Little Flowers Crèche cares for the babies and toddlers of Tibetan government employees in Dharamsala. 40 children are cared for by three ayas (caregivers).
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has made his home in the steep, crowded little town of upper Dharamsala since escaping from Tibet in 1959. His Tibetan Government-in-Exile is housed in a rabbit warren of buildings, along with the beautiful Tibetan Library and Archives which attract many western visitors. What the visitors may not see is the small school for the children of the government employees, and they are even less likely to look up to the second floor where the Little Flowers Crèche plays its vital role.
Many young Tibetans who have done well in the Tibetan settlement schools gravitate to Dharamsala to work in the government offices and to teach in the schools nearby. When they have children of their own, the women, after their two-month maternity leave, must return to work. Very few of them have family nearby to care for their babies, so the Little Flowers Crèche was created. Today it continues to play a vital role in the well-being of these Tibetan families. Salaries for Tibetans are minimal, and living costs are high in Dharamsala, so it is imperative that the women keep working.
Important though it is, the Little Flowers Crèche has no permanent source of funding. The parents pay a small fee. The Kashag (Tibetan Parliament in exile) and the Tibetan Department of Health give a grant towards nutrition, but the Crèche depends largely on donations. Parents have told TRAS that the Crèche is indispensible, yet too small to attract the donations that some of the larger Tibetan schools receive.
40 children are in the Crèche at present. In the March following their third birthday, the children move into the little school downstairs.
TRAS supported the Crèche for many years completing the project in 2013.