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: http://tras.ca/category/archived-projects/

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 info@tras.ca.

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