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In the Begining

Louisiana Himalaya Association “LHA” was created to form a cultural and social service bridge between the Tibetan Refugees in Northern India and the people elsewhere that have so much to learn from their wisdom. LHA has been working with the Tibetan Refugees in India since 1997.

The organization had its beginnings in one tiny room in a Tibetan monastery in Dharamsala, India. Soon more volunteers and supporters joined in and in 2000 the program moved into the first LHA building that housed a small computer classroom, an English language class, a medical supply room and a craft shop. One of the staff members organized volunteers to teach English and computer skills while the other staffed the craft shop and the leprosy assistance project.

 

Steps Along the Way

By 2002 the small building could no longer support the level of activity. With the help of some generous supporters, an annex building was opened with eight new computers and two new full-time Tibetan staff positions. After continued growth, in 2004 LHA moved into its current location, owned by the Tibetan Handicraft Coop. This move was perfect in many ways, it gave LHA the space it needed to expand and all rent paid went directly back into the Tibetan Community. The Tibetan handcraft COOP is a group of over 300 Tibetan families. Until recently, the building has been excellent for expanding the provided services and for accommodating the growing number of volunteers looking to assist, as well as the growing number of Tibetans seeking assistance.

One of the main goals of the founders of LHA back in 1997 was to create an organization that would one day be totally self-sufficienct and sustainable . In 2005, in a move towards total self sufficiency and sustainability, the Tibetan staff members of LHA established Lha Charitable Trust! Their own non-profit social service organization officially recognized by the government of India. Moving much closer to that goal with the establishment of Lha Charitable Trust, our Tibetan friends now had their own Board of Directors consisting solely of members of the Tibetan community; the staff members had learned to run the organization and make all their own business decisions. The Lha staff identified and developed services for the tourist population. These services they provide generate enough funds for the organization to successfully and self-sufficiently operate (except for building rent ). They started off by offering tourists an array of services including Tibetan language classes, Tibetan cooking classes, Yoga, massage and translating services .They raised enough money to pay their seven full-time salaries, utilities, phone and any other necessary repairs or maintenance, while still offering all classes and services Free of charge to hundreds of Tibetan refugees each month.The only dependency issue facing our Tibetan friends of Lha Charitable Trust at this point was the $10,000 annual building rent.

Through the ongoing fundraising activities of the LHA team in Louisiana, and all our generous doners from around the globe, enough funds continued to be raised to pay that annual building rent with extra funds generted to focus on other needed projects throughout the community.

 

The Big Leap

In 2007, the opportunity for our Tibetan friends of Lha Charitable Trust to move into Full Self Sufficienct and Sustainability, presented itself. A newly built 4- story building was offered to the organization. It was most accommodating, and with the Help of the Louisiana Himalaya Association, achievable and quickly acquired. The building is nestled in the Himalaya Mountains alongside the home and Temple of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. Our Tibetan friends say that when things happen so perfectly it is an auspicious sign showing that we are moving in the right direction!

 

Lha Charitable Trust now has its new home!

The New Building assures that the social services being provided will continue long into the future "Sustainability" and that our Tibetan Friends of LHA Charitable Trust are no longer dependent on outside sources to get the bills paid " Self Sufficiency". The building is providing much more than was originally expected! The organization will be able to manage both locations. The bottom two floors of the New Building offer just enough room for the organization to expand its service programs. The two top floors are being used for accomodating Volunteers and University Student Groups that would otherwise be paying rent at Hotels. This rental income is enough to pay the rent on the original service building owned by the Tibetan Handcraft Coop, thus assuring that the Tibetan Families of the Coop will also continue to receive their income.

In an incredible Happy Home Feeling Environment, the organization has grown to provide these following services:

  • Over 300 Tibetans attend Free Classes daily and many more receive social services
  • 14 Language classes - English, Chinese, French, Spanish and Tibetan are all taught
  • 3 computer classes are held Daily on Computors donated by the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
  • As Volunteers Instructors are available courses are also offeded in Photography, Massage and Yoga
  • The Donation Drop off Center collects and distributes large amounts of Clothing and Medical supplies.
  • Two Public Libraries
  • A Community News Paper
  • Medical, Eye Care, Environment and Health Education Programs are regularly undertaken.
  • In this past year alone, 357 volunteers from 39 different countries served through the volunteer coordination program. These volunteers provide their skills and time throughout the Tibetan Community on one hand while on the other have a very personal growing experience. This Connection promotes Awareness of the Tibetan Situation and offers the volunteer the learning opportunity of a lifetime. These volunteers leave with Knowledge of the Tibetan Struggle and Wisdom gained from the Tibetan People that will be of incredible Benefit to themselves and the Communiites they go home to.

 

Big plans for the bottom floor of the New Building are in the works to address Food/Health needs - A Community Kitchen !

© 2009 - 2010 Louisiana Himalaya Association Inc, USA / India
Developed & Maintained at : HimalayanInfotech.com