Friends of Tibetan Settlements in India

Friends of Tibetan Settlements in India

FOTSI

Friends of Tibetan Settlements in India (FOTSI) aids Tibetan refugees and projects in resettlement (refugee) areas in India. Health and educational needs are priorities. Currently most work is in the Mundgod (Doeguling), and Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlements in Karnataka State, India. FOTSI is a fully tax-exempt non-profit organization (501(c)(3)) incorporated in the state of Colorado. The project is directed by Chela Kunasz, President, and the FOTSI Board of Directors. The best source of information on our latest work are our latest newsletters and collage of color photos below.

All donations to this project are tax-deductible. All donated funds go directly to the people and projects in Tibetan Settlements in India as described below and none are used for overhead unless this is specifically requested or allowed by the donor. As we grow, we do truly need donations to help with our expenses, so we also request such donations. However, this is the donor's decision, and funds donated explicitly for projects and sponsorships are given in total to them.

Opportunities exist for medical professionals to do short-term work in the Doeguling (Mundgod) settlement. Volunteers are not paid and must fund their own travel and living expenses, although housing is usually supplied. Also, a special "Protected Area Permit" is required for non-Indian volunteers, and these require as much as 6 months to obtain, so plans must be made far in advance of any trip to this settlement. Please send email to the contact at the bottom of this page if interested in such work.

CURRENT PROJECTS
  • Drepung Gomang School (Mundgod)
  • Aid for Needy Tibetans: Sponsors,Students,Aid,Etc. (Mundgod)
  • Jangchub Choeling Nunnery - Sponsorship, Medical Aid
  • Monk Sponsorship, Community Services (Mundgod)
  • Monks' Health and Emergency Funds (Mundgod)
  • Hospitals (Mundgod, Bylakuppe)
  • Tibetan SOS Children's Village (Bylakuppe)
  • Special Projects - Donor Efforts

  • Links for Tibet and References in our Page
  • RECOGNITION AND ENDORSEMENTS
  • Award from Tibetan Government-in- Exile
  • Endorsement from Author/Lecturer Dr. Huston Smith
  • NEWS LETTERS
  • FOTSI Photo Collage Current (for viewing), 2015-2016
  • FOTSI Photo Collage Current (for printing), 300dpi, 6MB), 2015-2016
  • 2015-2016 Newsletter (Current),23 pages good resolution (Adobe .pdf, 20 MB)
  • 2015-2016 Newsletter (Current),23 pages,small file, photos less clear (4 MB)
  • FOTSI Photo Collage (for viewing), 2014-2015
  • FOTSI Photo Collage (for printing), 300dpi, 7MB), 2014-2015
  • 2014-2015 Newsletter, 25 pages (Adobe .pdf, 21 MB)
  • FOTSI Photo Collage (for viewing), 2013-2014
  • FOTSI Photo Collage (for printing), 300dpi, 7MB), 2013-2014
  • 2013-2014 Newsletter, 25 pages (Adobe .pdf, 22 MB)
  • FOTSI Photo Collage (for viewing), 2012-2013
  • FOTSI Photo Collage (for printing), 300dpi, 7MB), 2012-2013
  • 2012-2013 Newsletter, 25 pages (Adobe Acrobat Format 24 MB)
  • FOTSI Photo Collage (for viewing), 2011-2012
  • FOTSI Photo Collage (for printing), 300dpi, 7MB), 2011-2012
  • 2011-2012 Newsletter, 25 pages (Adobe Acrobat Format 20 MB)
  • FOTSI Photo Collage (for viewing), 2010-2011
  • FOTSI Photo Collage (for printing, 300dpi, 7MB), 2010-2011
  • 2010-2011 Newsletter, 27 pages (Adobe Acrobat Format 27 MB)
  • FOTSI Photo Collage (for viewing), 2009-2010
  • FOTSI Photo Collage (for printing, 300dpi, 7MB), 2009-2010
  • 2009-2010 Newsletter, 27 pages (Adobe Acrobat Format 23 MB)
  • FOTSI Photo Collage (for viewing), 2008-2009
  • FOTSI Photo Collage (for printing, 300dpi, 7MB), 2008-2009
  • 2008-2009 Newsletter, 25 pages (Adobe Acrobat Format 24 MB)
  • FOTSI Photo Collage (for viewing), 2007-2008
  • 2007-2008 Newsletter (Adobe Acrobat Format 11.9MB)
  • FOTSI Photo Collage (2006-2007)
  • 2006-2007 Newsletter (Adobe Acrobat Format 4.9MB)
  • FOTSI Photo Collage (2005-2006)
  • 2005-2006 Newsletter (Adobe Acrobat Format 16.4MB)
  • FOTSI Photo Collage (2004-2005)
  • 2004-2005 Newsletter (Adobe Acrobat Format 192KB)
  • FOTSI Photo Collage (2003-2004)
  • 2003-2004 Newsletter (Adobe Acrobat Format 148KB)
  • FOTSI Photo Collage (2002-2003)
  • 2002-2003 Newsletter (Adobe Acrobat Format 92KB)


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  • PROJECT DETAILS
    DREPUNG GOMANG SCHOOL: A monastery school less funded than many other lay and monastic schools. At this school orphaned or impoverished boys find a home and are trained in the ancient traditions of the Tibetan Gelukpa tradition. Some boys return to their relatives in India (e.g. Ladakh, Zanskar, Assam), Tibet, and Nepal as laymen, while others go on to become monks and lamas serving the Tibetan and world community in various capacities. Some students at this school have had very difficult and frightening experiences escaping from Tibet. Lately 200 needy Mongolian students have also been accepted into this school with the permission of the Indian Government.


    The children study Tibetan reading and writing, debating, English, social studies, math, science, and the traditions and texts of Tibetan Buddhism and the Drepung Gomang Monastery. There is a summer program that emphasizes Tibetan language, culture, and religion, the helps the exiled Tibetan children hang onto their culture, and frees up time for elders who care for them during the summer. There are nearly 400 students in this school, not counting summer pupils. One time general donations, periodic donations, and sponsorships of students and teachers are all much needed. Our continuing contributions have provided desks, medicines, vitamins, food, and basic supplies. We've shipped bags of school books to the School over the years, bought ceiling fans, desks, and a computer and related equipment. We've paid for ear and tonsil operations, eye exams and glasses, and dentistry. We're trying to ensure that all students get regular health checkups. We seek general funds, and support for teachers (this is especially needed). A regular $45/quarter donation helps all school students and the community. This year all aid for this school is a high priority! Support is sent quarterly, bi-annually, or annually. We are the only organization specifically aiding this school at this time.



    Ear Surgery Lots of Glasses


    Communicating with Sponsors


    Summer Students Winter Students


    School is Fun! Thanks for the Help!
    wheel of Dharma

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    AID FOR NEEDY TIBETANS: This project started a few years ago when we found a sponsor for an especially needy crippled child who had had polio. This girl has had 5 operations, went on to do well at the TCV School in Bylakuppe, and now has a Masters Degree and a job. Since that first sponsorship, this project has grown to include sponsorship of old people, children, and others who have been selected by a representative process in the Mundgod settlement (known as Doeguling by the Tibetans). Tibetans in the camp work on community projects, such as the Home for the Elderly, so they contribute a lot towards helping each other, and thus make donated funds stretch amazingly. Only especially needy people, chosen by the community, are sponsored, so that a "welfare state" is not encouraged. Sponsorships for individuals in this program are $10.00/month sent quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. We have also created a Scholarship Fund that helps needy Tibetan High School graduates continue their education. Recently this program has been renewed so has to give larger scholarships, especially to girls attending nursing colleges. This is now one of our major projects. Many of our Tibetan nursing college graduates are now working in hospitals in New Delhi, Belgaum, Dharamsala, and other Indian cities. One is working in a nursing home in the USA. We used to fund a Self-Sufficiency Fund that purchased cows, sewing machines, vendor stalls and other things to help families support themselves. But the Tibetans have requested that we use all possible funds for collage and nursing school scholarships. There is an Emergency Fund to help with special short-term needs. We are the only group in the world helping with emergency aid to the most destitute residents of this Tibetan Settlement. We help crippled residents with canes and crutches, and with food and medical treatment. We especially try to deal with issues of community-wide importance, such as antibiotic resistant TB, HIV acquired by men coming back from the Indian Army, and mental illness. All of these funds are dispensed in the Mundgod Tibetan resettlement area through the Office of the Tibetan Government in Exile, called "The Office of the Representative" in Mundgod (ORM) with the participation of many members of the community. We have provided major funding for a conversion from wood-burning to propane-burning in the kitchen of the Home for the Elderly and solar panels for emergency lighting in their special care wing, which we also helped rebuild. This facility supports hundreds of elderly people who have no support, due to losing relatives directly due to Tibet's invasion or due to relatives' own difficulties as refugees. Sponsorships for elders is $10.00/month, paid quarterly, biannually, or yearly. Those wishing to make periodic donations or one-time contributions instead of sponsorships support the above Funds and general aid projects. These fund donations the neediest get assistance when they most need it.

    Special Projects currently include sending funds to buy extra food for the young people in the Central School for Tibetans (CST) Hostel in Mundgod through the Tibetan Children's Education and Welfare Fund (TCEWF) of the Department of Education of the Tibetan Government in Exile, doing small rebuilding projects in special cases in the Mundgod Tibetan Settlement, and helping the Dre-Gomang School replace and repair their washrooms and toilets. We are eager for donations for these special projects.

    Recently, we completed our projects to buy computers for the Office of the Representative of HH the Dalai Lama in Mundggod and the (Tibetan) Legislative Assembly in Mundgod, and to raise funds for a generator for the Dre-Gomang School. Both the computers and the generator were purchased and are in operation.



    At Nursury School With Grandma My Pretty Dress


    Cows Bring Milk, Income, Smiles


    Nursing Student College Student Elderly Home Resident
    A FOTSI Nursing Student at Work


    Central Tibetan School Performance Costumes




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    wheel of Dharma
    JANGCHUB CHOELING NUNNERY: A growing nunnery with over 250 residents providing a home and education to Tibetan refugee nuns, as well as younger girls with nowhere else to go. These women want to continue the Tibetan monastic traditions and to follow the example of the Dalai Lama and the great female teachers in the Tibetan tradition. Donations of funds for medical needs and sponsorships are both possible. We send funds to pay for dentistry, medical treatments, medicines, and surgeries. Recently we've helped nuns save or improve their hearing, and we have assisted other nuns to get treatments for broken bones, ulcers, a hernia, serious sinus infections, a brain lesion due to an accident, etc. We've banded together with other Tibet Aid groups such as TibetHelp (Denmark) to do operations, such as when we funded ear operations to save nun Lobsang Wangmo's hearing. We have sponsored a program of eye examinations with follow-up treatment for eye disease and provision of glasses for all the nuns in this nunnery. Several of the nuns know English and provide better communication than was previously possible. Sponsorship level is $100/year, a level requested by the nuns so that more nuns can be helped, with extra funds going to help the medical needs of all the nuns. Since we help these nuns in a major way with their medical emergencies, we are always eager for one- time or periodic donations to the Medical Fund for the Jangchub Choeling Nunnery. We also send the nuns some aid which they dispense to needy Tibetans in their community, especially women. Other aid groups help supply basic housing and food, so our help goes for the other needs and that is why sponsorship cost is not high. For a while we helped the more than sixty Tibetan nuns who had arrived at the nunnery and were living in abandoned rooms of the Home for the Elderly in Village #3 in Mundgod while they waited for formal admission, which could only happen when a room in the main nunnery building opened up. After that we have sent thousands of dollars. Donations towards housing upkeep are still needed and most welcome! See the newsletters clickable on this website for more information.


    Chela with Nun Patients Ani Thubten with Ailing Nun


    Eye Exams at Jangchub Choeling Gyaltsen's Eyes Say Softly, "Thank You"


    Lobsang's Recovering from Brain Lesions L. Wangmo Thanks FOTSI & TibetHelp




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    Drepung Gomang Monastery

    SPONSORSHIP OF MONKS/
    DREPUNG GOMANG MONASTERY PROJECTS:
    This is the oldest of our projects. The strong individual connection with refugees who have health problems and other needs has been very rewarding for us. Several sponsors have gone to India to meet their sponsored monks and have been moved by their meeting and involvement with people from a different world. Our funds have helped reduce the health problems and other major difficulties of monks arriving from Tibet, many of whom have suffered much. Funds are often shared in living groups or with others, such as parents. Most letters we receive are in English, but replies in Tibetan can be translated and are interesting to receive. Sponsorships are usually $15/month, but can range from $7.50/month to $20/month depending on the situation of the monk and the abilities of donors.

    The Drepung Gomang Monastery has also served the Tibetan refugee community in the settlement in many ways. They have planted a vegetable garden and tree plantation, a project which has been funded by several donors, most especially the Tibetan Blues Bash Project which raised funds via Blues Concerts benefiting this and other efforts for Tibetans. In 2003 there was a dangerous fire in the coconut tree plantation due to an accident. Now the trees are doing much better and it turns out the losses were only superficial. This monastery runs a summer school on Tibetan culture open to children of the entire settlement. They serve the community with a major clinic and dispensary that is heavily used and serves the entire refugee community as does the DTR Hospital (see below). In particular we sometimes send funds to help provide regular health checkups and medical assistance for elderly monks, many of whom have not had sufficient access and to good regular care. Contributions can be made to the Monastery itself or towards specific projects such as those mentioned. . We also help monks at some other monasteries in Mundgod. Below we show a photo (at Manipal Hospital in Bangalore) of a young monk who escaped from Tibet and needed 6 surgeries post a yak encounter in Tibet which destroyed his eye. He is one of our sponsored monks from another monastery in Mundgod. Donations can also be sent by those wishing to have prayers said for relatives and friends.



    Some of our sponsored monks
    Lobsang 2001 Lobsang 2003 Luthar Jan. 2003 Luthar July 2003


    FOTSI helps the monks help
    Tashi Dorje with patient Vegetable Garden Coconut Tree Plantation



    Other Stories
    Monk Patient at Manipal Hospital, Bangalore Monk whose life we helped save

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    MONKS' HEALTH AND EMERGENCY FUNDS: One of our first projects, the Gungru Khangtsen Health and Emergency Fund, is an innovative effort aimed at emergency medical help, health education, and sanitation within the Drepung Gomang Monastery. A group of monks formed a committee with elected members managing and keeping records on members' health problems. Funds help with emergencies, special needs of TB patients and other medical needs for which there is no other source to turn. Records help to identify problems and serve a preventative as well as financial purpose. Younger monks gain administrative experience and all are more focused on health issues. Lives have been saved with this program, which was started by a Tibetan monk whose brother died due to lack of available funds and a plan for such emergencies.

    Early on, we focused on those with ulcers due to infection by the Helicobacter Pylori bacteria. We have funded the cure of ulcers of monks in this group as well as those in other monasteries and nuns in the nunnery. Our work uncovered the fact that the hospital had acquired defective and harmful batches of the antibiotic Amoxicillin through an Indian supplier who turned out to be getting medicine from mainland China. Fortunately the same medicine from another supplier was excellent. As a result of our work, the hospital's supply of this critical drug, used for many diseases, including TB, was cleansed of the faulty product. We work closely with the Doeguling Resettlement Hospital on health issues, but also fund necessary treatments at more distant medical facilities when this is required. We helped a leprosy patient who has recovered, many tuberculosis patients, and many with skin diseases. We have helped pay for surgeries. Some recent refugees have no immunity to virulent skin ailments which attack them in the hot south of India where the biggest settlements are. Donations to the Gungru Khangtsen Health and Emergency Fund are crucial and can be either one-time or periodic. These provide help when most needed as well as general assistance with prevention and hygiene.

    We now also aid Tibetan monks from other monasteries in Mundgod as well as various groups within Drepung Monastery by funding a General Monks' Emergency Fund. See more about all the monks we have helped in our annual newsletters linked to this near the beginning of the webpage.


    Help for Tibetan Refugee Monks
    Blood Pressure Problems Leprosy Patient Painful Skin Diseases


    TB Patient, Isolation Ward 2001 Same Patient, Greatly Recovered 2002 Back Surgery

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    wheel of Dharma

    HOSPITALS:

    The Doeguling Tibetan Resettlement Hospital (DTR), provides sliding scale, inexpensive medical and dental aid to 18,000 Tibetans as well as local Indians seeking help. This hospital has a central site as well as out-patient clinics in the separate villages of Mundgod that dispense treatment and health education. In the past, our funds were used to install mosquito screens, construct doors for the Women's ward, assist with video health education projects, essential staff needs, women's needs, and emergencies not otherwise covered. In 2005 we funded a complete re-build of the Doeguling Tibetan Resettlement (DTR) hospital's bathrooms and shower facilities as well as 3 large outdoor solar lighting fixtures to make the area safer at night. In 2006 we sent a good quality otoscope to the DTR to help with ear exams. In recent years we have given funds to help some of the poorest patients.

    We were especially honored to have helped Mr. Tenpa TK, who worked so hard improving many hospitals, including the DTR at Mundgod, Tso-Jhe Khangsar at Bylakuppe, and Dhondenling Van Thiel at Kollegal. We started helping him years ago when he was first at the DTR Hospital. Below we show how many of the rooms looked before he came to the DTR Hospital, and after. We personally took these photos and saw the changes. Tenpa made special efforts on behalf of women employees (strong support of education and hiring of women for jobs such as hygenist, lab technician, dentist, etc. as well as traditional nursing jobs) and supported women patients and their special needs. After working to improve the Bylakuppe and Kollegal Hospitals Tenpa returned to the DTR Hospital, where he again worked hard on upgrades and community programs. Later he turned hospital management over to others and worked as a local community leader and administered his Kharyak Charitable Society (KCS) which aided poor patients and helped young people get the higher education so many want but find out of reach. Through KCS FOTSI and others have aided Tibetan women studying to be doctors, nurses, engineers, and computer scientists. Together we also aided a young man from an extremely poor, illiterate family go to college in business. Mr. Tenpa also worked with the (Richard) Gere Foundation to assist that group in helping seriously ill and needy Tibetan monks and nuns get medical care for major problems. Working with Mr. Tenpa TK allowed us to apply ourselves to unmet, current needs.

    When Mr. Tenpa TK was at the Tso-Jhe Khangsar Hospital in the Bylakuppe settlement, we helped him buy sterilization equipment and we began and continue to support the Tso-Jhe Hospital's Tashilunpo Clinic. After that we sent funds to help Mr. Tenpa continue his great work improving the facilities at Dhondenling Van Thiel Hospital in the Kollegal settlement, where he was stationed for a time. A number of hard-working support groups (including FOTSI) have helped fund the wonderful work shown below. Unfortunately, Mr. Tenpa TK passed away unexpectedly in May, 2010. We will continue the type of work we started with him and are supporting those students who are in the midst of their students when this happened. We also work directly with the DTR Hospital. The Kharyak Charitable Society ceased operations in 2011 as without Mr. Tenpa TK, his wife, who is a Tibetan Medical doctor, did not have the time to continue to run it and file the required Indian Government reports in addition to her medical work. Any donations for helping students and needy patients is always welcome and continues to be used well, in memory of Mr. Tenpa TK. We continue help to students and patients through several other avenues described on this webpage.


    DTR Hospital Room Before DTR Hospital Room After


    Tibetan DentalHygenist Tibetan Lab Technician
    Old Toilets New Outdoor Solar Lamp Re-done Toilet


    Mr. Tenpa TK and Children Tso-Jhe Khangsar Hospital


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    TIBETAN CHILDREN'S VILLAGE (Bylakuppe, Suja, and Gopalpur): The Tibetan SOS Children's Villages in India, serve thousands of Tibetan children (about half boys and half girls) from primary to 12th grade in a Montessori style education system which emphasize either a "commerce stream" or a “science stream” in the last 2 grades. These choices serve students who are interested in business, the arts, medicine, and other fields. We sponsor a boy currently at Suja School, and help another at Gopalpur. We send general funds of varying amounts to the Bylakuppe School. In the past we have sponsored a number of children at the Bylakuppe School. This school is a boarding school and is especially suited for and intended for recent escapees from Tibet, children with special needs (such as former polio patients), and orphans or children from dysfunctional homes. One of our previously sponsored TCV students has just entered Madras Christian College where he is majoring in physics! He is now one of the students we are helping with a college scholarship. We have specialized in helping children we find through our work in the Mundgod settlement. These are children the community feels really need the special care given by TCV's "homes" in which young children live with Tibetan "home-parents". Older students live in a boarding school environment which is also run like a family. This is a wonderful way to change a child's life and offer a priceless chance for a good education. Sponsorship of a child at any of the TCV branches is $360 per year, sent bi-annually. See the TCV School webpage listed under "Links" on this website for more information.


    "Some of the Students FOTSI Has Helped"

    VARIOUS ACTIVITIES:Special projects included work connected with our grant for "Leadership for Young Tibetans", Fund-Raising Workshops, and innovative Donor Initiatives. The Mediators Foundation gave us a grant in 2007 to help develop young Tibetan leaders. This project helped FOTSI team with some new Tibetan leaders to fund a generator to run the water pump in Camp #6 in the Mundgod Settlement, to purchase computer equipment and a digital camera for the Tibetan Women's Association in Mundgod, and to bring attention to the problems of loans in Mundgod. For more of what this leadership grant has produced, see our Newsletter Reports for 2007-8 and 2008-9. Later, we paid for a duplex copier for the Mundgod Legislative Assembly, to help them deal with communication within the camp and also with the Tibetan Government in Exile in Dharamsala. A major goal of ours is to support the development of young Tibetan leaders among the lay people, monks, and nuns in Tibetan Settlements. See more about our Leadership work in the 2009-10 newsletter.

    Recently we teamed with the Tibetan monk who leads one of the smaller, poorer living groups at the Drepung Gomang Monastery. We raised funds and they also raised funds themselves (with a booth at festivities during teachings of HH the Dalai Lama in India) to purchase a new large water tank for their living group plus some sanitary facilities. The tank replaced one on their roof that was made of cement and leaking in a very problematic way, threatening their building. The monks consulted a number of local sources and contractors to finally select an intelligent and affordable solution to their problems. See our 2011-2012 newsletter.

    See more about our continuing special projects in our latest newsletters.

    HELP FROM FRIENDS: Lily Organics is a wonderful, environmentally sensitive company that produces healing oils and essences, in some cases working with endangered ethnic groups to produce these. This company has sponsored 5 Tibetan families for a long time and has helped with many other projects, most recently our refugee nuns' building project. See the Lily website listed below under Links.

    Fox Magdovitz of Boulder Integrative Massage has helped FOTSI for years in many ways. As a student she helped usher a FOTSI event, and later she helped us address envelopes, write receipts, etc. She has long sponsored a monk in the Tibetan settlement. She was key to our receiving our first "leadership training" funds, which we were granted by the Mediators' Foundation. See her website listed below under Links.

    One of our FOTSI donors obtained glucose meters to help needy Tibetans monitor diabetes and a means of transport to India via Medical Expeditions International. Others helped us obtain an otoscope for the DTR Hospital and get it there. Many have helped.

    We have especially benefited from the unpaid help we get from many Tibetans in the camps to run our programs. Some are employees of schools or organizations while others are not. All of our special helpers have assisted our projects either without pay or beyond the call of duty. None are paid salaries by us. We are grateful for all of these efforts. Please see details in our recent newsletters and the Links section of this page for more on these and other topics.


    "Glucose Meters and Otoscope Sent to Mundgod"


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    ENDORSEMENTS:
    TIBETAN GOVERNMENT-IN-EXILE AWARD: FOTSI has been given an award of recognition and appreciation for its efforts in social welfare for Tibetan refugees.


    ENDORSEMENTS:
    ENDORSEMENT AND ENCOURAGEMENT FROM DR. HUSTON SMITH: FOTSI has received a letter of endorsement and support from writer/lecturer/educator Dr. Huston Smith.(Click for more about Huston Smith



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    CONTACT

    For more information,
    please use the email address below to contact:

    Chela Kunasz
    chela@colorado.edu

    Please note that Chela goes to India for direct work with the Tibetans, so sometimes, between late October and early March, for example, we may not be able to respond quickly to email. Do give us a try though and we will respond as soon as we can. Thank you so much for your interest in helping Tibetan refugees!



    LINKS
  • Tibetan Government in Exile Official Website
  • Central Tibetan Relief Committee Website
  • Drepung Gomang Monastery Home Page
  • Tibetan Children's Villages in India
  • International Campaign For Tibet
  • Pennies for Partnerships
  • Tibet Online
  • Dr. Huston Smith Web Site
  • Boulder Integrative Massage
  • Lily Farm Fresh Skin Care
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    Last Updated: 03-08-2017
    WebMaster: Chela Kunasz chela@colorado.edu