Our group of 12 TSSW students have recently returned from the foothills of the Himalayas in Northern India, where we were volunteering with and learning from the Tibetan Refugee community. Please take a minute to read about this important social work project happening there. The Tibet Coffee Shop project will provide a sustainable funding source for many of the social services so desperately needed by the community that we quickly came to love.
Thanks to LHA volunteer Tripti Singh an $18,000 donation has been made so we only need to raise 15K to fully construct and furnish the coffee shop which will cost a total of $33K.
Most people have heard about Tibet in passing, on stickers, or on t-shirts. But the plight of the Tibetan people remains largely unknown. Over 100,000 Tibetans live in exile from their home country, fleeing from persecution, oppression and environmental devastation under Chinese rule. Over one million Tibetans have been killed and imprisoned since Tibet was first occupied in 1959, and the cultural genocide continues on a massive scale today. Many of the refugees have found a new home here in Dharamsala, India, where their religious leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, lives in exile.
Our group recently had a very special and personal meeting with the Dalai Lama. During that time he expressed the importance of helping the Tibetan people to preserve their culture of non-violence and to bring awareness of the Tibetan situation to the world. He inspired us to bring our social work skills together to help. We've already begun and will continue in many different ways. Please help us to help build the Tibet Coffee Shop that will be owned and operated by the Tibetan members of LHA Charitable Trust , our host organization while in India.
The coffee shop will most importantly serve as a sustainable funding source to help them continue the important social services they are now providing for Tibetan refugees. It will also:
· create jobs;
· serve as a place to promote awareness of the Tibetan situation;
· serve as a place for Tibetans to sell locally-made products & crafts;
· function as a small business training center;
· provide space for barista and pastry chef volunteers to teach job skills;
· house a legal aid office that will assist refugees in desperate need of legal translation and help; and
· offer a forum in which Tibetan artists, musicians, and storytellers can promote awareness while showcasing & selling their work.
*** The location for the Tibet Coffee Shop is only steps away from The Dalai Lama’s home and Temple, which will lend a constant flow of international and local customers.
Total project budget is $33,000: building construction $23K; commercial oven $5K; commercial coffee machine $3K; kitchen equipment $1K; and furniture $1K. Even the smallest donation can make a large impact in India, where a $10 donation provides 20 nutritious meals in LHA’s soup kitchen, one of the projects that will be supported by the coffee shop. The first $18,000 is coming from the Macquarie Group of Sydney, Australia. We are already over half way there!
One of the many beautiful aspects of this project is that there will be no managerial fees, consultant fees, nor expense accounts…100% of the donations we receive will go directly toward building and furnishing the Tibet Coffee Shop.
The Louisiana Himalaya Association (LHA), which has been working with the Tibetan community for over 20 years and has been affiliated with the Tulane School of Social Work since 2002, will work with us on this project through its completion. LHA is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization based in New Orleans, Louisiana so all your donations are tax deductable. To inquire further about this project email firstname.lastname@example.org
With your help and kindness, we can make the Tibet Coffee Shop a reality. Even the smallest donation goes a long way in India!
The 2018 TSSW India Group:
Maria Isabella Pontoriero