Tibet Foundation

Tibetans in exile

An eager student at school. Photo Neil Cooper The Tibetans in Exile programme was established in 1987 to help build a sustainable future for Tibetan refugees. We run this programme mainly through sponsorship, working closely with recognised educational institutes and in India and Nepal.

Successful provision of education for the younger generation of Tibetans, and rebuilding of monastic institutes in India and Nepal are among some of the greatest achievements by the Central Tibetan Administration. Today the literacy rate among the younger generation is acknowledged to be as high as 95 percent.

Currently there are some 24,000 Tibetan students studying in 73 Tibetan schools. This does not include pre-primary sections and private schools. The Department of Education oversees their education under different autonomous administrative bodies – 28 Central Tibetan Schools Administration schools, 18 Tibetan Children's Village schools, 3 Tibetan-Homes-Foundation schools, 12 Sambhota Tibetan Schools Society institutes, and 12 Snow Lion Foundation schools. Tibet Foundation sponsors students in 20 of these schools.

Monasteries play an important role in the life of Tibetans. They have always been the centres of understanding, sharing and developing Buddhist philosophy, art and culture. Not long after monks escaped from Tibet in 1959, they began rebuilding their monasteries and nunneries throughout India and Nepal. Today, there are known to be 4,153 Tibetan monasteries and nunneries with 35,327 monks and nuns of different traditions in India, Nepal and Bhutan. Tibet Foundation has its sponsored monks and nuns in 13 of these monasteries and nunneries.

Money raised for sponsorship goes directly to these institutes (not to any individual) who are fully responsible to administer and monitor schools. These educational institutes are registered as charities in their respective countries and submit annual audited accounts to the authorities. Our sponsors get progress reports and updates on how their sponsorship is being utilized through our newsletters published twice a year, and through our website as well as detailed letters from our sponsorship secretary.

There is large number of elderly Tibetans who arrived in India during the late 1950s. They were the ones who shouldered the hardship in rebuilding their community, as well as re-establishing monastic institutes amid a very difficult situation. The large majority of this generation have no relatives of their own to depend upon, and are highly vulnerable; in desperate need of care and support. Tibet Foundation offers sponsorship to elderly people in Jampaling Old Peoples Home in Dharamsala administered by the Department of Homes and the Old Peoples Home in Rajpur administered by the Tibetan Homes Foundation.

Whatever contribution sponsors are able to offer is greatly appreciated and has made a real difference in the lives of many who needed the support most. We would like to emphasize that making a donation towards sponsorship is the most effective way of supporting Tibetans in India and Nepal. It costs only £15 per month for a student and just £10 for a monk, nun or an elderly Tibetan. Further information is available from the Tibet Foundation office.


All our projects are managed by local Tibetan registered charities with supervision by our field officer, Geshe Tenzin Sonam, appointed directly by Tibet Foundation, UK.