To care for Tibetan refugees, the Dalai Lama in 1960 established at Dharamsala, India, the offices of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) or the Tibetan Government-in-Exile (TGIE). Over the past 50 years, the CTA Home Affairs Department has served to coordinate the resettlement of more than 120,000 displaced Tibetans in India, Nepal, and throughout the world.
With the help of international relief agencies and the Home Ministry of the Indian Government, the Tibetan Home Affairs Department has built an infrastructure of agricultural settlements, agro-industrial settlements, handicraft centres, and religious, cultural, educational institutions that constitutes one of most successful refugee resettlement programs in modern history.
However, growing numbers of refugees continue to flee from Tibet (69,247 since 1987, including 652 in 2008). Settlements in India and Nepal established 50 years ago are not adequate, as they attempt to provide for twice as many people as planned. More than 14,000 Tibetans have never received relocation assistance (source CTA).
Arunachal Pradesh is situated in North-Eastern India. With a total area of 83,743 sq. kms, it has a long international border with Tibet (currently occupied by the People’s Republic of China) to the north and north-east (1,080 km), Myanmar to the east (440 km) and Bhutan to the west (160 km).
Conditions of Tibetans in Arunachal Pradesh today
In the five Tibetan settlements across Arunachal Pradesh there’s already a young child who – with the right opportunities – may be a future doctor, a classical pianist, a scholar or the leader of a new environmental organization.
Yet, even with India’s incredible generosity, the reality for thousands of Tibetans who live in Arunachal Pradesh is that they may never have the chance to realize their potential and to experience what so many in Canada take for granted: the very best for themselves and their children.
Just the inaccessibility of the settlements alone means that providing for the education of children close to home is impossible. Aid supports hundreds of children in their education, but they must attend boarding schools many days journey from their families, with visits home every 3 to 5 years at most. The cost of education is family separation.
Take a look at our Arunachal Pradesh Photo Album