We are so happy to announce that a shipment of books has successfully arrived at the “oasis in the desert,” India’s most remote Tibetan Children’s Village near Leh, Ladakh, in the northern province of Jammu-Kashmir.
The mountainous region is known as “Little Tibet” because of the great influx of Tibetan Buddhists crossing the border as refugees into India. Children are often sent by their parents, but without them. “[W]hile some children have no living parents,” SOS Children Villages explains, “others have parents who are in Tibet, autonomous region of China, in other locations throughout India, or even further away.” All the children at TCV Ladakh have thus lost parental care.
This marks yet another collaboration between Snowlion and the wonderful Tibetan Children’s Village, an organization that operates in part thanks to SOS-Kinderdorf International. With the season of thanks upon us, we wanted to extend our gratitude to its founder, the inspirational Hermann Gmeiner (1919-1986).
Struck by the horrors of World War II, both as a soldier and a child welfare worker met with the suffering of homeless children and war orphans, Hermann created an organization dedicated to providing destitute, orphaned and otherwise abandoned children with a permanent family structure. Founded in 1949, today SOS provides loving new homes for over 60,000 children all over the world.
A typical village is made up of ten to forty homes, each housing around ten children under the care of an SOS mother. At TCV Ladakh, the number of children runs higher than average. “Due to the great number of children who have lost parental care,” the website reads, “families may have up to thirty members and sometimes even more. In order to allow the mothers to spend more time looking after the needs of the children, all the meals are prepared at a central kitchen and then distributed to the families.”
TCV Ladakh includes a kindergarten, primary and secondary schools, a Medical Centre and a Vocational Training Center with courses in arts and crafts. There’s also a library, which we’ve now contributed to.
“We have some amount of Tibetan books,” TCV Ladakh’s librarian Dorjee Wangdue wrote to us via our Snowlion site, “but most of them are teacher’s reference books and religious books. Students hardly get storybooks in Tibetan.”
Hence Snowlion’s mission. We continue to do our best to bridge the storybook gap and fill bookshelves throughout the Tibetan refugee community. Thank you to Dorjee Wangdue for reaching out to us, and Hermann Gmeiner, HH the Dalai Lama and all the SOS moms and family members for making our mission possible. Hermann started with one Children’s Village; today, there are 135 across the world. In the words of HH the Dalai Lama:
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”