Dharamshala: - Students paraded to the beat of drums, and performed traditional songs, dances and calisthenics marking the 54thanniversary of the founding of the Tibetan Children's Village School in Upper Dharamshala on 23 October. The school educates and raises young Tibetan refugee children.
Escorted by the school's marching band, His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa was amongst the special guests in attendance, as well as Religion and Culture Minister, Pema Chinnjor – representing Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay - and Chief Guest Mr Penpa Tsering, Speaker for the Tibetan Parliament in exile.
Addressing the ceremony, President of TCV, Tsewang Yeshe said: "Under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the most difficult time in Tibetan history, in 1960, TCV was started to provide education to Tibetan children.
"Without the continued generosity of our friends and supporters and the dedication of our co-workers, TCV wouldn't be the happy home for so many needy children in exile. Therefore I take the opportunity to extend profound gratitude to each and everyone who support our work and embrace our children."
The event began with staff, guests and supporters observing an inter-class student parade followed by the Tibetan and Indian national anthems and a minute's silence in respect for those who have lost their lives in the Tibetan struggle. School President Tsewang Yeshi made a speech praising the school's programme and it's 54-year history.
Students then performed a variety of routines including a song by the infant and junior class, a traditional Tibetan group dance by senior students and a precisely choreographed calisthenics show.
The calisthenics earned applause from the audience as students used their movements and formations to spell "forever gratitude" in thanks to the thousands of donors and friends from around the world and to the people and the Government of India, followed by "Long Live his Holiness", in thanks to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the support he has given.
An energetic drum performance and a speech by village director, Mr Ngodup Wangdu, concluded the celebrations.
The Tibetan Children's Village aims to provide children with the necessary resources and the opportunities to develop their abilities to the fullest and has become an integrated educational community for destitute Tibetan children in exile, as well as for hundreds of those escaping from Tibet every year.
As well as teaching the children about Tibetan language and culture, students study science, arts, counseling and information technology. Over it's 54-year history the school has expanded to have over 16,726 children under their care and has established branches in India extending from Ladakh in the North to Bylakuppe in South.