It’s been an amazing summer here in Gibsons and we’ve been relaxing into it, with swimming, Music in the Landing and friends over for dinner on the deck. Our Tibetan family is settling into their own lovely home, where Tibetan flags flying outside the house greet visitors and a beautiful altar gives their living room a tranquil feeling.
Our five year Tibetan Resettlement Project is past the halfway mark now. Of the 1000 people who won the lottery in Arunachal Pradesh, fewer than 200 have settled in Canada. Many of those waiting to come will not make it: time is running out and Canadian sponsors are few are far between.
Arunachal Pradesh, where all the applicants for this resettlement project come from, is the northernmost of the six Indian Tribal States, nestled between Myanmar and Bhutan, and south of China. China has laid claim to more than half the state, although it is still under Indian Army rule.
Life for Tibetans living in this remote place is harsh; His Holiness the Dalai Lama considers that there is no future for them there. Families are very poor unless the breadwinner works away from home, as is the case in many families. Even then money earned is quite limited. The main jobs available are in the Tibetan-Nepalese regiment of the Indian Army, where Tibetans are paid wages lower than their Indian counterparts.
In order to get a decent education, Tibetan children are also separated from their families, attending Tibetan boarding schools farther south in the state of Himachal Pradesh, if they are fortunate enough to have sponsors.
Don and I are looking to form our second sponsorship group, to sponsor a Tibetan couple who will live in our home, beginning in the latter part of 2015. We need three committed sponsors who live in the Gibsons area to form a group.
I can assure you, that although the commitment is a big one, what you will get back far exceeds what you put in. If you are interested in joining with us in Gibsons, or working with others in the Sechelt area, we would like to meet with you. I’m sure the Tibetan families now on the Sunshine Coast would be happy to speak with you also.
Tashi delek (Tibetan for blessings)