TIBETAN CHILDREN’S VILLAGE
The Tibetan Children’s Villages (TCV) is a registered, non-profit charitable organization for education and care of orphaned and destitute Tibetan children in India. From its humble beginning in 1960 with 51 refugee children, it has become a thriving educational organization in exile with branches extending from Ladakh in the north to Bylakuppe in the south. Today, TCV is an integrated community with family homes and schooling facilities to provide modern education along with a good understanding of the rich cultural heritage of Tibet in schools across India. Currently, we manage 5 children’s villages, 6 residential schools, 4 day schools, 2 vocational training centers, 3 elder people homes, 3 youth hostels, a higher studies scholarship program, an outreach sponsorship program and the Dalai Lama Institute for Higher Education (TCV college) in Bangalore reaching out to nearly 10,000 children, youth, elders and co-workers.
When His Holiness the Dalai Lama moved to Dharamsala from Mussoorie, in early 1960, it was apparent that one of the most critical needs of the refugees was to care for the many children who were orphaned or separated from their families during the arduous escape from their homeland. His Holiness recognized that the future of Tibet and its people depended on the younger generation. With this in mind and out of concern for the miserable conditions under which so many children were suffering; His Holiness at once assigned His officials to bring the children from the road construction camps to Dharamsala and entrusted the first batch of 51 children to His elder sister, the late Mrs. Tsering Dolma Takla.
The early days were marked by acute shortage of practically everything – food, clothing, medicine, accommodation and staff. Children kept pouring in from the road construction camps and places where the Tibetans had initially settled. Soon news about the work of the Nursery for Tibetan Refugee Children spread among the international aid agencies notably: The Swiss Aid to Tibetans, Save the Children Fund (UK), Norwegian Refugee Council, German Aid to Tibetans, Deutsche Welthungerhilfe and the Catholic Relief Services etc. And, of course, without the assistance of the Government of India and her great people, it would have been impossible for us to look after the thousands of children desperately in need of care and education.
The efforts in the early years were mostly directed at nourishing the sick and malnourished children and then sending them to various residential Tibetan schools set up with the aid of the Indian Government. But the time came when these residential schools could not accept any more children. The only solution for the Nursery was to widen its scope of responsibility and make provisions for school education.
Plans were at once formulated to reshape the Nursery into a fully integrated community where the children under its care would not only receive the warmth and security of a home and a mother to share with brothers and sisters, but also get a good education. To fulfill these aims and objectives, in 1972 the Nursery was formally registered as a charitable organization under the Indian Societies Act of 1960 as the Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV).
The mission that emerged for TCV and which continues to inspire us are:
- Look after the physical, mental and spiritual needs of the children
- Impart the best of modern education along with a deep understanding of the rich cultural heritage of Tibet
- Develop a sense of national pride and identity that will enable the children to share the hopes and aspirations of the Tibetan people to return to Tibet
- Help our boys and girls to become self-reliant, contributing members of our society and the larger human community