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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Tibetech reaches out with technology, education for exiled communities

August 11, 2010

The Union (California)
August 9, 2010

Editor's note: Tibetech is an offshoot of Sierra
Friends of Tibet, the group that brings Buddhist
monks to western Nevada County each year to create mandalas of colored sand.

Q: What is your mission?

A: Creating bridges among Tibetan communities in
exile through technology, including website
development, telemedicine, cultural exchange,
workshops, distance learning, teaching English,
tuition assistance and training.

Q: What is your yearly budget? How many paid employees?

A: About $7,000 annually. We all are volunteers, with no paid staff.

Q: What is your history?

A: The local ad hoc group Sierra Friends of Tibet
met for many years, establishing in
2003 as a nonprofit to use technology resources
and grants. We are the same group of core
volunteers as Friends of Tibet, whose mission
addresses the politics of the Tibetan diaspora.

Q: Who is your primary audience?

A: Everyone who cares deeply about humanity and
has a desire to know about the unique Tibetan
people. Those interested in seeing direct,
measurable results which come about by getting
technology directly into the hands of a people who have a story to share.

Q: List your biggest achievements.

A: Tibetan parents will do anything to get their
children a spiritual education, and they can't
get it in Tibet, so they send them out of the
country, and those nunneries and monasteries in
exile are spilling over with new arrivals.

Tibetech has:

* Established a website for three Tibetan
nunneries and two 600-year old monastic
institutions, all of which house and teach many children.

* Placed nine computers in Tibetan resettlement
camps across India, including in a Tibetan high
school youth hostel, so children can keep in
touch with their parents who live in other camps.

* Sent nuns to computer class so they can teach others. "Each One Teach One."

Q: List your biggest challenges.

A: The rapid deterioration of an extremely
fragile culture, and language barriers.

Q: What is your No. 1 short-term goal?

A: Working directly with our Tibetan
collaborators and, specifically, women and nuns through the Internet.

* Teaching in India to cultivate the seeds we have sown.

* Measuring the impact of our work and setting the direction for the future.

Q: What is your No. 1 long-term goal?

A: Documenting the Tibetan people's unique
culture so we can learn what they have learned:
Tibet's people went from a violent, warrior class
to a civilization based upon altruism. The
transformation took more than 700 years.

Tibet demilitarized. Fortresses became
monasteries. Legions of armies became armies of
monks. Tibetans laid down their weapons to
develop a wisdom civilization. Despite social
inequities, people made the commitment to not use violence to solve problems.

Through the exchange of spiritual teachings,
Tibet defended her borders in a war-torn Asia for more than 800 years.

Q: What is your major fundraiser?

A: On Dec. 4, we will host "These Songs of
Freedom," an evening of acoustic music and spoken
word in St. Joseph's Hall, at St. Joseph's
Cultural Center, 401 S. Church St., near downtown Grass Valley.

Q: What is the best way to help?

A: Learn about the Tibetan people through one of
our collaborative websites. Sponsor a nunnery
website or a laptop for the people to use. Send a
nun to computer school. Attend or host one of our
film presentations or workshops. Call or e-mail us.

To participate in The Union's Know Your Nonprofit
feature, contact City Editor Trina Kleist at  or call (530) (530) 477-4230.
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