Ever since the fall of the Tibetan government in 1959, many people have been migrating out of Tibet to seek a better life. Gopalpur is one of many settlements in the north of India, home to a growing number of Tibetan Families. With the population in the region continuing to rise, there has been an increasing pressure on the area's resources.
Gopalpur is situated just south of Dharamsala - the largest Tibetan settlement in northern India. Here, the Dalai Lama lives along with the exiled Tibetan Administration. Together, they made encouraging progress in assisting the exiled populations. However, with the settlements continuing to grow at a rapid rate, food shortages and high unemployment is still a daily problem.
Limited resources under strain
The Tibetan settlements are a very popular travel destination for tourists from all over the world. Many people come here to experience and learn about the Tibetan way of life. Although this has provided residents with a source of income, making a living in the tourist industry has become a much more competitive environment in recent years.
Another sector in the region under strain is the farming industry. The most successful crops are rice, maize, ginger and vegetables. However, despite the fact that farmers are using modern agricultural methods, there are still shortages in the region. As a result many children are at great risk of suffering from malnutrition.
Children suffering in the Tibetan struggle
As the population in Gopalpur continues to rise, many families within the settlements are struggling to care for their children. Even when parents do manage to find employment, the decision of how to keep their children safe while they are at work is difficult. Because many of the schools in the region are now full, parents are forced to leave their children at home while they go to work.
Some children miss out the opportunity for education, and often end up working from a young age to support their families. Even when children are able to attend schools, they can experience difficulty when applying for educational grants to further their education.
How we help in Gopalpur
Our work within Tibetan settlements
We tackle the most prevalent issues facing children in the region around Gopalpur. By providing an SOS Day Care centre, parents can go to work knowing that their children are being cared for in a safe environment.
We also provide medical treatment services, where families can also benefit from nutritional aid and advice. Our SOS Primary and Secondary schools are recognised by the Tibetan authorities for their high standards of education.
Giving children another chance
Unfortunately, there are still occasions where parents are no longer able to take care of their children. In this situation we are able to provide children with a loving home in SOS Children’s Village.
When a child first arrives at our Village they are warmly greeted by their new SOS mother. To help the child settle into their new environment, she then shows them around, introducing them to all the other children.
Once the child is feeling more settled in, their SOS Mother introduces them to their new family home. There are many SOS family homes within the Village, each looked after by an experienced SOS mother. Here the children can grow up alongside other children of similar age and interests. Children from the Village attend our primary and secondary schools. This helps them stay in touch with their friends from around the settlement.
As a child reaches the end of their time in the Village, they begin planning for their future. With career guidance they are able to choose a path that is right for them. Once they have chosen between training programmes or further education, they are then able to make the first steps to independent life
We have been working within the Tibetan settlements since 1962. In this time we have witnessed a large number of families arriving in Gopalpur, trying desperately to start a new life. Vulnerable children in this region need your help. Please sponsor a child today.