Newsletter 'Bridging EAST-WEST' 2009/04

Dear friends and members of 'Bruecke Ost-West',

As many of you are aware of, I've spent September 2007 to August 2008 in Northern India, Dharamsala, the Tibetan Exile of his Holiness, the Dalai Lama and many Tibetan people.

My sponsor child Yonten, who I've visited there twice before, became the main reason for my extended stay in Dharamsala. During my time there, I became aware that it is of utmost importance to additionally support Tibetans, who are elderly, disabled or sick.

Now my hopes and aspirations have manifested and I am happy and excited to inform you that the foundation 'Bridging East-West', an organisation intending to support elderly, disabled and ill Tibetans in Exile in India, has been officially and legally established since March 2009.

I'm overjoyed and convinced that under the umbrella of the foundation we'll be able to make a lot of difference and specifically help many in need.

My priority and focus is to develop personal contact with elderly and disabled Tibetans, so that we can respond and cater to their individual needs and difficulties.

Therefore, we also formed the sister-foundation 'Njing Jay Yul', translated 'Giving Kindness and Care', stationed in India, so that we can bring locally attention to those in need.

Let me share with you what we've been able to achieve since December 2008, the beginning of my active involvement with the foundation.

In Dharamsala, the main seat of the Tibetans in Exile, we could provide the home for Elderly with 160 walking sticks, two wheel chairs and several sitting toilets. Others received a hearing aid, crutches and alternative walking aids, whilst we also managed to finance a much needed stomach operation. And for a handicapped young man we sponsor the cost for his monthly medical needs.

It moved me immensely to hear these people's stories, communicate with each of them and to feel their resulting joy and gratitude.

Last Easter I spent my holidays in the southern part of India, at the Tibetan camp Bylakuppee and Hunsur. I visited two old people's homes and some Tibetan villages.

The people there are foremost farmers, so money for medication is sparse and sadly many of them, especially children, suffer from Tuberculosis.

One incident really touched me. Last February (09), the Dalai Lama held teachings at the monastery Sera. In order to attend the teachings and get to the monastery, people from the village had to rent a lorry. After the teaching and on their way back home they had a terrible accident, which made many of them incapable to work any longer, and worse, one man is paralysed from the waist down, and one of the women suffered a serious head-injury.

What makes it even more difficult is without income, they can neither afford the needed mediation nor medical help. A single accident caused so much suffering - in just that one village.

With the donations I've so far received, I could at least pay medication for some of them, get one wheelchair, some walking sticks and support two adolescents who have TB and another suffering from Polio on both legs.

If elderly don't have children to look after them, they are left to their own devices, which results for many of them to live in great poverty. Also the old people's homes severely lack nursing and medical care. So it was a huge relief to be able to employ a trained nurse/carer, sponsored by the foundation.

My plans for the summer 09 are:

Once back in Dharamsala in early July, I would like to open a permanent handicraft workshop for disabled people.

What kind of help I'm genuinely asking you for:

These people really need and I believe deserve any support and help we can offer!!!

On request I am happy to send you my leaflet and any upcoming seasonal newsletters. Please do spread the message and my intention!!!

I thank you all in advance.

TASHI DELEK and with lots of love,

Judith Judith Mauritz