Archived Projects

Buddha Academy Boarding School Vocational Training and Infirmary Maintenance Programs

Vocational Training

Buddha Academy Boarding School offers vocational training programs in tailoring, carpentry and electrical work to high-school students, fully funded by TRAS.

Tailoring Program

From its humble beginnings in the early 1990s, Buddha Academy Boarding School in Kathmandu has grown into a thriving institution, taking in and educating the poorest children: orphans, the disabled, street children and youth, and children of poverty-stricken villagers. The catalyst for this change was the Principal, the late Dorje Namgyal (who passed away in September, 2012).  Dorje was sponsored in his youth by a TRAS member and spent his adult life helping thousands of children and youth in need.

Carpentry Program

In the mid-1990s, TRAS paid for the vocational training classrooms to be built and has since been funding vocational training courses at the school. In the 1990s, these classes were the only way a student could be assured of a job. Now the academic excellence of Buddha Academy Boarding School is such that many students go to university or find office jobs. The vocational training courses are now given to all senior students as part of the regular school curriculum and are recognised by the Ministry of Education for the School Leaving Certificate. The vocational skills stand all the students in good stead in their own lives; and for those who want to continue studying in these fields, the vocational training courses offer a good foundation. Four recent graduates are studying engineering and surveying at university, thanks in part to the training they received in electrical work.

Electrician Training Program

Several students take the vocational training courses full time, and the spare places are offered to young people from outside the Academy who have had no chance for an education – often their families have come in desperation to Kathmandu looking for work, and there is nothing for their children. Again, the success rate is high, with carpentry students getting good jobs in the furniture making industry, and tailoring students finding work in clothing factories and fashion houses. Several graduates return to their original villages, where their skills will be useful.

Infirmary Maintenance

Infirmary at Buddha Academy
Infirmary at Buddha Academy

Buddha Academy Boarding School is also concerned with the health of the children in its care. When they first arrive at the school, many of the children are malnourished and ill.  More severe medical problems are dealt with at a hospital, but the well- equipped school clinic looks after the daily needs of the children and copes with all minor illnesses. The children are generally very healthy. Over 600 children and 70 staff use the clinic, with daily visits from 25 – 35 children..

Recently the growing school population has resulted in the hiring of a second full time nurse. The good news here is that the young lady hired was a student of Buddha Academy herself, and has now returned to help the institution which gave her such a good start in life.

In 2014, TRAS completed funding of the vocational training and infirmary maintenance.  We thank all the donors and volunteers who supported the children during our partnership for over 20 years and wish the school every success in the future.

Little Flowers Crèche, Dharamsala, India

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. 

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.