SOS Children’s Village for Tibetans supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: Tibetan Children’s Villages).

Dharamsala is the winter capital of the state of Himachal Pradesh, in the upper north of India. Around 31,000 people live in this city. The Central Tibetan Administration is located in the city, and the Dalai Lama settled here in 1959, making it the centre of Tibetan exile in India. As Tibetans try to make a life for themselves in exile, they face many challenges. Children are most vulnerable to these difficult living conditions.

Since 1971, Tibetan Children’s Villages (an independent charity which is partly supported through SOS Children’s Villages' sponsorships) has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Dharamsala.

Of children are underweight

Children are malnurished

Himachal Pradesh, where Dharamsala is located, is one of the best perfroming states in terms of human development indicators. However, food insecurity is still recurrent, and many people still suffer from acute hunger. Parents in Himachal Pradesh struggle to provide enough nutritious food for their children. And thus, 25% of children are underweight. To be more specific, 30% of children in Himachal Pradesh experience stunting (low height for age), a result from undernutrition. Furthermore, 17% of children experience wasting (low weight for height), which occurs when a child has not had food of adequate quality and quantity.

Tibetan refugees in India

Children as refugees

To date, two generations of Tibetans have been born and brought up in exile in India, after the first emigration in 1959. Moreover, new refugees are still travelling from Tibet, autonomous region of China. They have often suffered repression which has led them to flee to India. The scars of such experiences remain with them. An estimated 90,000 Tibetan refugees live in exile in India. Dharamsala is home to the Central Tibetan Administration, and to the 14th Dalai Lama. Many Tibetan children are sent to Dharamsala by their parents who see this as the only way that their child will obtain a Tibetan education.

Your support makes a different for children in Dharamsala

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Learn at out kindergartens and schools
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Learning at school together. All the children in our care also go to kindergarten and school. This will help them become independent in the future (photo: Tibetan Children’s Villages).

How your support helps in Dharamsala

Providing quality education
SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children and young people have access to high-quality education, in accordance with their Tibetan beliefs. We help them learn and develop in a safe and supportive environment. We train teachers on children’s rights and child-centered learning, so that each child can get the most out of their education. Young children spend time playing and learning at kindergarten. This prepares them for primary school.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Here the children can build safe and lasting relationships. Due to the great number of children in need, homes may have up to thirty members and sometimes even more. In order to allow caregivers to spend more time looking after the children, all the meals are prepared at a central kitchen and then distributed to the homes. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare.