I have had the pleasure of sponsoring three different children since I first visited Kyitseling in 2004. I was deeply moved by my initial visit to this hostel for Tibetan refugee children for many reasons. I think the thing that impressed me the most was seeing how much respect, love, and care the older children were showing towards the younger ones—and how truly creative and kind the adults at the hostel are. This hostel is much like a big family, and a beautiful model of how a group of people can live together in a harmonious and mutually supportive way.
Back in the summer of 2009 my husband, Guy, and I signed on to go with a TCEF service group to India for their February-March 2010 trip to help the Tibetan refugees in northern India. Guy never planned on taking a trip to India until one day when he happened to see pictures of how the Tibetans and other people in the Himalayan mountains of Sikkim were living in such difficult conditions. He turned to me and said “I can fix that”. He was referring to leaking metal roofs on the small metal homes that housed the families. The rest is history!
Inspiring and necessary: these two words probably best express the experience for me of being part of TCEF’s Elder sponsorship program. It was, in many ways, such an easy choice: I’ve have been so blessed to have personally met and spent time with many of the people who created and sustain this incredible organization. Their compassion and commitment to a meaningful solution to ease some of the very difficult hardships faced by Tibetan exiles is a tonic for my own heart and for the One Great Heart that pulses love and hope to all of us. So much tender and sincere caring exudes from everyone in this organization – it’s really so little for them to ask of any of us to be a part of the spirit of humanity that they are cultivating.
Approximately ten years ago, we had great good fortune to meet Karma and Gensung Tensum at Thanksgiving dinner, in the kitchen of The Feathered Pipe Ranch. Just being in the Ranch’s most vital productive center was always an honor and a privilege. It was big, roomy, homey, alive with the the cooking of fabulous food, and central to every person who made the great ranch function. Access was selective—those who were currently running the ranch and those who had dedicated their lives to contributing to that effort, so when India Supera introduced us to Karma and Gensung we already knew that they were walking a well-intentioned path.
Altruism, hospitality and non-violence are just a few of the many wonderful qualities that Tibetan culture embodies. And they are also qualities we need so much in the world today. However, because many Tibetans are in exile their culture becomes more endangered. The Tibetan Children’s Education is working to keep the culture alive.