Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dear All,

Many of you are already familiar with the story of Tsewang Dhondup. For those who are not, he is a Tibetan man who was shot in the arm and kidney by Chinese police during the Tibetan uprising on March 24th 2008. He was shot while in the act of trying to save the life of a young monk during a demonstration in his home town of Trehor, Kardze in Eastern Tibet. With the help of his best friend, Lobsang, Tsewang managed to escape arrest and his name was put on a 'Most Wanted' list by the Chinese authorities.

Over the following year, Tsewang almost succumbed to his injuries while hiding out in mountain caves. Miraculously, he survived without any proper medical treatment. Knowing that Tsewang could never return to his home, Lobsang agreed to help him travel from Kham to Lhasa. Today, Tsewang's left arm remains paralyzed with little hope of rehabilitation.

In Lhasa, Tsewang met a guide who helps Tibetans across the border to Nepal. The journey is extremely hazardous and guides risk not only personal injury and frostbite, but harsh prison terms if they are discovered.

Another important service that these guides provide is to re-unite families. Jigme recently came to Dharamsala from Nepal, after bringing out Tsewang's 10 year old daughter, Chö Drolma. Tsewang and his daughter had a touching reunion after more than 2 years of separation. Chö Drolma is now attending Gopalpur Tibetan Childrens' Village school.

Tsewang borrowed the money to pay his guide and now needs to pay it back. The amount is 15,000 yuan ($2,197). Tsewang has been unable to raise it on his own, and has turned to me for help. I've been teaching English to Tsewang and Lobsang since May 2009, when the two men came to India. They are remarkable individuals as you can tell from their story. Now I and the friends who know Tsewang am turning to you who have been inspired by Tsewang and Lobsang's courage and endurance.

We are making an urgent request to each of you to consider donating $50 for the purpose of repaying Tsewang's guide for his invaluable services, safely and securely through Paypal. Your donation will be tax-deductible through the non-profit organization, Los Angeles Friends of Tibet. To contribute, please click on the DONATE button at the bottom of this page. If $50 is too much, then of course, we will gratefully accept what you are able to give.

If you live in Dharamsala, you can also drop off your donation in the Tsewang Dhondup Donation Box at Common Ground Cafe on Tushita Road, just one minute up from the Bus Stand behind Asian Plaza.

We know how busy everyone is and also that humanitarians are generally not walking around with fat wallets. We're also aware that this is a bit of an unusual situation that requires a certain level of trust. But we imagine that if we were in Tsewang's village in Tibet, we would have had a whip round to get these guys out, so please consider this a passing of the hat in the virtual village of the like-minded.

Please email me at achosenlife@gmail.com if you wish to confirm any details.

Read the full story of Tsewang's incredible escape at:

Lastly, a hearty thank you to all who already donated.

Rebecca Novick and Wen-Yan King