Educational Program

Lha provides a variety of educational programs including, language classes, computer science courses, vocational training, health and environmental education.


Lha empowers people to be self-reliant in accomplishing their personal and societal goals

Since Lha’s inception in 1997, language courses have been one of our earliest and most important projects. In the 1990s, thousands of Tibetan refugees fled to India due to the Chinese invasion of their homeland. Most of them were farmers, nomads or monks and nuns. Many of them had not had the opportunity for formal education. When they arrived in exile, one of the biggest challenges was language, as everyone spoke only Tibetan. Since basic communication skills are a primary requirement for resettlement and earning a livelihood, Lha’s founding members recognized an urgent need for people to have a place where they could learn languages. Lha began with English and then gradually started introducing other languages as an increasing number of Tibetan refugees moved to developed countries. Now, Lha teaches five languages: Tibetan, English, French, Chinese and German. Conversation classes and private tutoring sessions are also arranged for students of these classes, depending on the availability of volunteers. 

Lha language courses are open to Tibetan refugees, local Indians and people from other parts of the Himalayan region. Even after more than 25 years, the language courses continue to be a well-received service in the Dharamshala community and remain central to Lha’s mission. More than 13,000 students have taken these language classes since 2003, with around 1,000 new registrations every year. 

A three-month Intensive English Course for Geshes and Khenpo; monks who have completed the highest level of Buddhist monastic studies is an annual program organised by Lha. There are a number of monks who have a doctorate in Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and the language barrier has been the biggest challenge to those who want to teach or share their knowledge to a wider audience. The aim of the program is to support those monks and nuns who wish to learn and improve their English. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has always advised that studying the Nalanda tradition of Buddhist philosophy will be helpful towards eradicating many of the problems being faced in the 21st century. We arrange qualified and experienced native speaker teachers to teach the course. This course will not only help the participants to improve their overall English language but also help them to familiarize the Buddhist terminologies and learn from the experienced translators in the same field.

The program was started in 2020 and had continued in 2022 and 2023. In these three years, 31 monks have participated in this program.

*Geshe, or Geshema for women is equivalent to a Doctorate in Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and is the highest level of training in the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Lha’s scholarship program began in 2018 when we offered scholarships to three young Tibetan women to pursue higher education in Nursing. This program was initiated with the aim of helping to motivate and inspire Tibetan students with a low economic status to pursue their dreams of higher education following on from Class 12. The first three recipients were supported by Lha throughout their time at college, until the completion of their Nursing courses. 

Since 2022, one time scholarships are provided to six students each academic year. Students for the scholarships are selected based on their academic performance, interview, and financial status of the family. Besides the regular nursing scholarship, Lha has been supporting Tibetan students seeking Lha’s assistance for professional development and higher education from time to time. 

16 scholarships are provided since 2018.

The 21st century is known as the age of digitalization, and today computers have become essential. Hence, it is extremely important for Tibetan refugees to be computer-literate to make their lives easier and expand their job opportunities.

Lha started its computer training program with just a few computers and it is also one of our earliest projects. In 2008, we bought 10 new computers and introduced beginners and intermediate computer classes. We provide two different levels of classes, i.e. a beginners’ course for basic computer skills and an intermediate level course with the more complex software skills of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. The main aim of these courses is to provide skills to improve participants’ education opportunities, to enhance their career potential and equip them with necessary skills required in a modern age. These classes are attended by monks, nuns and students of varying age groups. Over 3000 students have participated in this program.  

Aiming to address the problem of unemployment in the Tibetan community, Lha started a series of short term vocational courses under the banner of the Livelihood Program in 2019. The program is designed to help Tibetan youngsters learn new skill sets and provide them with the opportunity to become self-reliant. This training prepares them for the world of work with hands-on practice and experience during the training period. 

Courses provided under the Livelihood Program are Tibetan Traditional Massage and Spa, Bakery, Special Cuisine, Barista, Nail Art, Beautician, Tibetan Traditional Woodcarving, Physical Fitness Trainer and Yoga. Besides the main course, the students also receive workshops on “Personal Development and Financial Literacy”. The majority of participants are school dropouts, unemployed youths and those who did not get a formal education at a younger age. With this program, Lha hopes to train more people every year and bring productive results in reducing unemployment problems in the Tibetan refugee community. The training is assessed both through written and oral feedback after completion of each course.

Number of students completed their courses under Livelihood Training program in each year are as below:
2019 – 85 students
2021 – 95 students
2022 – 102 students

Lha organizes educational talks, workshops and training with the intention of keeping the community well informed and involved. To achieve this, we invite children, parents, international students and the general public to participate and expand their knowledge on particular topics. The topics vary from health, environment, the Tibetan cause, Buddhist philosophy and meditation, childhood education etc. 

Some of our most notable speakers include: His Eminence Professor Samdhong Rinpoche, Geshe Lhakdor (Director of the Tibetan Library), Dr Lobsang Sangay (former President of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile), along with experts from different fields. We hold workshops specifically aimed at the development of children’s education. In 2018, we organized a 3-day workshop for preschool Tibetan teachers which was attended by 29 preschool teachers from seven different schools in India and Nepal. 

Focusing on communicable diseases and health and hygiene in the Tibetan community, we hold annual awareness talks related to health, including HIV AIDS, Nutrition, dental care, etc. 

Our talks and workshops are often organized depending on the need at the time, and the availability of experts and facilitators. For instance, the 3-day workshop for Tibetan media and journalists in 2019, in collaboration with the Association of Tibetan Journalists, was led by Mr. Sidhartha Roy, a foreign correspondent at The Diplomat magazine and a Pulitzer Grantee; he volunteered to lead the workshop. 

In 2016 Lha Charitable Trust hosted the first Mindful Medicine Conference in conjunction with Delek Hospital, Men Tsee Khan, Ochsner Medical Center of New Orleans, and the Louisiana Mississippi Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (LMHPCO). Professionals and students from the United States met with Tibetan medical students and doctors based in Dharamshala.

The conference was attended by over twenty doctors and nurses. Speakers for the three-day event included: Prof Samdhong Rinpoche, who spoke on Mindfulness in Integrative Medical Practice – the mind and body connection; Dr. TsetanDorjee, the Chief Medical Officer of Delek Hospital; Dr. Parveen Sharma from the government medical college and hospital in Kangra; Dr. Tenzin Yeshi of traditional Tibetan medicine from Men-Tse-Khang; Dr. Jonathan Nussdorf, chairman of the department of ophthalmology and Chris Blais chairman of the department of infectious disease at Ochsner Medical Center in the US, and Dr. Kevin Dischert a senior fellow in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the Louisiana State University (LSU) Health Center. This conference is scheduled to be an annual event held every October.

In 2022, Lha Charitable Trust organized a new program, Educational Tour Program for Tibetan school children. The aim of the program was to provide students from remote Tibetan settlements in India more exposure to central Tibetan administrative functions and institutes in Dharamshala. An additional focus lay on confidence building and learning about study and job opportunities available within the Tibetan community. The educational tour therefore entailed various exposure activities on Tibetan culture, identity, and life in exile.

The first group was from Sambhota Tibetan School in Miao, Arunachal Pradesh. The 14 teenagers escorted by two teachers, were all first-time travellers outside of their settlement and they were in Dharamshala for 10 days visiting and learning about different organisations in Dharamshala, the seat of Tibetan Government-in-exile.