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09september20091Dharamshala: When Mr. Kunsang Tenzing was attending classes at Saint Joseph's University, little did he know that his inner passion—just a flicker at the time—to foster a sense of love and kinship for needy Tibetans would transform into a meaningful and worthwhile organization. Tenzin is now director of the Tibet Hope Center which offers classes in all levels of English conversation and grammar, and also initiates many much-needed community projects.

Tenzin began by teaching English to just three students in his spare time, but quickly saw the need and demand for much more.  At the same time, he was lucky enough to have a personal audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and was told that he would be a good leader and encouraged to keep working hard.  Realizing how insightful the Dalai Lama’s advise was, Tenzin was moved to found the Hope Center.

The Tibet Hope Center was established in May 2007, and has since taught countless Tibetans the English language, making a positive difference in their lives, and helping them adjust to life in exile. "During our English classes we also explain the need for compassion and love," says Tenzin, explaining that, "Many students do not have any family or elders to teach them....we are their family."

09september20092The center does have a distinct family atmosphere.  THC’s status as a small nongovernmental organization (NGO) enables its staff to recognize and understand many issues pertaining to different students.  According to Tenzin, "Some students are young and have a hard time adjusting to certain rules needed in larger NGOs....We are able to work more with them and help them...we are more grassroots.”

The Hope Center has also initiated many community projects the need arises. The Groovy Nannies project helps to meet local elders’ need for greater interaction with the community. In this project, students and volunteers visit the Jampaling Elders Home, where they play games with and host tea parties for the elderly residents. The Town Clean-Up project met an obvious necessity that had previously neglected by local bureaucracy.  Volunteers and students clean up the Temple, Bhagsu, and Jogiwara roads, making the town safer and more beautiful for residents and visitors.

In a place where Tibetan refugees’ need for hope is so urgent, the Tibet Hope Center answers this calling.  Its mission to give hope to both those Tibetans in dire need and those who could simply use a little more epitomizes compassion in its purest form.  "It's all about what we can do for someone else," concludes Tenzin. "It is good to give, it is good to help."

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