Serving the People


IMG_4325For several years TCEF did Service Trips to various sites in India. This post was written by Valerie Hellerman, TCEF Program Manager at that time, who led the trip.

In 2014, a TCEF service trip journeyed to the remote Himalayan region, Zanskar. We were invited by the Himalayan Astro Medical Society to access the health care (or lack of) in the region.
TCEF built an addition to a teahouse to serve as a small clinic in the Lungnak Valley, one of the poorest regions of Zanskar. We did health assessments, first aid and began our relationship with the Amchis, the traditional healers.
The Dalai Lama was in Zanskar at that time and we were honored to have an audience with him. He told us”You must continue this work”
Next, we found ourselves at the Zanskar Community Health Project meeting and follow up meetings with co chair Lama Geshe Yonten(Journey to Zanskar movie).
The Dalai Lama Fund granted the committee funds to build a hospital for both western Dalai Lama1-1and traditional medicnes in Padum, the district center of Zanskar. The structure is complete and the plan is to open this hospital in June 2016. The TCEF service team has been tasked with arranging the first medical camps, educating health care workers and setting up the hospital. Members of the medical service team went to India in Nov to meet with members of the committee and clarify the tasks at hand.
TCEF is teaming with the Global Midwives Education Project ( from Livingston, Montana) to educate village midwives and open maternity beds at the hospital. A longtime TCEF supporter GYN Doctor ( from Great Falls, Montana) will be doing cervical cancer screening and an Urgent Care Doctor ( from Helena, Montana) will be screening for heart problems in children and doing general health screening.
Paula Thiede, head nurse on many medical service trips is preparing curriculums based on the Indian healthcare system to teach health care workers. We are also working with Dr Kalsang a Tibetan Doctor to assure collaboration with the traditional Amchi healers.
The people here still need help.  We need to assist with purchasing some medical supplies, medications and we need to purchase a portable ultrasound to aid in the diagnosis of abdominal, heart, lung and obstetrical conditions.

IMG_4263Please consider a donation to this amazing project, supported by H.H. the Dalai Lama. Please tell your friends about this project THE NEED IS SO GREAT!

We also need donations of medical supplies ; bandages, stethescopes, BP machines, tape, thermometers, SUNGLASSES, eyeglasses, toothbrushes etc

Read more

Sponsorship Program for Elders

Grandma in Sikkim

TCEF’s Elder sponsorship program connects interested sponsors here in the West with elderly Tibetan in exile that need help to survive. Although the educational sponsorship of children will continue to be our focus because of the transformative powers of education, the grandparents’ sponsorship is also very close to our hearts. While the children are our future hope – the grandparents are our connection to the past.

Why Sponsor a Tibetan Elder?

There are several reasons why Tibetan elders in exile are most deserving of your help and compassion:

The generation of Tibetans now in their seventies and eighties have suffered great tragedies and survived many challenges. It is this generation that followed HH The Dalai Lama into exile and crossed the Himalayas into an unknown land. Many of them were nomads or farmers with no work or language skills for them to start a new life in exile. Almost all of them started their new lives in exile breaking stones by the roadside at minimum wage.

It was a great change for them from the cool plateau of Tibet into the heat and humidity of India. Many of them did not survive – victims either to tuberculosis or their new found poverty. The Tibetan grandparents for whom we seek your help are the strong ones – the survivors. Many of them have depended on the ability for hard physical labor to survive. In old age they face an insurmountable challenge and that is why we seek your support. For $35 a month, you can provide much dignity and comfort. For the elders, your sponsorship will be like winning a small lottery – an unexpected annuity just when survival seemed most distant.

Giving Warm Clothing to Elders

Tibetan families are close knit and children and grandchildren do take care of their parents and grandparents. But, in cases where elderly Tibetan do not have family, they can be very vulnerable. Tibetans in exile do not have social security or a comparable old age pension scheme. That is why it is vital that we find support for them. The sponsorship funds help to purchase food, clothing, medicine and other essentials. It may help an elderly to go on a long wished for pilgrimage.

TCEF received a special request from Gu Chu Sum, Dharamsala, to sponsor ex-political prisoners. Gu Chu Sum is an organization that is dedicated to helping Tibetan ex-political prisoners start new lives in exile. We’re honored to help knowing that these are people who have endured great pain and suffering for Tibet and its culture.

Here are all the different ways that you can help a Tibetan elder in exile that needs help:

  • Adopt an elder – Make this sponsorship your compassionate giving – your karma yoga. Support him/her till the end of their natural lives. Unlike the children’s sponsorship – Tibetan grandparents will not be able to write thank you letters. Instead, they will send all the prayers of a grateful heart your way.
  • Make a sponsorship commitment for three years. TCEF will work hard to find another sponsor to pass on the baton of kindness at the end of your commitment. So your good work will continue even after you have stopped sponsoring.
  • Make a one time donation to benefit Tibetan elders in need. Your donation will enable us to help an elder till we find a committed sponsor for them.

$35.00 USD for each month, for 30 installments

$105.00 USD for each 3 months, for 12 installments

$210.00 USD for each 6 months, for 6 installments

$420.00 USD for each year, for 3 installments

One-time Donations

Find Out More about Elder Sponsorship





Sponsorship Duration

I would prefer to sponsor

Preferred Payment schedules

Preferred Payment Methods

Read more

Service Trips


For several years TCEF Program Manager, Valerie Hellermann did service tours to our project sites in India. These tours were an opportunity to immerse yourself in Tibetan culture and relate directly with the people and particularly the children we serve. We have done many wonderful projects such as art exchange projects, photo projects, construction projects , music , English literacy and “world culture” presentations. It is a truly wonderful opportunity to be of service while visiting India and the Tibetan community in exile.

 In all TCEF did six Service Trips and touched the lives of many people through these trips. Huge gratitude to Valerie and all participants of the Service Trip Programs

Read more

Dubdi Monastery Lunch Project

Dubdi Monastery Monks

That’s right! $4.34 a DAY feed 36 young monks a daily hot lunch, the most substantial meal of the day and for some the only meal. Dubdi Monastic School is in a very poor rural farming village. These boys study Buddhism, minimal reading and math in an unheated one room schoolhouse with one window, one light bulb and one dedicated teacher Mr. Sharma. There are few textbooks and writing implements to be shared between the 36 students.

In 2008, TCEF began a hot lunch program. The young monks were in school 6 days a week from 8am – 4pm with no meal or snacks. Now they break every day for a hot lunch of rice, dal and veggies. It takes only $4.34 a day to provide this to all 36 boys!

We are going to Yuksom this year and hope to renew connections with this monastery.

Read more