Dharamsala - Little Tibet
Since 1959, Tibetans have been leaving Tibet in order to avoid persecution by Chinese authorities. Those exiled settle mainly in neighboring India, Nepal and Bhutan joining what is currently approximately 140,000 Tibetans living in exile.
Talented and skilled artists and craftsman are passing on their skills to the subsequent generations thanks to the hard work, determination and support of friends around the world. Due to such determination Tibetans living in exile are slowly recreating their beautiful monasteries in their new surroundings, keeping the traditional arts of Thangka painting and sculpture alive.
The journey by foot across the Himalayas is arduous and unrelenting. At best, such a journey can take 18 days, but in many cases much longer. With the constant fear of being caught and handed over to the Chinese Authorities, this journey is both physically and mentally exhausting. New arrivals at the refuge centres are easily recognisable by their scorched faces and frost bitten fingers.
With a growing population of second generation Tibetans as well as an increased number of exiles fleeing Chinese occupied Tibet, resources and employment opportunities are becoming increasingly difficult to find.
‘Door to the Himalayas’ is working with Choedon a young Tibetan mother who lives in Dharamsala, North India. Like many of the Tibetans who fled over the Himalayas into neighbouring Nepal and India since the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950, she escaped her homeland with a small group of nuns and monks in order to follow the teachings of their Spiritual leader H. H. The Dalai Lama.
Working with chaitable organisations such as the Tibetan Childrens Village, the Tibetan Refuge Centre as well as with enterprising individuals the ‘Choedon’ collection aims to bring us a taste of Tibet, as well as develop trade opportunities for Tibetans in exile.
The Autonomous Region of Tibet (TAR) represents just one third of the Tibet that was invaded in 1950. (In addition the provinces of Amdo and Kham make up the other two thirds of the country