Working on Tibet’s Future, From India
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
DHARAMSALA, India — In a spacious classroom in this northern Indian hill town, 20 young Tibetan men and women sit in front of computers as the summer monsoon rains fall outside.
A woman instructs them in Tibetan on how to use Microsoft Word and Gmail, while other students practice typing by following a keyboard graphic on their screens. They are attending a free computer course at a Tibetan Career Center, opened last year on a busy hillside road in Dharamsala, the exile home of the Dalai Lama and about 12,000 other Tibetans.
The center prepares young Tibetans for jobs through career counseling, mock interviews and résumé writing workshops, and by linking them to potential employers. The program is run by the Tibetan exile administration, which is based in Dharamsala, to foster job readiness and entrepreneurship among Tibetans ages 16 and up. Jigmey Tsultrim, head consultant at the center, said: “Some Tibetans don’t realize they have these hidden qualities. We’re trying to match them with job opportunities and bridge the gap.”
The program is important, considering that up to 22 percent of exiled young Tibetans in India and Nepal are unemployed, according to a 2009 survey by Technoserve, a United States-based nonprofit advising the project, which is financed by the United States Agency for International Development. The unemployment rate among young Indian adults is only about 10 percent.
This little-known but important work is overshadowed by the stream of deadly news out of Tibet. Since 2009, at least 120 Tibetans have died by self-immolation to protest repression of religious freedom and basic rights by the Chinese.