By Lobsang Wangyal
MCLEOD GANJ, India, 3 October 2016
The United States government has granted $23 million to exile Tibetans living in South Asia to strengthen their livelihood and culture.
The Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) announced the grant during a press conference at the exile headquarters in McLeod Ganj.
The aid has been granted through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the grant will be effective from 1 October 2016 to 30 September 2021.
The funding is mainly for livelihood and leadership development of Tibetan refugees.
“In the livelihood area we have several projects — integrated development projects for settlements, non-banking financial corporation, and also some cultural aspects of Tibetan culture — maintaining Tibetan identity is very important,” Sangay said.
“In leadership, it’s essentially about building human resources and capacity of the Tibetan people as a whole. Our focus is on CTA at the moment. We have already started giving trainings to senior staff members of the CTA.”
The first year will mostly about assessment, and the remaining four years will be about implementing the programmes.
Without taking part in the assessment, there will be no funds for anybody. “We request all the Tibetans working in various fields to take part in the assessment,” Sangay said.
Apart from on-going funds provided in the field of education and health, funds will be given to individuals who have proper business plans, filmmakers who have projects for social and environmental causes. etc.
For sustainability, there are projects such as building libraries, cafes, and playgrounds.
It is a crying shame that a foreign country must grant millions of Dollars to maintain Tibetan culture and identity to Tibetans in exile. I wish that Tibetans could maintain their identity and culture in their homeland, and that the countries of the world could collaborate for this to occur.
Instead of their culture and language being massacred, wouldn’t it be wonderful if all attempts to destroy this race of people could be reversed, and let the Tibetans live in peace, return to their homelands without fear of being harassed, jailed and tortured for following their own beliefs and, in fact for just existing.
But should they have to be in exile, yes well done to those who support this lovely race of people – they offer a country so much being peace-loving, kind and hardworking, as the community of Tibetans I have met in Sydney have proved to be.