NO "TOUR GROUP" LIMITATIONS
YOU WANT TO GO
WE TAKE YOU!
LIST OF TIBETAN ORPHANAGES
TIBETAN ORPHANAGE VOLUNTEER STAY
TIBETAN ADOPTION INFORMATION
HELP TIBETAN ORPHANS DURING YOUR TRIP
Starfish Story as I
One day a learned man was walking down the beach and noticed
a little figure in the distance, moving like a dancer. As he
grew closer, he saw a little girl in a pink bathing suit.
She wasn’t dancing, but bending down over and over again,
throwing something into the sea.
When he got closer he realized she was picking up starfish
that had washed up on the sand. The man chuckled and shook
his head, “Why are you throwing those starfish into the
The little girl pointed up, “The sun is hot and the tide is
going out. If I don’t throw them in, they will die.”
At hearing this the man replied, “Don’t you see that there
are thousands of starfish along many miles of beach? Your
little effort can’t possibly make much of a difference.”
The little girl looked up at him with big blue eyes and then
bent down again. She picked up another starfish and threw it
into the water. As the wave took it away, she smiled and
said, “It made a difference to that one.”
MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
YOU KNOW YOU TOO CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE BY INCLUDING A
BIT OF VOLUNTEERING ON YOUR TRIP TO TIBET. THAT'S WHY YOU'VE
STOPPED BY THIS PAGE. EVEN IF YOU DROP
BY ON YOUR WAY TO THE AIRPORT WITH A CASH DONATION, SHOES,
TOILETRIES, BALL CAPS, SUNSCREEN LOTION, SCHOOL SUPPLIES,
BAND-AIDS, ANYTHING! THERE ARE LOTS OF
ORPHANAGES IN LOTS OF PLACES IN TIBETAN AREAS AND THE
AUTONOMOUS REGION. LOOK OVER THE FEW TIBETAN ORPHANAGES LISTED BELOW AND
CONTACT THEM TO SEE HOW YOU CAN HELP OUT. AFTER YOU SEE
THEIR LITTLE FACES LIGHT UP AT THE SMALLEST GIFT OR SERVICE,
YOUR LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.
"For too many,
responsibility seems to end with hand-wringing and
exclamations of dismay.Yet talk without action accomplishes
little. We need to be vigorously engaged in the world."
Elder Robert S. Wood
TIBETAN AREA ORPHANAGES
Tibet Autonomous Region
Social Welfare Institutes (SWI)
Institutes (CWI) and private orphanages
LHASA TIBETAN ORPHANAGES
XINING TIBETAN ORPHANAGES
Modern Tibet is developing and changing rapidly. Much of
this change leaves many Tibetans without jobs and no way to
support their children. Chinese own most businesses and hire
mainly Chinese workers. See
economy. Tourism is about
the only hope Tibetans have for finding work. Most of the
children living in Dickey Orphanage have been orphaned by
accidents, illness, or abandoned as a result of economic
truly heart wrenching. Yet, each child at Dickey orphanage
is provided with education, medical care, and daily doses of
love. Because none of the children know where or when they
were born, September 10th is everyone's birthday! Would you
like to come in September? It's a great season to see Tibet
and an easier time to get permits. Dickey orphanage is
located on the outskirts of Lhasa, run by a kind Tibetan
woman, Tamdrin Dadhon, or "Mama".
September of 2002 she sold her family jewels and together
with the proceeds of her meager tea house, opened the
orphanage to care for local orphans and street children.
"My visit to the Dickey orphanage three
years ago has had the most profound effect on how I have
accepted each day since. My travels have taken me far away
from home, and Tibet, and yet I am drawn to that smiling
face from Lhasa. And, even though I was quite “blown away"
by the country and the Potala, it was the orphanage that had
the greatest emotional impact on me."
This orphanage school opened in March, 2005 in the area of
town near Kumbum Monastery. The goal of this orphanage school is
to help orphans and disabled children from poor families.
Help also goes out to poor
children from families who can’t pay the extraordinary school
costs and fees. Without being in the orphanage they would
not have any chance to go school and study. The children are from every
corner of Tibetan areas, some kids from Lhasa (Nachu),
Gansu and other places. Contact the Tibetan Buddhist Culture and Art Service
Center as the head of this orphanage works in this group too.
The goal of Kumbum orphanage school is to give a modern education
children so that they can grow up to support themselves and
their families. In this school all children must not only
work to support themselves by painting thankas and
harvesting, but they are taught that the benefits of the
orphanage life is temporary, soon they will grow and need to
go out into the world to support themselves.
Beyond the entrance to this school, there is
not a special
class room to study. There are only a few tables and chairs.
To house the children the head of the orphanage, with his
own money, rents a few shacks situated around a courtyard.
This orphanage is far more basic and without than many
others in Tibetan areas because presently they have no western volunteers
or helper’s to help them. They are very happy to welcome
volunteers to work with them. The children work in the fields
and paint Thankgas to bring in enough for food.
This orphanage is in dire need for many
things, including money for teacher salaries,
salary, heat in make-shift class room and dormitory in winter,
a school buidling, coal and food. Needed very bad is an Art
Teacher to teach how to paint Tibetan Thangkas. A salary for
Teacher is higher than regular teachers because there are so
few of them. They have land for a building, but no
money to build it.
Story about kids:
Tenzing Sangjie (boy) 12 years old from Lhasa
( Nachu County), had a car accident which crushed his head.
As an orphan
he stayed with his uncle but his uncle has many children and can’t
help him any more. Someone introduced him to this
Orphanage School. "This school gave me a second chance at life."
Tsege Tso (girl), was born in Oct, 1990.
She's from Qinghai. Her father died many years ago. After
that her mother
married someone and left her with her grandmother. After her
mother came and sold their field and left her behind. She has one sister
and one brother.
Tupa Kyb (boy) was born in Feb, 1992. He's
Gansu. His father died and his mother married another man so
Tupa stayed with his 74 year-old blind grandmother with no
chance for an education until he came here.
The address of the Orphanage School:
Kumbum Jampaling Orphan School.
Headmaster Name: Samdrup Tsering
Mobile Phone No: +8613327665583
Qinghai province Xining City Nanchuan Xilu Hong Xing Cun No.
Contact Kalsang in Xining
if you wish to work or help this orphanage while in Tibet.
Warithang Orphanage School
Zadou (Yushu area)
Choudon orphanage is located in one of the narrow
backstreets behind the Potala Palace in Lhasa. From the
street, steps lead up to a set of carved double doors set
into a cement wall. When the doors open, the sound of
children playing spills into the street. We step through the
doors into a narrow courtyard that is literally filled with
children. They are excited by the novelty of visitors,
particularly Westerners, and, in the manner of children
around the world, are laughing, yelling and crowding around
us to get a good look at the "Ingie" (foreigners).
Nyima, the director of the orphanage,
introduces himself and some of the teachers. Apart from
Nyima, there are 6 teachers working at Choudon. The
orphanage was started 4 years ago, when Nyima lost his job
as a tour guide and began to teach English to some of the
children. Like a beautiful plant it grew from there!
Orphanage, formerly the Choudon Preschool, was founded by
Tibetan grandmother Rinzin Choudon of the Gundeling
Neighborhood Committee in Chengguan District,
Lhasa. It is located in the
compound of the Loving Hearts Kindergarten in Ngaqen
Township. After Rinzin Choudon passed away, her youngest son
Nyema carried on her good work.
There are currently 36 children in the
orphanage, aged between 2 and 14. There they learn Chinese,
Tibetan, mathematics, English and gymnastics. So far, three
kids have graduated from the school. Two are working in
Lhasa as tour guides, and one is now a primary school
There a thousands of
semi-orphans and orphans in many of the Tibetan regions of
China. They are living on the very fringes of society
without even a meal to eat. Their parents have died. With
only rags to shelter them from the frigid temperatures of
the high Tibetan Plateau, many will not live through their
Since Tibetans do not all
speak Chinese, some of them have no hope of finding jobs to
support themselves, let alone pay for schooling. To
complicate the problem, in many areas that are no schools,
leave aside good or bad ones. Without food or education or
training these children won't survive. They need food and
shelter and warm clothing now. They need education and
training in order to work to feed themselves once they are
too old for orphanage care.
While some people can see and do nothing to help the
suffering of innocent little people, others are compelled to
do something, even for just one of them.
Zaduo County is located in the southwest
of Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province,
Peoples Republic of China, previously Tibet. It comprises
the headwaters of the Mekong River. There is 1 town and 7
townships. The population of Zaduo County is 36,000, of
which the majority is Tibetan. Zaduo County is entirely
based on animal husbandry. Zaduo County is reputed to have
some of the best caterpillar fungus in the entire Tibetan
Dam Cho Dawa Rinpoche and Chodrak Orphanage
Lhasa and Zhongdian
looks after 42 children in the
and another 32 in China's Yunnan Province. Despite being no
blood relation, the children all call her their auntie.
Tendol Gyalzur, a Swiss passport holder, now travels by air
between her three homes. But she spends most of the time
with her children in Toelung of central Tibet. Her new home,
the Children's Charity Tendol Gyalzur, is a row of two-story
Tibetan houses with a small garden.
"I am an orphan myself and I had
always thought that one day I would do something for other
orphans," Tendol said, while entertaining her guests with
tea and sweets in her sitting room. Tendol cannot remember
her exact age or birthplace because she said she was adopted
at a very young age. She moved from somewhere in Tibet,
first to India, and then to Germany and finally settling in
Switzerland after she got married. Decades later in 1990,
she returned to Tibet for the first time. Unlike other
travelers who were immediately struck by the local religion
and landscape, all Tendol could see were street children.
She decided to help. "There are orphans all over the world,
but I am Tibetan and I wanted to help the orphans of Tibet."
Tendol took her savings of US$26,000
and traveled to Tibet. She went to the Tibet Development
Fund in Lhasa and told them she wanted to rent a house for
an orphanage. But they told her it would be better in the
long run to build a permanent home for children. They
offered her free land for the project. The easy-going Tendol
found a place at Toelung, about 10 kilometres southwest of
Lhasa and began to build the orphanage in May 1993. When the
orphanage opened on October 6, 1993, Tendol took in seven
children. In 1997, the charity built another house in the
Tibetan-populated area of Gyalthang in Yunnan Province. It
was not an easy process, Tendol said, but one particular
incident made her determined to succeed.
One cold winter's day, she saw two
children in rags begging. She took them to a restaurant but
the manager refused to serve them. "I was furious and fought
with him and forced him to let us in and have something to
eat," she said. "From that time on, I realized that the only
thing I wanted to do was to fight for the rights of these
Her fight has won support from local
people and authorities as well as friends in Austria,
Germany and Switzerland. Even her husband, an electrician,
has come to join her. At 61, her husband, Gyalzur Losang
Tsultim, is now in charge of the orphanage at Gyalthang. It
is also a Tibetan style house that provides shelter for
another 32 children.
The couple's own children, two
grown-up sons, now work in Switzerland. Her family pictures
as well as those of her other children are hung side by side
on the wall of the sitting room in Toelung orphanage. There
are also certificates of merit, awarded to her children by
their schools, displayed on the shelves.
She is happy to see that her children
are doing well and wants to make sure that every one of her
74 children - 30 girls and 44 boys - in her home has every
opportunity. "I want them to grow into independent people
who will contribute to society," she said. "This is the
responsibility of every parent."
Tendol has a 29-year-old helper,
Tsamchoe, in Toelung, and she calls her the "greatest woman
in the world." The children call the quiet and hard-working
Tsamchoe their mother. All the children in the orphanage are
assigned responsibilities. The elder ones have to help the
younger ones and the little ones are asked to do things such
as pick up rubbish. "They learn by example," she said.
Every week they must take at least
three baths. "When they first came they refused to do so
because they were not used to the habit. Some Tibetans
believe that taking a bath would make them sick," she
explained. And a boy from a pastoral background did not want
to use the toilet since he was so used to the open
countryside. "I told him that there were little insects that
wanted him to feed them and he went. He has since changed,"
Tendol said with delight.
She was also delighted to tell
visitors that six of the 42 children in her Toelung home are
now studying at middle schools in China's interior.
"I am so happy that the kids are
tolerant and sensitive. When I am in low spirit some of them
will go and pick flowers for me," she said. "I get most
satisfaction from them. This is something you cannot buy
The orphanage at Chodrak Monastery was
founded by Khenpo Dam Cho Dawa Rinpoche, a senior teacher at
Chodrak Monastery, in response to the growing numbers of
young children who were orphaned or whose parents were
unable to provide for them.
The majority of the people of Kham province
are traditionally farmers and nomads. Farmers were able to
grow enough food to feed their families and a little more
that could be traded for necessities such as tea. Nomads
grazed yaks, sheep and goats, and raised horses that could
also be traded.
of the farmers and nomads don’t earn a cash income; rather
they exchange goods as needed. The land reforms introduced
by the government over the last forty years, greatly
restricting grazing areas, has had a very adverse effect on
the Khampas’ ability to maintain their lifestyle. The
problems created by the harsh conditions in Eastern Tibet,
which had historically contributed to an early mortality
rate, have been compounded by government policies such as
resettlement and the change from a barter to cash economy.
those who have a chance to earn a cash income have great
difficulty paying for necessities such as medical fees and
often forego medical treatment for lack of money. Khenpo Dam
Cho Dawa built Chodrak orphanage to provide food,
accommodation and an education for children who would
otherwise be forced to beg for survival in a poor and remote
part of Tibet.
you would like to help Venerable Sonam Tenzin Rinpoche and
Khenpo Dam Cho Dawa continue to provide for the children of
Chodrak Orphanage, please email Rinpoche at
for a free copy of the DVD.
The Lhasa Jatson Chumig
Poor Snow Land
School in Golok
Chumig Welfare Special School in Lhasa, Tibet, is a
non-profit, charitable institution run by Tibetans for
handicapped, orphaned, and destitute children of Tibet.
Since our founding in 1993, the school has been providing
these children with a supportive, nurturing home (housing,
food and clothes) and a basic education of six years. We
also provide vocational job training, as well as entrance
into middle school, high school and the university. It is
our goal to give these children a future where there
otherwise would not be one.
Jatson Chumig Welfare Special School has won awards for
being "the most successful educational/orphanage program in
Tibet" yet needs your financial support in being able to
remain a success.
This orphanage was founded by a
Tibetan who returned to his hometown in Golok (Amdo) after
studying English for a few years in India. Golok is in a
remote area officially recognized as being one of the
poorest areas in Tibet. There are 62 orphans in the school.
If you are going to Golob, please contact this orphanage and
send us their contact info. Thanks!
Sengdruk Taktse School
"All over this world, Tibet is known as the pureland where
dharma and secular affairs are one. Happier than the divine
realms, more glorious and satisfying than the naga realm,
joyful like an expanding summer lake. Everyone has come to
know (of Tibet) in this way.
However, due to the power of various outer and inner
circumstances, education here has now fallen behind.
Attendance of children at school is sparse, especially that
of children from poor families, and orphans are unable to
attend school. Not only that, there are many people in the
population who are illiterate.
Due to reasons such as these, the prosperity, politics, and
culture of this region have all been greatly impacted. If
things continue in this way, there is a very great danger
that this culture will disappear altogether.
Therefore, in order to restore culture, to advance the
socio-economic and academic situation, to ensure that there
will be many learned and intelligent people in Tibet's
future, and especially in order to create a new happiness
for children from poor families and children with no
parents, the pure minded, altruistic, Choktrul Thubten Norbu
Rinpoche, and myself Jigmed Kunzang Gyaltsen, with the
permission of the government, have completed the building of
a school that will protect nomad children, especially
orphans and children from poor families.
Due to the poverty in this land, the condition of the
schools have become extremely poor. Even if one only only
gives one cent, that donation will definitely go to use. I
am requesting from the bottom of my heart that those who are
endowed with love and compassion please help in any way they
Some volunteers have already traveled to
Tibet and stayed for extended periods of time at Sengdruk
Taktse School. Volunteering can also be in the form of grant
writing, public outreach, networking, fundraising, and web
design etc… We love to hear from enthusiastic people who may
have ideas about how to help. If you would like to
volunteer, please contact us and we will get back to you as
soon as possible.
Shuul orphanage is located on the road from the Lhasa
airport to the city. The orphanage is run by an elderly
couple, and is somewhat subsidized by the Chinese
government. Being in a rural area it has more space and
better facilities. The children have classes on campus and
the older children go to the local school. Their bathing and
toilet facilities are quite substandard. Generally half the
cost of schooling is carried by the government, because the
kids are orphan.
they are expected to raise the other half by themselves. One
year for a child at the present state of the economy in
China costs as follows: $150 for school fees; $150 for food;
$100 for clothes; and $100 for books, school supplies and
medicines like vitamins or a total of $500 per year.
In 1998 Peggy raised $30,000 to help the very poor village
of Chushul build an orphanage. The local government provided
the land, the community in the Chushul Valley provided the
labor and the nearby monastery loaned their truck.
With the help of the Tibet Fund, the money was wired in
April and the locals went to work.
August, the initial building was completed - a beautiful
two-story home with hand-painted beams and bunk beds to the
ceiling. It included a classroom with a library full of
books. It is now home for 26 children, including those who
are in higher studies outside. The hope is to reach the
capacity of 30 children in-house by the end of 2009.
In the last ten years,
with the financial help of sponsors and on-site support of
others, the orphanage has evolved to its present state. A
greenhouse, a new kitchen/family room, a playground and a
fence to enclose the property have all been added.
Now, we have this important project for 2009. We will be
building a proper bathroom with several showers, toilets and
sinks, an important step forward towards providing and
plan is to build an attached building for showers, toilets,
sinks and lockers. Toilets and sinks will be in the front
and you will walk further into the building to showers and
lockers. The showers will be 3’ square with a 6” wide
divider between showers, with a 3’ walkway in front and
lockers across the opposite wall. Right now the plan is for
four showers, four toilets and four sinks. If there is
enough money, we will improve the existing shower room by
the gate and add toilets so that it could serve as the boy’s
bathroom and the new building attached at the back of the
main house can be for the girls. There will have to be a
septic tank dug as far away from the river as possible. This
could be the biggest expense, but we shall see. We will
begin construction this spring.
Tibetan Orphanage Initiative
Theosophical Order of Service
PO Box 660
Warrrenville, IL 60555
The orphanage was founded by two Tibetans
originally from the surrounding area, Dorjee and Sanji, with
support from the local government. (During the time of their
preparation for the orphanage, Sanji, one of the partners,
died from stroke.)
The orphanage in the Waka village was opened in September
2004 with 25 selected children. Now Dorjee is in charge of
everything regarding to the children and their study.
The Waka Orphanage School was established in
September 2004. Its objective is to take care of Tibetan
orphans or children from poor single parent families and
sponsor them to go to school. We put strong emphasis on
learning of Tibetan culture, history and language. Children
live together in the housing provided and attend the same
school. We provide all things that are necessary for them to
live and stay at school.
The children are from Ganzi Tibetan
Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province (Kham, or Eastern
part of Tibet). Currently we have 30 students: 12 orphans
and 18 from very poor single parent families. The children
are from 7 to 13 years old and are chosen from the poorest
families in the Kham area with the help of a local
government officer. Most of them never go to school before,
and some went to school for very short time. You are welcome
to visit and stay, play with the kids or explore areas
surrounding Waka. Please note that the school is closed in
July and August.
KYITSEL-LING which roughly translate to a place for growing
up in happiness was the name given by His Holiness The Dalai
Lama to the education center that we built at Clement Town
(1997). Kyitsel-ling, Clement Town, is a boarding hostel for
needy Tibetan children that also provides quality
Adoption of Tibetan Children
Many people have written to ask us about
adopting a Tibetan child from one of the many Tibetan
orphanages in the TAR or other parts of "Tibetan" China. In
trying to get answers, they all seem to lead to one very sad
answer. Although claims are made that there are no Tibetan
orphans, or that they are all been cared for just fine. With
research, it seems Tibetan's are not considered Chinese
citizens (at least not at universities) and without
citizenship, Tibetan children cannot be adopted out as
Chinese orphans either. With so many destitute Tibetans
unable to find work, it seems China would be happy to find
good homes anywhere in the world for these undernourished
young people who have little hope of any reliable future.
But here's the tangled problems.
First of all, there are usually two basic
steps involved in any international adoption by U.S.
citizens and it's likely the same for other countries. The
first is the actual adoption. The second is the acquisition
of an adoption visa for the child so that the child could
enter the country legally. It's not like you can swim over
the border with the child!
Thus, a child must be adopted under the laws of his/her
country of citizenship. Hummm, what happens when there is no
legal citizenship? The other option is for the child to be
placed with a family under a decree of guardianship from the
child's country of citizenship for adoption in the U.S. The
Tibetan child living in Dharamsala is not a citizen of
India, since she/he is a refugee from another country; thus,
she/he could not be adopted or placed with a guardian for
adoption in the U.S. under Indian law. Apparently exceptions
can be made. See Richard Gere's story below.
If the child is considered a Chinese citizen (and the
Chinese consider Tibet to be part of China, even if many
Tibetans do not), she must be adopted under Chinese law.
However, if Tibetans are being turned away from university
for not being a Chinese citizen (even with full payment in
hand) it becomes questionable if Tibetans have a right to
any citizenship anywhere.
apparently, Chinese law would make
adoption of a Tibetan child fairly impossible. All referrals
of children to foreigners must be made by the China Center
for Adoption Affairs, a branch of the Chinese government.
But in 2008 China announced they would no longer adopt out
Chinese children to foreigners, having enough Chinese
willing to take in the orphaned.
The only exception would be in the case of a child that is
in China's "special needs" program. In that case, a few U.S.
agencies are permitted by the CCAA to show information on
selected special needs children to American families. The
children's dossiers must be given to the agencies by the
CCAA. If a family expresses an interest in a particular
child, the agency would send the family's dossier to China,
which would formally make the referral. Special needs can be
children with extreme medical issues, deformed, brain
damaged, etc. These, it appears, China is willing to let go.
It is not clear what can be done in the case of stateless
children, which the Tibetan child might be considered. Since
many Tibetans recognize only a "government in exile", there
would not appear to be a legal authority in Tibet that could
legitimately agree to their adoption. Until the
international community pressures China into allowing Tibet
areas to be governed by Tibet citizens or until China gives
citizenship to Tibetan children and allows adoption, it
appears most orphans will be raised in orphanages in very
dire circumstances. Without independent foreign aid, these
children suffer greatly.
If you chose to adopt a "special needs"
child from China (likely not a Tibetan child), you would
have to work through a licensed U.S. agency, which would
have to submit your paperwork to the China Center for
Adoption Affairs (CCAA), which would choose a child for you
from one of its orphanages.
more on the children's dilemma.
The U.S. will not grant an adoption visa
to any child who has not been either: a) legitimately
adopted under the laws of his/her country of citizenship, or
b) placed under the guardianship of a family by the country
of his/her citizenship, with the understanding that he/she
will be adopted in the U.S.
It might be possible to obtain some other sort of visa that
would allow you to bring a child to the U.S. for medical
care or for education. Contact a reputable immigration
attorney in the U.S. to explore alternatives.
Richard Gere To Adopt
Tibetan Twins Richard Gere
and his new bride Carey Lowell are to adopt Tibetan orphan
twins to complete their family. The newlyweds, already have
two children – Homer, two, and Hannah, 12, who is former
Bond girl Lowell's daughter from a previous marriage, and
now they plan to add to their brood.
Gere has been a practicing Buddhist for decades, first in
Zen and then in Tibetan Buddhism. He has frequently met
with, and been taught by, the Dalai Lama. Gere is so serious
about his latest plans for fatherhood he has even sought
advice from the Dalai Lama, according to American tabloid
GLOBE. A pal says, "Richard is thrilled at the prospect of
adopting two needy Tibetan children."
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