Press Release: Dalai Lama Congratulates TRAS

Dalai Lama congratulates Vancouver’s Trans-Himalayan Aid Society on 50th Anniversary

Little known piece of Vancouver history

October 15, 2012, Vancouver: Vancouver-based charity, the Trans-Himalayan Aid Society (TRAS) is celebrating 50 years—a huge accomplishment for a local charity run by volunteers. TRAS supports health and education projects for children and youth in northern India, Nepal and Tibet. 

In a personal letter of congratulations to TRAS, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote:  

“I am happy to learn that the Trans-Himalayan Aid Society (TRAS) will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Since the Society was founded in 1962, it has given significant support to Tibetan refugees… I would like to express my appreciation of the good work TRAS has done over the last 50 years with my prayers for their continued success in the future.” 

A relatively unknown part of Vancouver history, TRAS was founded in 1962 by George Woodcock, one of Canada’s most prolific and honoured writers, and his wife, Inge. The Woodcocks, on a trip to India in 1961, met His Holiness the Dalai Lama. After witnessing the plight of Tibetan refugees, and at the request of the Dalai Lama, the Woodcocks returned to Vancouver and founded TRAS. Now, five decades later, and with an expanded mandate to support Indian and Nepali communities in the Himalayas as well, TRAS is still going strong. 

Over the past 50 years TRAS has given millions of dollars to a range of projects in the Himalayas. Using an empowering, grass-roots approach to development, TRAS raises funds for Himalayan partner organizations who implement projects in their own communities. TRAS has no overseas staff and does not send volunteers abroad, preferring to work with local partners in the Himalayas, using local expertise and materials to address some of the social, economic, medical and environmental needs of the region. 

“TRAS is extremely proud to be celebrating 50 years of supporting communities in the Himalayas,” says TRAS President, Jennifer Hales. “TRAS has a rich history and continues to evolve as it responds to the changing needs of the region. Over the years, some of us have had the honour of meeting people who have been positively impacted by TRAS. These successes show what a difference a dedicated group of volunteers can make.”