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 solely 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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Visitor Services

As well as offering services to the local community, Lha is happy to offer services to visitors to Dharamsala. Taking part in these services gives visitors a chance to experience Tibetan culture first-hand, to be surrounded by Tibetan ritual, to learn, to connect with and support the refugee community and to volunteer on community projects. Visitors to Dharamsala come from many different countries and diverse backgrounds. We have found that our visitors share a common eagerness to learn, and aim to make the best use of their time whilst they are here.

Whether you are here for one week or one year, by volunteering or taking a course, you are directly benefiting the local community. Profits of all courses and services for visitors directly benefit the community by supporting ongoing projects and the operation and management of Lha.

Volunteer Opportunities

Lha offers you the opportunity to share your knowledge and skills with the Tibetan refugee, local Indian and Himalayan communities, while gaining hands-on experience working with a non-profit, social work organization. Every year approximately 600 individuals from all over the world volunteer their time and energy to Lha. We provide a wide array of long and short-term, as well as prearranged and drop-in volunteer opportunities at no cost to both individuals and groups. Whilst taking part as a volunteer at Lha you will be immersed in the fascinating culture of the people you are serving, develop friendships, learn about issues facing the Tibetan refugee community and create positive change in the lives of many people.

Click here to learn more about volunteering.

Reception & Orientation Service

We realize that India can initially be quite a culture shock and the Tibetan culture may be challenging to become accustomed to, so we offer different services to help smooth your arrival and travel in India and orient you to the Tibetan community here in Dharamsala.  We offer two primary options for volunteers and additional services to further enhance your volunteering experience. If you have not already visited McLeod Ganj or had personal experience within a Tibetan community, we highly recommend signing up for at least the Orientation service to be properly prepared for volunteering here.  Please do not hesitate to email us if you have any further queries.

Reception

Our reception service is beneficial for those who have never been to India or traveled in a developing country. Unfortunately, Delhi airport has a fair number of scam artists and unsuspecting tourists regularly fall prey to their schemes so even many well-seasoned travelers have signed up for this service. With this service, on the arrival of your flight in Delhi, a Lha representative will be waiting for you inside the airport and will take you to a guesthouse we have booked for you so you can rest for a night before taking the bus to McLeod Ganj. We offer a smooth transfer from your arrival at Delhi International Airport to Dharamsala.

Orientation

For those who have visited India before or are already traveling here, this package includes all the important information you will need about volunteering and offers an introduction to Tibetan culture and history. Our coordinator will meet with you to show you around the town and discuss the specific subtleties of Tibetan communication and culture to help you be most effective and welcome in your volunteer position. You will be told an insider’s perspective of the best places to eat, shop and meet people. You will also be assisted in finding accommodation suitable for your budget and requirements.

Click here to learn more about our Reception and Orientation services.

Cultural Exchange

Our Cultural Exchange Program involves each visitor pairing up with a 'Mutual Learning Partner' – a Tibetan English language student at Lha. Most of the students are not fluent in English but they are all very enthusiastic about learning and sharing their knowledge with others. They are open and willing to share stories about their lives and experiences. Most of the students are between the ages of 20 and 40. Visiting students often visit the homes of their new friends, meet members of their family, and make friends in the Tibetan refugee community.

Click here to learn more about our cultural exchange program.

Home Stay

Lha arranges homestays of one month with Tibetan refugee families. By sharing meals and day-to- day life with a Tibetan family, your cultural experience will be intensified. If you are interested in the Tibetan language, you will be able to practice your language skills in the home. This homestay program can give you unforgettable insights into ritual, family and life "behind closed doors" in the Tibetan refugee community – and hopefully help you make friends for life.

Click here to learn more and apply for a home stay with a Tibetan family.

Tibetan Cooking Class

In a cooking class with Lha you will expand your cooking repertoire whilst helping to preserve the art of traditional Tibetan cuisine. Each class has a maximum of 5 students in our small kitchen ensuring you are given careful instruction by our skilled Tibetan cook whilst learning to cook a Tibetan delicacy. You are given the choice of three vegetarian options: Momo, noodle soup or steam bread. Once your delicious dish is prepared you will be able to test and enjoy it, and if you choose, to share it amongst the friendly staff and volunteers at Lha. No cooking experience is required. To register, please contact the Lha reception office or register online at least 2-3 hours beforehand.

Community Library

Lha has a community library located in McLeod Ganj. Lha's library is the only collection of books available to the community in these locations.
Our library is well stocked with teaching aids for volunteer teachers and also houses a good collection of novels and non-fiction literature. In addition, the library contains a section dedicated to books about the fundamentals of Buddhism, meditation and happiness. Borrowing is free for all.
The library is a comfortable room equipped with a sofa and chairs, providing a quiet location for people to read or study. The library offers filtered water for Rs. 5 per litre, and is also an official distribution outlet for Contact Magazine, a registered Dharamsala community publication.

 

Community Newspaper

Contact Magazine, a free monthly publication of Lha Charitable Trust, 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 for Tibetan issues and community information in Dharamsala for over 14 years. It is one of the longest-running Tibetan publications in the area and provides local residents and international visitors with news and resources relevant to the Dharamsala community. Seven hundred to 1,000 copies of the magazine are printed per issue and distributed in the greater Dharamsala area and in Delhi, and various diplomatic missions to India. Copies are also sent to various Tibetan schools, settlements, offices and NGOs in India. You can read it online at http://contactmagazine.net

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Lha is a non-profit, non-governmental, grassroots social work organization located in Dharamsala, India. Lha was founded in 1997 and in 2005 was registered as a non-profit and charitable trust in Himachal Pradesh. Every year we submit our income statements to the Indian Income-Tax Department and undergo an audit. The following are our financial statements from 2005 to 2011 fiscal years, which have already been reviewed. Following the financial statements are graphical representations of some of the key aspects we would like to highlight.

Lha's commitment is to help the Tibetan people survive and prosper in their new home of Dharamsala and to preserve their profoundly unique culture. The means to which we have been able to accomplish these goals has changed over the years. In 2005, as a young organization, Lha had few assets. Lha has steadily grown since then, and now occupies two buildings, which house our classes, soup kitchen, social services and volunteer and exchange student group accommodations. In 2005 Lha had seven full time employees, which has since expanded to nine. The notable increase in wage expenses between 2009 and 2011 reflects the decision to provide a livable wage to the Tibetan employees.

Lha took on the responsibility to pay rent for the operations building during the 2009 financial year, after the purchasing of the new Ahimsa House building, and becoming more financially stable. Since 2005 we have slowly been accumulating assets for the language classes, computer courses and social services which function out of the building, such as computers for our offices and classes, and books and teaching resources for the community libraries.

In 2007 Lha began the process of acquiring a four story building, the Ahimsa House, to house a community soup kitchen and volunteer accommodation. In May 2011 Lha used the remaining funds from the corpus receipt and capital fund to make the final payment on the Ahimsa House. This will be reflected in the financial statement for the 2012 financial year. We began working on the community soup kitchen project in 2010 and officially opened it in 2011. Since 2007 Lha has also purchased many furnishings and appliances for the volunteer accommodations. The donations from Exchange students and volunteers staying in Lha’s accommodations have also created a new source of income for Lha. In the future, Lha hopes that the donations raised from visitors in these accommodations, in conjunction with cultural exchanges and visitors services, will create a stable and sustainable financial foundation for the organization.

The Annual Report, written by Lha’s Director, Ngawang Rabgyal, sets out the aims of the organization, the year’s developments and the latest financial position. It also illustrates the diversity of the social programs provided, and the numbers of students who have benefited from these services. These achievements could not have been reached without the generosity of the volunteers and the dedication of the students and Lha’s employees.

Lha’s primary goal is to provide meaningful social services, such as free education, computer skills courses, vocational training, health and environmental education and service, volunteer coordination, cultural exchanges, free books, medicine and clothing distribution. The services of Lha are open to Tibetan refugees as well as the local Indian population and people from the Himalayan regions.