Lha depends on the goodwill of volunteers and monetary and material donations for it to provide essential rehabilitation resources to the exiled Tibetan community. Lha is a non-profit organization dependent on monetary contributions from philanthropic corporations and generous individuals. In India, even a little goes a long way, and a lot goes very far!

Account Name: Lha Charitable Trust
Account Number: 2517000101008335
Swift Code: PUNBINBBPAR
Bank Name: The Punjab National Bank
Branch: Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala, H.P

Payable to: Lha Charitable Trust
Lha Office Temple Road, Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala, 176219
Distt Kangra, Himachal Pradesh

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 soup kitchen1

Response to satisfaction w.r.t. quality, taste and nutrition of the food served at Lha

Forty people eating at the Community Soup Kitchen completed our questionnaire, including ten females and 29 males, (one missing value; N = 40). Respondents ranged in age from 21 years to 84 years, with a mean age of 36 years. The vast majority of those using the Community Kitchen are either Buddhist monks or nuns (n = 17) or full-time (n = 10) or part-time students (n = 2). Only eight users are employed, and one is looking for work.

We found that half of the people eating at the Community Kitchen are living on less than 3,000 Rupees a month, the equivalent of about 45 US dollars. We also discovered that all but one person eats lunch at the Community Kitchen every day, five days a week, and half have been eating at the Community Kitchen for more than six months.

We asked a number of questions about food security or access to healthy and nutritious food. Two-thirds of our respondents said they skipped or missed at least one meal last month specifically because they did not have enough money for food. And one third said they skipped or missed meals at least once last month, because there was not enough money for food. Moreover, 26 people agreed with the statement that “I have trouble paying for food outside of the Community Kitchen, because I don’t have enough money,” and 24 people said that “without the Community Kitchen, I would not have enough to eat.”

soup kitchen2

Thirty-four respondents strongly agreed (n = 28) or somewhat agreed (n = 6) that “eating meals at the Community Kitchen helps me afford to buy healthier meals at home. Moreover, everyone who answered the question agreed strongly (n = 31) or somewhat (n = 8) that the Community Kitchen has helped them with their finances (one missing answer).All of the people who answered the question agreed strongly (n = 26) or somewhat strongly (n= 13) that “eating at the Community Kitchen helps me have a healthier and more nutritious diet (n = 39; one missing answer).

We also asked, “How has your overall diet changed as a result of coming to the Community Kitchen?” Nineteen people mentioned positive improvements in their diet, and several mentioned that they are now eating more vegetables since coming to the Community Kitchen. Seven people specifically said their diet had improved because the Community Kitchen regularly serves fruit, and a few said their diet had improved because the food at the Community Kitchen is safe and nutritious. Perhaps most importantly we found that for many users, their most balanced and nutritious meals are obtained solely from the Community Kitchen.

In addition to dietary improvements, we also found that the Community Kitchen is positively impacting users’ physical health. Nearly 40 percent of those eating at the Community Kitchen are currently being treated by a medical doctor for a physical health problem, most commonly gastric disorders.

When asked, twenty people told us their physical or mental health had improved as a result of eating at the Community Kitchen. Several respondents mentioned that their physical health had improved due to regularly eating healthier meals that now more often include vegetables. Many mentioned health benefits from eating at the Community Kitchen at the same time every day. One person said that his health is better now and he feels more energetic. Another person said that “before I didn’t understand about health, but when I came here, I have gotten experience about health. I meet people every day. Therefore, my health is changed.”

soup kitchen3

The questionnaire also contained several items to assess the impact of Lha’s educational outreach efforts. About three-quarters of those surveyed said that since coming to the Community Kitchen they have learned about the importance of eating fruit and vegetables regularly, they have learned the importance of eating a balanced diet and are buying healthier and more nutritious food.

                                                                                                                                               

By providing low-cost and free lunches five days a week to Tibetan refugees, Lha’s Community Kitchen is meeting several important and obvious needs among mostly impoverished and time-stressed users, half of whom are struggling to survive on the equivalent of less than $1.50 US a day. Our evaluation documented a great and continuing need for inexpensive, very nutritious, high-quality, and well-balanced meals that contain sufficient fruit, vegetables, and sources of protein among low-income members of the Tibetan refugee community in Dharamsala.

*Todd W. Rawls, M.A., is a survey sociologist who completed all his graduate course work at the University of Chicago Committee on Human Development.

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"Maybe a class organized by the students where they explain Tibetan history and culture, or philosophy or politics to the foreigners. Again this could be covered in conversation but the problem with conversation is everybody is talking about everything at the same time and it's a bit wild, I don't think the foreigners get as much from it than if it were organized that different people speak at different times. And maybe reciprocation from the foreigners point of view, such as their impressions of Tibet, their view on immolations and China's oppression etc. Also maybe culture differences etc".

Liam Berrington (Ireland) 29th October 2014


"I had such a great experience and wish I could come for longer. I was grateful to tutor 2 wonderful women in the mornings during my time there. They were so committed to learn and I could actually see progress just in our week together. I also learned much about the Tibetan experience and it has given me renewed interest in future volunteering".

Deborah McKeown (Canada) 18th October 2014

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Lha has the most stable classes of all the educational facilities in Dharamsala. It is only closed for four days during the Tibetan new year, otherwise, we can attend even in the winter time when for some it is school holidays. Without these great people – the staff members, sponsors, volunteers and other any supporters, how would we Lha students gain these opportunities? I am highly appreciative, and, once again, I thank you for all of your work and your devotion to your goals. -Dolker Choedon, 2008

The service provided by the Lha community is very helpful and the staff members working here are so nice and cordial.- Ngawang Dolma.

For me, the way the teachers teach and administrators administrate is going so well. My hearty wish is that the Lha staff members can carry on their good performance continuously for the betterment of society .- Nyitri.
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Ahimsa house was great, the hot water, wifi and filtered water was great to have access to. The meal were excellent, I love all the vegetarian options. Breakfast was also excellent and the fruit was always fresh.- Joanna Johnson

The accommodations were great, it was fun to see “American” food incorporated into breakfast and dinner. Volunteering was a great experience, I feel like I learned as much from my partner as she did from me. The sightseeing excursions were very valuable and definitely enhance the experience. - Maggie Hermann

The rooms of Ahimsa were magnificent and well-prepared. Towels, extra sheets, and bathroom were all clean. The library was a great touch. The meals were great.- Joe Signorelli

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Lha Charitable Trust has initiated a new project to promote and broadcast the extensive and valuable teachings and writings of Professor Samdhong Rinpoche. This initiative is a part of our project on Preservation and Promotion of Tibetan Culture and Language. These teachings and writings can be found on www.samdhongrinpoche.com

Contact is a recognised and registered publication under the Registrar Office of the Newspaper, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting Government of India. The registration number is HPENG/2013/51798. Recognised by Lonely Planet and other international travel resources, Contact has been a popular source of news and information on Tibetan issues, and the Dharamsala community, for over 17 years. www.contactmagazine.net

Tibet Nature is a Tibetan language website which provides information on current environmental issues within Tibet to the Tibetan population across the globe. www.tibetnature.net

Lha’s blog is the place to go for recent news from Lha and its volunteers. At least once a month, a volunteer posts about his/her time with Lha and feedback for the organization. Reading these testimonials is a great way to gain insight into what volunteering with Lha is like if you’re unsure but interested in volunteering.  blog.lhasocialwork.org

Lha Tibet Fair Trade acts as a certified cooperative, offering a wide range of handmade Tibetan craftworks – from handloom textiles to jewelry, home décor and personal accessories to Tibetan art. In addition to being a retailer, LTFT is a licensed import, export, and wholesale company.www.tibetfairtrade.com

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