Tibetan refugees have been traveling to the town of Dehradun to live in exile since 1959. With the population in surrounding settlements rising, families are finding it difficult to provide for their children.
Occasionally, periods of unrest in Tibet cause a surge in the number of families migrating to Dehradun. However there are also many occasions where children arrive in the settlements by themselves. This is because parents want their children to have a Tibetan education, and see no way to obtain it in Tibet.
The strain on limited resources
Over the past two decades the region's economy has shown positive signs of growth. Tourism is an important source of income for many residents. From this, the town has also been able to grow a variety of commercial industries.
Despite this, many families are still struggling to make a living in the settlements around Dehradun. A high level of competition among traders in the tourist sector has forced some families to look elsewhere for work. As a result, many parents don't earn enough income to support their children.
Access to education
Since arriving in 1959, the exiled Tibetan Government has made continual improvements to preserve Tibetan culture. Schools, healthcare centres and training courses have been set-up to help children pursue a better quality of life.
However, due to the sheer number of Tibetans migrating to Dehradun each year, the educational facilities are now full. As a consequence, children are not receiving the tuition they need to move on to further education.
How we help in Dehradun
Supporting Tibetan children
We have a long history of working within the Tibetan settlements. Our first SOS Children’s Village was established in Mussoorie in 1962. However, due to the number of children arriving at the settlement at that time, the Village quickly reached full capacity. We constructed a second village close by in Mussoorie-Happy Valley, but it became clear that even more could be done to help the increasing population. This is why we decided to build our third Children’s Village in Dehradun.
SOS Children’s Village in Dehradun
In spite of our support to local families, there are still occasions where children become unable to receive the care they need. In this situation, they can find a loving home in our Children’s Village in Dehradun.
When a child first arrives at our Children's Village, a priority for SOS mothers is to help them feel comfortable in their new environment. By showing them around the Village, they have the chance to interact with other children from SOS families and make friends.
There are many families in our Village, each cared for in the loving atmosphere of a family home. With an SOS mother looking after each house, the children are able to grow up alongside other children. The younger children attend the SOS Nursery, while the older children benefit from the nearby SOS School.
As time goes on, the older children are given help preparing for adulthood and life outside the Village. With the support of qualified professionals, they make plans to further their education or training, or make their first steps into the wider world.
We first started working within the Tibetan settlements in 1963. Since then, our efforts in the region have increased year on year, protecting the lives of children at risk. Will you sponsor a child in Dehradun?