With an average elevation of more than 4000 metres, the Tibet Autonomous Region in China is the highest region on earth, it rightly deserves its epithet 'the Roof of the World'.
Most of the people in Tibet live at elevations ranging from 1200m to 5100m. Tibet is also one of the world's most-isolated regions, surrounded by the Himalayas to the South, the Karakoram Range to the West, and the Northern Kunlun Mountains.
Lhasa is the region's administrative capital and, naturally, one of the highest cities in the world. It is the birthplace of Tibetan Buddhism and contains many religious sites such as the Jokhang, Potala and Norbulingka palaces.
A poor region in a booming nation
China's recent economic boom is widely reported in the media but, in comparison with the country's inland provinces, and coastal regions, Tibet remains one of the poorest regions in China. A significant percentage of its people live in poverty; particularly the area's rural residents.
Tibetans depend mainly on subsistence farming; a method whereby farmers focus only on growing enough food to feed themselves and their families. Without access to better agricultural technology, many Tibetans feel that they remain in a position of marginal importance in China. This is exacerbated by the fact that most Tibetans have very limited access to any other form of employment, and are vulnerable to an already fragile mountain ecosystem.
Another contributing factor is the high rate of illiteracy among Tibetans. While rates vary between urban and rural areas, ethnic Tibetans remain among the most illiterate people in China. More than 40% of Tibetans have no formal schooling at all, compared with the Chinese national average of 8%.
What do we do in Lhasa?
Our Village in Lhasa opened in 2001. Since then, we have provided a proper, loving home to numerous children who can no longer live with their families. Without our support, these children could simply not benefit from the love and security that a family bestows.
Many of the children attending our Nursery come from the community outside our Village, attending alongside children in our care. As children grow up, we help them pursue their own individual interests, from learning to draw, doing gymnastics, learning other langauegs (including English), and taking up a musical instrument.
In 2007, we opened a youth home near the Village, which older boys move out to when they are approaching adulthood. Here, we support them on the next stage of their journey; providing guidance on all the life skills necessary to a successful life as an independent adult. Older boys from the Children's Village move to the youth home when they begin vocational training or go on to higher education.
Thanks to the care provided by SOS Children in Lhasa, children enjoy the chance of a better and more secure future. Will you sponsor a child here today?