August 2018

TRAS’s 56th Annual General Meeting

Please call the office at 604-224-5133 or email to let us know if you can attend.

Your attendance is very important! In order for us to submit our new by-laws, we’ll need to make sure that we have a quorum so that they can be approved.

There will also be reports on our current projects, sponsorship and scholarship programs.

Parking is available on the street or in the parkade across the street from the office. Melville Street runs one way from the east. Close to the Burrard Skytrain Station and to buses on Georgia and Burrard Streets. In case of difficulty or further directions call 604-224-5133

Voice of Children

One of the major projects supported by TRAS is the Voice of Children (VOC) project. VOC is run by AMAN (Facebook) and Vimarsh (Facebook), two Indian non-profits in the Almora and Nainital districts of northern India.

AMAN and Vimarsh are currently working in 12 rural villages, all of which are anywhere between 2km to 27km from the nearest road. These villages face many challenges to access education and health services. The isolation of these villages makes it difficult to attract qualified teachers and staff, so many village schools are forced to close. Even if children are able to get a primary school education, going to secondary school is often impossible as they can be too far away. Health services are often minimal or nonexistent, so many villagers also suffer from health problems.

In addition to these issues, women and girls face even more barriers to getting an education. Since there are few opportunities for income generation in the villages, men often leave to find work in cities. This means that women and girls are left to do all the work at home. Their work is very physically demanding, and leaves little time for getting an education or taking proper care of themselves. The literacy rate of women in these villages is much lower than that of men, and many women and girls develop health problems related to their labour.

Faced with these challenges, the goal of Voice of Children is to improve the lives of the people in the villages where it works by promoting education, keeping kids in school, and ensuring access to basic health care.

VOC provides a range of initiatives, loosely grouped into three categories: direct education to children; resource centres to support and complement education; and capacity-building initiatives to make sure that villagers know their rights, especially children and women.


In rural villages, education is often under-valued, and families would prefer that their children remain at home to work. Furthermore, the barriers to education including cost and distance are major deterrents. VOC aims to solve these issues with their Education Support Centres, Tuition Classes, and Computer Literacy Programs.

The Education Support Centres are geared towards low-income families that are often not given the opportunity to excel in school. Five centres are now in operation with 178 students regularly attending (79 male, 99 female). These centres provide educational extra-curricular activities that foster an appreciation and love for education, motivating the students to continue their studies.

The Tuition Classes provide a more direct and applicable education for the children. These classes focus on local issues and teach subjects that are more directly relevant to the students. These include general knowledge, health education, and environmental studies. There are currently five tuition centres with 114 children (55 male, 59 female).

Computer Literacy Programs are increasingly relevant and important for all students. There are currently two centres with 59 children where they are taught skills including how to use the internet, MS Office, and typing skills in both English and Hindi.

Resource Centres:

The different resource centres are designed to assist students with their studies, as well as have a place for women to learn about their rights. These include the Special Coaching Centre, the Women Counseling and Resource Centres, and the Fellowship program.

The Special Coaching Centre, located in Govinpur, links 29 students from 9 nearby villages. The students, (from classes 9-12) are provided with coaching and tutoring to aid them in their studies. The coaching includes sciences, math, and English. This service is currently provided by Aman, while Vimarsh looks to begin its own centre in the near future.

The Women Counseling and Resource centres are put in place to educate and support women with regards to protection from violence, health issues, and ways of legal recourse. These groups of 161 women have achieved remarkable success including getting the Ministry of Natural Gas and Petroleum to implement LPG connections to women in rural, low-income areas. This has greatly reduced the work required to cook. Two families began the Certificate of Marriage registry, and the Domicile and Caste Certificate. These give both women and children easier access to social security, including some schools that do not accept students without a legal domicile status.

Lastly, the Fellowship program supports 46 children that were deemed to be at risk of dropping out of school due to the financial burden. These children were given school bags, notebooks syllabus books and shoes.

TRAS now partners with Voice of Children through the TRAS Scholarship Fund to provide three-year scholarships to students entering university or other institutes of higher learning.  TRAS currently provides eight students with these scholarships.

Capacity Building Meetings:

Both AMAN and Vimarsh organise regular meetings to listen to the needs of the communities, and to educate them about their various rights. The three meetings are the Community Mobilization meetings, meetings with Mahila Sangthan, and the Collective meetings.

The Community Mobilization meetings are directed towards local children. The meetings educate them about their rights, including child’s rights, gender issues and discrimination, personal hygiene, right to education, child labour laws, child help lines, environmental rights, republic day, sustainable development goals, and many more. These meetings have been highly successful with more than 400 children participating.

The meetings with Mahila Sangthan are a collaboration that unifies local women to have their voices heard, and to educate them about a variety of topics. The discussions focus on education about gender issues, PCPNDT, local self governance, domestic violence, relevant government programs, water-sharing, and many more. These have also been very successful with over 500 women participating.

Lastly, the Collective meetings bring together both children’s and women’s groups to discuss mutual issues. Most recently they celebrated International Women’s Day and had an an amazing turnout!

Donations needed for 2021 $38,500.00

Watch this YouTube video to see the amazing people this project has helped.

Read about VOC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic with the help of TRAS funding.

Read about Hear Their Voices – A Zoom Event March 3, 2021

Voice of Children Mid-Year Progress Report Nov 2020 – Apr 2021

The TRAS Scholarship Fund (TSF)

(Last update: 2018/08/12)

The TRAS Scholarship Fund (TSF), established through the generosity of two anonymous donors, provides bright young students the opportunity to continue their education after high school. With the knowledge and skills gained from quality universities in India, these students are then able to return home and make a powerful and tangible difference within their communities!

The Story so Far:

The TSF initially started a pilot program with the Rinchen Zangpo Society for Spiti Development, which runs the Munsel-ling School in the Spiti Valley. The school has been very successful, with TRAS supporting several projects including desks for classrooms and greenhouses for growing food during the long winters. Young graduates were looking for the chance to continue their education.

Spearheaded by Director Lynn Beck, TRAS began supporting two students per year with this new fund. The successful applicants receive $1000 (Canadian) per year, for three years of post-secondary education. This allows them to pursue their education and reach their full potential.

The clear benefits and successes of the pilot program encouraged TRAS to invite the Voice of Children and the Dekyiling Handicraft Centre to participate. As of November 2017, TRAS had 14 students enrolled in the TSF. Thanks to the TSF and their own hard work, several students have graduated, including Tenzin Yangzom and Tashi Tsomo, who are now both pursuing their master’s degrees!

Tashi Angmo

Our Well-Deserving Recipients:

Our partners abroad select the most passionate and hardest-working individuals to be a part of our program. These promising students have excelled in their studies and look forward to becoming excellent role models for their communities.

Tsering Dolker

In the words of Tashi Wangmo (BA third year) “I am elated to share with you that I scored good marks (70%) in my previous exams and I will keep trying to do my best in my coming days. I think I am very lucky…I am very thankful to you for your kind help.”

We are also very thankful to Tashi, as it was her hard-work and dedication (not luck!) that led to her success!

Tashi Tsomo

Our first two recipients studied to become teachers so that they can give back to their communities. In our second year, the two young women (Tashi Tsomo and Sherpa Dolma) were accepted at the prestigious Miranda College in New Delhi, studying mathematics. As mentioned above, Tashi Tsomo graduated with a BSc (Math honors) and has gone on to an MSc at Delhi University.

Sherpa Dolma


Sonam Dolkar

The TSF recipients have been happily sharing their excellent report cards with TRAS, allowing us to both see their progress and share in their enthusiasm! Through the help of TRAS, its partners overseas, and especially donors like you, the TSF has provided an excellent opportunity to aid these young women in fulfilling their dreams, lifting themselves out of poverty, and improving their homes and local communities.  We thank you for your gifts, and we thank these students for their hard work and tenacity!


2020 Scholarship Report

2019 Scholarship Report

2015 Scholarship Update.

2014 Scholarship Update

What We Are All About

Whether you have recently heard about TRAS, are a new donor, or simply would like a succinct way of explaining this organization to your friends, we have written up a short explanation about who we are and the values that we hold dear.

Who we are:

The Trans-Himalayan Aid Society (TRAS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health and education of children and youth in Nepal, and the northern Himalayan regions of India. We have one part-time employee; everything else is done by volunteers.

Founded in 1962 in Vancouver, TRAS operates on the belief that local people know best what is necessary for their development. We don’t send people overseas to do the work. Instead, we fund projects which are proposed and run by local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in India and Nepal. TRAS is a strong supporter of grassroots, or bottom-up, development that directly benefits those involved. Simply put, we at TRAS don’t believe that we have the authority to dictate what organizations operating on the other side of the world should be doing. They’re the ones who are most familiar with the needs on the ground.

Through this approach, we avoid imposing our ideals and beliefs on others which may be incompatible or irrelevant. By allowing communities to determine their own needs, we avoid unnecessary spending on projects that won’t be used by locals.

We give our partners significant autonomy and support in order to execute their plans. Of course, they are not left entirely to themselves. TRAS actively monitors projects (for example, through regular reporting, and occasionally through visits by board members making personal trips to the area) to ensure that they are both effective and aligned with our collective goals.

Our Current Projects:

Sponsorship program. Since 1962 TRAS has supported over 750 children. TRAS members currently sponsor the education of about 130 individual children in Nepal and the northern Himalayan region of India. Children needing sponsorship have parents that may simply be too poor to send their children to school, or even to support them. They want their children to receive a quality education as well as learn the Tibetan language and culture. For more information please click on Sponsorship.

CTA Nurses Training project. In Tibetan communities in India, there is a shortage of qualified healthcare practitioners. Since 1995, TRAS has been working to solve this problem by providing scholarships for nursing students to study in excellent teaching hospitals in India, through the Central Tibetan Administration’s Department of Health. This enables young women to pursue a useful career, thereby helping them achieve independence, support their families, and provide valuable service to their communities.

READI Nepal Education project in Humla. Humla is the most remote district of Nepal, and one of the most impoverished. Families in Humla struggle to meet their basic needs, and many are unable to send their children to school. TRAS has partnered with a local NGO, Rural Empowerment and Development Initiatives (READI) Nepal, to provide education, food, and housing for 30 children in a hostel in Simikot, the capital of Humla. The children have been selected from the lowest castes, minority groups, and the very poor, and half of them are girls. By providing these children with an education, TRAS and READI hope to break down barriers and give them the tools to improve their lives.

Voice of Children project. The Voice of Children project is run by AMAN and Vimarsh, two Indian non-profits in the Almora and Nainital districts of northern India. The project aims to improve the lives of people living in twelve isolated rural villages by promoting education, keeping kids in school, and ensuring access to basic health care.  Initiatives run by this project include educational support centres that provide tutoring for 125 children in multiple subjects; bridging courses that help dropouts reintegrate into school; women’s and girls’ groups that focus on education, health awareness, and empowerment; vocational training programs; village libraries; and more.

TRAS Scholarship Fund. The TRAS Scholarship Fund provides promising young students in post-secondary education with $1000 per year for three years. Programs include teaching, engineering, law, and health-related fields. Scholarship recipients are likely to find employment after graduation, and go on to provide valuable services to their communities. In this way, the TRAS Scholarship Fund improves the lives of entire communities by helping individual students reach their full potential.

IDEA Midwifery Training – TRAS has partnered with the Innovative Development Education Academy (IDEA) in Pokhara, Nepal to assist underprivileged students in paying for their Midwifery course. Graduates of this course return to their villages and do sterling work in helping to save the lives of mothers and children.

There is a full list of accomplished and ongoing projects on our website:

How Can You Help?

TRAS is funded entirely by individual donors. If you would like to meet our volunteer board, we encourage you to attend our next annual general meeting, which will be posted on our website under Upcoming Events.

Besides fundraising events, we also rely on our supporters and donors to help promote TRAS by simply getting the word out. An easy like or share is another great way to help get our message to others! If you would like to know more ways that you can help out, please do not hesitate to give us a shout either through our Facebook page, or by emailing us at

If you have any other questions, please feel free to reach out, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.