over the years.