2003 HUMANITARIAN AWARD
Tibetan Children’s Village
Following the occupation of Tibet in 1959, a large number of Tibetan children were orphaned or separated from their families while fleeing their homeland. In 1960, a nursery was developed for 51 of the ill and malnourished child refugees in India.
Today, after 43 years of full-time commitment from Jetsun Pema, the nursery has expanded into five villages that include residential and day schools, day-care centers, vocational training centers, youth hostels and an outreach program. More than 26,000 children have passed through Tibetan Children’s Village, and another 15,000 are currently there under Pema’s care. These children live in conditions modeled after a normal Tibetan household. They are raised as brothers and sisters, sharing in daily chores and tasks.
Pema greatly emphasizes the role of the mother. Through their love and affection, the foster mothers enable the children to develop into physically, mentally and emotionally healthy individuals. Demonstrating a strong love for the children in her work, Pema is known as “Ama la,” respected mother, throughout the villages.