May 2010

Dekyiling Tibetan Handicraft Centre Crèche

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.
Dekyiling 1980s

Handicraft Centre

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. 

A dose of care in Dharamsala, India (CTA Nurses Training)

CTA Nurses Training

In 1959 His Holiness the Dalai Lama and some 80,000 Tibetans crossed the Himalayas to seek refuge in India, Nepal and Bhutan. His Holiness relocated the Tibetan Government in Dharamsala, where it is now named the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The Central Tibetan Administration promotes a holistic approach to education, emphasizing modern scientific and social scientific learning, as well as traditional Tibetan schooling.

The CTA’s Department of Health (DoH) has integrated traditional Tibetan medicine with conventional primary health care. The two systems of medicine run in tandem with each other and efficient cross-referral systems are in place.

The DoH runs 44 health clinics, nine primary health care centers, one mobile clinic and seven hospitals in the Tibetan communities in India and Nepal. The Department meets the cost of emergency health care needs and treatment for poor Tibetans.

TRAS supported nurses training

TRAS has supported the education and training of 13 nurses. The 4-year study program and mandatory 2-year internship includes training on curative and preventative medicine, as well as on health education. After completion of the courses, these nurses will be offered employment by the DoH.

This project encourages young women to come forward, as it seeks to make young Tibetan women self-sufficient and empowered members of the community. While some graduates pursue their nursing profession in the Tibetan community in exile in Dharamsala, others assist populations in remote areas where there is always shortage of qualified nurses and medical facilities. Many of the nurses who graduate from this program remain dedicated to serving the Tibetan community.

For example, one of our students, Tsering Youdon, graduated in 2004 and is now serving at the Tibetan Settlement Gurupura.

Tenzin Kunsang completed nurses training in 2002 and is now serving in the Tibetan Settlement Orissa.

Chemi Wangmo studies at Osama General Hospital in Hyderabad. She writes: “I want to say thanks for your helping towards me financially as because of your help only I am able to continue my course which was impossible for me without your support. Really, I am very grateful….I am enclosing here with lots of regards and love. Once again I want to say thanks for your support. I will never forget your kindness toward me. My prayers and regards are always with you.”





Group photo from the Apollo School of Nursing in New Delhi.