During that period of mayhem in Tibet, thousands of tibetan followers of Dalai Lama fled into neighbouring countries so they could live as free human beings. The majority of the refugees had brought nothing with them apart from the clothes they wore. That’s why Tibetan Refugees started to follow the principle of self help so that they could become self-independent and completely rehabilitate themselves in a foreign country.
Lets take a tour to the journey of becoming self-independent of Tibetan Refugees at Darjeeling.
A small center that started with only few workers with the objective of self rehabilitation and helping the under-privileged Tibetan community in the area, has now grown to accommodate more than nearby thousand of Tibetan refugees.
Out of the total population of Tibetan Refugees, this self help centre provides free housing, food and rations, medical care, clothes, uniform and stationary to old, infirm and needy persons who are entirely dependent on the centre.
Simultaneously, They have constructed a primary school, an indoor playground for children. In addition, there is a library with educational books, magazines, daily news papers for both the children and adults.
The staff, workers and students of the Centre have formed a Sports Club, which provides opportunity to learn different games and participate in local tournaments. They also have organised cultural programmes during festivals.
For welfare of community, Tibetan Refugees has turned a small infirmary into a small hospital today staffed by a well-qualified and highly experienced doctor, nurses, an overseas volunteer and some helpers.
Production of handcrafted items is the main activity and earning source of this center. Export and Import of their crafted items and raw materials to other countries is getting popular day by day.
Tibetan Refugee man and woman makes an exquisite unique form of Tibet hand crafted items like woolen shawls & carpets, carved wooden crafts, jackets, coats,gloves, woolen aprons, bags, various types of curios, small models of Buddha, cards, pouches, hand painted scenery and pictures of Tibetan women on cloth pieces and lots of other items.
There are the various handicraft sections around the periphery like the Tailoring and Leather Works, followed by Knitting and Painting section, Wood Carving section, Apron section, Carpentry etc. They also have a training center that imparts skills to the new workers.
However, this journey of Tibetan Refugees becoming self-independent and Self-Reliant fully defines actual meaning of this quote..
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama.