While their parents work, babies, toddlers and young children are well cared for in the Dekyiling Tibetan Handicraft Centre Crèche, fully funded by TRAS.
History of the Dekyiling Tibetan Settlement
The Dekyiling Tibetan Settlement was created in 1980 for the Tibetan refugees from Bhutan. The Government of India and the Central Tibetan Relief Committee (CTRC) of the Dalai Lama’s Government-in-Exile together set up a small settlement outside Dehra Dun, in the foothills of the Himalayas. The CTRC purchased 33 acres of land, and within days, the typical tent city of a refugee camp started changing into a permanent little town. One of the objectives from the start was to preserve the traditional Tibetan art of weaving their vibrant carpets and sturdy fabrics.
A workshop was built, paid for by TRAS, where skilled artisans could work and train newly arrived refugees. Today TRAS sells beautiful handicrafts made at Dekyiling. These can be purchased at our office or at one of our events.
Weavers at the handicraft centre
At the same time, a crèche (or day care centre) was built for the babies and toddlers of the young women in training. Today, their weaving and tailoring continue to be the main source of income in the community. The crèche allows the women to work full-time, while two ayas (care-givers) provide the toddlers with an early education, loving care, and good nutrition. Kindergarten children come to the crèche after school. Boiled milk, fruit and vitamin supplements give these children the extras needed for good health.
Crèche children with their two ayas
At present there are 30 children in the crèche: babies, toddlers and kindergarten-aged children. Although the weavers are paid for what they produce, their incomes are not sufficient to pay for costs of the crèche. Very few of these young parents from Bhutan and Tibet have older family members to care for their children, so TRAS has stepped in to help.
Supporting the crèche gives a good start to the children, training and self-respect to their mothers, and an income for their families.
Watch the Three TRAS Projects video that includes the story of Dekyiling Handicraft Centre and Crèche.