TCEF reached an incredible milestone this year – 1,000 combined new sponsorship connections! So many people, including Jennifer Prugh, the current TCEF president, helped us achieve this – but I want to dedicate this milestone to India Supera, who started it all.
Ever since we first arrived in exile in 1959, the individual sponsorship of children’s education has been a model that worked well for us Tibetans. I’ve shared my story of how five Danish aunties ‘sponsored’ by early education and how that baton of kindness was later passed on to a Swiss gentleman who saw me through high school. So when India, VJ, and the other folks around the Feathered Pipe Foundation in Montana started helping the Tibetans, it was through this model. Later, when TCEF grew, we added the sponsorship program to help Tibetan elders in need. This milestone of 1,000 combined sponsorship connections includes both children and elders.
TCEF reached this milestone/landmark in our 28th year of service. This was possible because of sustained support and kindness from key board members, sponsors, and donors. I’m genuinely proud of the work we’ve been able to do – but at some level, more than our work or achievements – TCEF’s story is inspirational as it highlights that people still support the Tibetan cause – that they keep us in their hearts, and that they put the money in where their hearts are!
Having worked for TCEF for over twenty years, I know many of the sponsors personally and can write a long chapter on the incredible kindness and generosity of these folks – some of whom I’ve known for many years. Yes, some sponsor a child with the inspiration to change someone’s life; others adopt an elder as an act of genuine compassion. But underlying everything is their empathy and love for the Tibetans and their culture. So, while we feel proud of our sustained focus on reaching this milestone – the overarching messages are of gratitude and inspiration – gratitude to everyone who was a part of 1000 sponsorships – and inspiration in knowing that people still care for Tibet and Tibetan causes.