Report from 2019 visit to Bylakuppe and Mundgod
Kate Kaiser, Ros Munroe and Linda Robinson visited both elder homes in February 2019 to delver funds and assess needs. The elder home in Mundgod is in the process of building a wall around the grounds to keep the elders safe from animals wandering in It is being built bit by bit as with donation. Whith your donations Global Elder Project provided funds to continue the work (see photos above).
The Bylakauppe home was recently renovated that includes new rooms, prayer room and prayer wheels. The biggest need was for batteries to provide light to each room fhen the electricity goes out which occurs on a daily basis. We are collecting funds to purchase 10 batteries. While visitng the elders your donations provided a momo lunch and fresh friut for the elders.
Report from 2017 Visit to Deliver Handmade Losar Cards and Donations
In January 2017 we visited the elders in Bylakuppe on Losar, Tibetan New Year and gave each person a card that was handmade by our family members and friends. This was a special day for all of us. There was so much love and joy put into making the cards and the elders were so happy to receive them, and especially liked the photos of the person who made each card. Personal connections were established between the elders and the friends and family members who have supported them over the past seven years! The elders offered prayers of thanks and a few even sang songs for the donors.
Thanks you for to your continue support and donations this past year, we were able to a caregiver for another year. This has met a great need for the elders who need assistance with daily needs. We also sponsored a special momo meal and gave each elder a small amount of money for personal use.
During this visit we met with the Settlement Officer who oversees the camp and the elder home and he expressed his gratitude for all the support the donors have provided the elders over the years.
The administrator showed us the water pump that we purchased last year and showed us how easy it is to turn on the switch and have water whenever they need it, 24 hours a day. The elders no longer have to go without water.
The elders are always happy to see us and over the years have come to know who we are: a group of people from USA who care about them. We have formed relationships with each other through photos and cards, stories and personal visits, donations, prayers and goodwill. It is amazing what a difference a small group of people can make in the lives of others who live so far away, and in return, receive the gift of happiness.
Report from 2016 visit to Deliver Donations
In January 2016, Ginger Pomeroy and Linda Robinson hand delivered your donations of clothing and money to the Tibetan elders living in settlement camps in Bylakuppe and Mundgod, India.
This was the second time we hand delivered money and donations and the elders were very happy to see us again and thanked all the donors for their kindness. The elders love having visitors. These visits bring happiness to everyone involved from the donors to the elders.
Thanks to your generous donations and support, we were able to provide funding for a new water pump, a caregiver for 5 months and a special meal for the elders in Bylakuppe. The water pump they currently use wasn't functioning properly and the home sometimes only had water for 10 hours a day. The new pump will provide water 24 hours a day. We also looked at the repairs that were made to the bathroom floor that was funded the previous visit as well as new pipes and a new ramp. We were happy to see the improvements that were made with the money that has been donated. It is being put to good use that benefits all the elders living in the home.
We also purchased medicine, gloves, masks, 6 commode chairs, 10 canes, and a chainsaw for the Mundgod elder home. The home uses wood for cooking, and when we arrived we saw several staff cutting wood with axes. The chainsaw we provided at the previous visit was broken from so much use, so a new chainsaw was necessary.
One of our donors sponsored an elder this year and it was a pleasure to deliver a letter with photos and a donation to her. With much joy, she offered a prayer of long life, happiness and success and gave each of us a khata in gratitude.
One of the most rewarding experiences of this trip was witnessing the elders' delight when we gave them photos taken at our last visit. We laughed together and one man sang a song for us! It was a great way of expressing our friendship. We took a lot of photos to bring with us on the next visit.
Report from 2014 Visit to Deliver Funds
We are happy to report that our visit to India was a success! Ginger Pomeroy and Linda Robinson went to the Tibetan settlement camps in Bylakuppe and Mundgod to deliver the money you donated to support the elders living there. We can't begin to express their gratitude for your support and wish to share with you some of the experiences we had and how your donation helped them. Many photos have been added to this website.
This was the first time we took money directly to the homes, as suggested by Geshe Nawang Singey. This allowed us to meet the elders living there and ask them about their needs. We also spoke with staff and a representative of the Tibetan Administration about the needs of the Tibetan elders in exile who told us that there is an economic crisis in the homes with not enough money to support and care for the elders and no source of earning income so they depend on the generosity of donors. We made numerous visits to the homes and were accompanied by members of Geshela's family who helped us with transportation, translation, shopping, delivering supplies and housing and feeding us. They cared for us like family and we could not have done this without them.
The moment we arrived at the elder homes, we were greeted with welcoming smiles and prayers. Many of the elders told us that they would pray for the donors' health and happiness. Everyone we met expressed their appreciation for the kindness and generosity of the donors and the simple fact that people care about them and want to help. The smallest gift or amount of money made a difference and in return, we all received blessings. Gifts from the heart were received with joy.
The first home we visited was in Bylakuppe where 45 elders live. The home was built in 1997 and has 5 staff. The Bylakuppe settlement is one of the largest in India. The elder home is in the countryside. It is serene with trees, flowers and a prayer hall containing a prayer wheel. We saw many elders sitting outside since the weather is so nice and warm there. We spent time asking them about their lives, how they came to live in the home and what they needed. We learned that most of the elders fled Tibet in the late 1950's and ended up living in the elder home when they had no one to care for them. Most of the elders we talked to said they were content with what they had, others mentioned needing more help and better food. We learned that the most urgent need was to fix the bathroom floor that was dangerously cracked and falling into the ground because it lacked a foundation. We had enough money to pay for a new concrete foundation and new floor. Now the elders have a bathroom that is safe. We also gave each elder some cash which was happily received since they have no income. One of the women immediately gave half of her money to the manager to purchase some butter for her butter lamp. The remainder of the money was given to buy supplies to make Tibetan tea and to sponsor a special meal. We also gave items that were donated by several friends and Earthlinks, Inc, such as clothing, eye glasses and pressure socks. Every item had a purpose; a hat was given to a man who walks outside every day, skirts to a woman who had just broken her leg and was unable to put pants on. Special socks for elders with poor circulation or who are bedbound.
The second home we visited is in Mundgod. This is the home we supported after our first fundraiser in 2010. The manager happily showed us the improvements that were made with the money we donated, such as the roof on the water tank, a fence to protect the crops from wandering cows and roofs to keep the elders dry when entering the dining and prayer hall. On this visit we learned that the elders needed medical and health supplies, so we purchased medicine, personal hygiene supplies, water beds to prevent pressure sores, a stethoscope and other items. We also purchased a chainsaw for cutting the wood they use for cooking and funded needed repairs to the kitchen floor. We brought photos from our last fundraiser and photos that we took on our first visit to the elder home. They were so happy to receive these photos and pleased to learn that their pictures helped raise money for their home! It was a heartwarming experience to bridge the gap between these Tibetan elders living in settlement camps and all of you living in California.
Global Elder Project is inspired to continue to raise money to help support these elders. We have already had a request for more money to help fix the wind water pump at the Bylakuppe settlement and hire additional help (it costs $150.00 a month to hire one person) and specific requests to sponsor individual elders (information on "current projects" page).
If you would like more information about the elder homes or individual sponsorships, please complete the form on the "contact us" page.
Thank you for your support.
For more informaiton about Tibetans in Exile:
The Central Tibetan Administration
Central Tibetan Relief Committee (Department of Home)
Pennies for Partnership
Friends of Tibetan Settlements in India