Located in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India, the Dekyiling Handicraft Centre not only provides a steady income for Tibetan women, it also helps preserve their traditional handloom weaving and culture. Tibet Relief Fund has supported this centre for the past sixteen years, fixing the workshop roof, supplying incense-making machines and providing them with a truck to collect rubbish and recycling in the community.
2019 saw our support continue. Through the Kesang Wangdu Memorial Fund, set up in memory of the Centre’s late Manager, we provided two retired weavers with stipends of 45,000INR (approximately £500).
Mrs Namgyal Doma, 25 years old at the time, was forced to flee Tibet in 1959 when the Chinese government invaded, leaving her entire family behind. In 1963, she and her husband, Mr Chhophel, initially settled in Bhutan but due to the uncertainty that comes with being a refugee, they were made to relocate to India. After having lost their only child at a young age, Mr Chhophel worked as a road labourer and Mrs Doma as a weaver until neither could work anymore, due to health problems.
Like Mrs Namgyal, Mrs Tashi Dolma fled Tibet in 1959, at the young age of 19. She worked as a farmer for several years and then settled in Dehradun, where she learned how to use the hand loom at the Handicraft Centre. Although Mrs Dolma and her husband have children, they are all adults now and have their own families to tend to. Mrs Dolma and her husband are both retired due to health and mobility issues.
These yearly grants of £500 will allow both women to live comfortably through their twilight years and will also grant them access to doctors and medical assistance, should they need them. Thank you for making this possible through your donations.