Since relocating to India, the Tibetan refugees have struggled to maintain their culture and identity. The mass movement has caused social and financial instability as transplanted families attempt to re-establish businesses, careers and cultural harmony. Equally as challenging has been the cultural disconnectedness as Tibetans attempt to live and strive in the Indian culture, quite different than their own.
While the Tibetan refugee situation is a heated political issue, Lifeworks does not intend to incite political fervor, but rather to help the children and families who are suffering in our world. We seek to share cultures and stories, and broaden horizons through educational exchange programs with Tibetan refugees.
At the request of the Dalai Lama, Tibetans learn English to improve their lives in exile. Basic employment is difficult without this skill, so we aid the Lha Social Work Organization in its mission to teach English to newly arrived exiles. Each student is paired with a Tibetan to engage in language and cultural exchange. It is often here that we learn the warmth of a Tibetan's smile.
Working with the youth of Dharamsala, we seek to cultivate a sense of creative expression amongst youth in exile. We lead after-school arts camps in media such as drawing, painting and photography, so that Tibetan youngsters can capture the details of the exile community through the art of visual storytelling.
President's Volunteer Service Award, Australian Red Cross