Distribution of Tibetan Organic Rice Reaches Approximately 500 People

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Distribution of Rice Reaches Approximately 500 and Touches Lives

The current project of Pennies for Partnerships is a way in which we show solidarity and support to Tibetans in exile in an effort to assist them while waiting for their return to their homeland. The worsening poverty of the Tibetan Organic Farmers is increasing, as climate change and monsoon rains continue to cause devastation to the farmers’ crops. Therefore, we offer support by purchasing a portion of their annual yield of rice and we distribute to rural Indian villages who suffer from hunger.

The recent meetings with the Tibetan Organic Agricultural Officers provided results of the damages from the excessive rains of monsoon this year. The following is a breakdown of the data provided:

Within the Tibetan Doegueling Tibetan Settlement in Mundgod there are 9 camps. Out of the 9 camps there are 6 camps currently committed to organic farming with a total of 1,280 acres. Three Camps are fully certified organic (3,4,8) and three camps are in the first year of the 3 year process (1,2,5). In 2012 the other three camps will make a commitment to go fully organic (6,7,9). The Doegueling Settlement is the model for all Tibetan Organic farming throughout India.

The monsoon season came early this year and prevented many farmers from the opportunity to plant their rice (paddy) leaving a total of 631 acres fully fallow (not seeded). This accounts for nearly half of all farmland with no crops and an obvious economic hardship for the Tibetan farmers. The other farmland has approximately 298 acres under horticulture, offering fruits as an alternative source of farming and 111 acres are mixed for horticulture, pulses and paddy. However the change to alternative crops of agri-forestry will have on average a 2 to 3 year delay before producing the fruits.

In an effort to assist the Tibetan Organic Farmers, Pennies for Partnerships was able to provide support to those farmers who had remaining stock from last years’ harvest through the purchase of 2075 kg (4565 lbs) of rice.
Pennies for Partnerships’ purchase of rice, is with the hope this will offer the Tibetan Organic Farmers some economic benefit to assist them during the economic hardships in the coming year.

The procurement of rice for the Pennies for Partnerships’ – Compassion in Action Rice Outreach program, distributed on October 22, a total of 2075kg (4565lbs) of rice to both the Indian and Tibetan communities in need.

Additionally, Pennies for Partnerships rice drive is a way to reach those in India who live on less than a dollar a day and suffer from hunger and food insecurity. India is still recognized in the hunger index as one of the countries in severe condition. Also malnutrition in the Indian rural communities is 50% which has serious health consequences. As well, this past year has seen a drastic increase in food costs which is also having a serious adverse affect on those already in need.

In keeping with the past rice distributions which have occurred around holidays the recipients received your generous gifts just prior to the most special holiday of Diwali (October 26), which is the festival of lights. The rice was given as a gift in hopes it will bring the Indian recipients an additional opportunity to experience joy on their most festive holiday and brighten their day.

The condensed meaning of Diwali- popularly known as the “Festival of Lights”, the most significant spiritual meaning is “the awareness of the inner light”, “victory of good over evil”. It refers to the light of higher knowledge dispelling all ignorance, the ignorance that masks one’s true nature, not as the body, but as the unchanging, infinite, immanent and transcendent reality. With this awakening, comes compassion and the awareness of the oneness of all things (higher knowledge). This brings anand (joy or peace). Diwali is the celebration of this Inner Light. It is through the light that the beauty of this world is revealed or experienced. Diwali literally means a “Row of Lights” as part of the ritual is that in each home they light oil lamps and many fireworks are displayed at night in a symbolic manner. It is a time filled with light and love which signifies the triumph of good over evil and of light over darkness. The purpose it to glorify the light of God, so let the light penetrate inward, for only there will it have lasting benefit. When I visit these villages on the exterior I see the poverty but the people have an inner light shining in their eyes, a look on their faces and a song in their hearts that I realize must come from their spiritual nature.

A little information about the communities served:
The Indian village recipients were gifted 62 bags totaling 1550 kg (3410 pounds) distributed among three villages.

Keeping with an environmental focus we distributed to those who are very poor and collect plastic for recycling. The village of Chodelee averages an income of approximately $1.00 a day. I was informed they collect plastic 6 days a week (excluding holidays, which in India there are many!) and they start their days at 6:00 am to journey to the Tibetan settlement to collect the plastic and return home around 7:00 pm. They average rs100 rupees but then they pay rs40 for the shared jeep transportation as their village is rather far from here. Therefore, they collect in a full day of work a little over a dollar a day for what is about a 12 hour work day. Often this is supporting a family of 4 to 5 people in a home so there are many hardships involved. As well I was informed the 25kg bag of rice will last approximately 2-3 weeks as it is a main substance to sustain.

We also delivered to a community of people who all live in tents and also collect plastic. This was a group of 13 tent families and they appeared to have the greatest level of poverty.

We also returned to a basket weaving community where we delivered last time, as we were unable to serve the entire community in February. They were rather happy to see us and we received a VERY warm welcoming. We delivered an additional 20 bags once again leaving many without receiving the gift. As we departed there were happy faces on those who received and the most difficult to see are those left without; we reminded them we will not forget them and we will return again next time to pick up where we left off as we did this time. Close by this community is a small group of about 8 homes of a laboring community where we also delivered last time. They were also happy to see us arrive again.

Additionally, the Tibetan community received 21 bags totaling 525 kg (1100 pounds) most of which was donated to the Tibetan Old Age home where 150 elders reside.

We estimate that the gifts delivered served approximately 500 people in need.

The people told us stories of their hardships while delivering which included widowed women who struggle to provide for their children, elders who have serious illness as well as paralysis preventing    them from being able to work. Also HIV patients who spend      more than half their monthly income of rs3000 (approximately $60 a month) on meds which cost rs1500 a month and this family has 5 children, and many other stories that add to their already difficult situation. Additionally we encountered those who care for their elders who are 103 years requiring them to be at home fulltime.

One elder woman was in tears as she was so appreciative and explained to use that her husband is very ill and they have been spending everything they have on hospital bills and medical care.

We also experienced those who offered such gratitude by blessing us profusely.

One young boy who was maybe 10 years old (whose family was not a recipient but is a neighbor to the poor labor community) came up to the truck and thanked me for the kindness and thoughtfulness to offer something to the poor, as they are much in need, and then there were the children who all wanted to shake my hand as a gesture of love and appreciation for giving them one less day of hunger.

I reminded each community it is YOU the gift givers who make this possible and that I am only a messenger of the kind people who have given this gift; you have also given me a great gift to be your messenger as the people touch my life dearly.

Thank you to YOU ALL who make this possible. Also, I apologize for the long delay as many of you donated back in March and are just now seeing the results of your gifts.

I would also like to offer huge acknowledgement to the Tibetan Organic Officers who worked so diligently to make this project run so smoothly. They put many long hours to prepare for this large distribution. So much appreciation to them and those who worked alongside them- thank you Tempa, Jamyang, Choendon, Sonam, Ms. Kelsang Lhamo (a Woman Tibetan farmer), the Indian laborer Madhawa, the driver Sahit and Chairman Dhundup.

Also much appreciation to those who have assisted in the preparations in the time leading up to this day, Dhundup from the Tibetan Organic Research and Training Center in Bylakuppe, Mr Chimmey Rinzin CTA agricultural officer in Dharamsala, and the kind Indian Rickshaw driver Mr. Robert who took me around researching the communities the other day.

Now that I am back in the south it is much easier to coordinate the project so we hope to do another distribution soon depending upon funding and gifts received. If you are interested in supporting the ongoing projects to assist the Tibetan Organic Farmers and poor Indian villages, Pennies for Partnerships will be planning another rice distribution. We will additionally be evaluating the potential opportunity to develop greenhouses in order to provide alternative options to the organic farmers so they are able to grow crops during the off season.

Now that Pennies for Partnerships has an official nonprofit status through the non-profit organization Tibetan Cultural Institute of Arkansas ALL donations are tax deductable and you can receive a tax exempt receipt.

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If you have a preference of where your donation is used, please note in the comment field either rice or development projects.

Thank you again sincerely for your generosity as many lives were touched yesterday and I hope you see the light in the eyes and the joy on the faces in the photos.

Your generosity touches many lives.

Kind regards,

Leann Halsey
Director – Pennies for Partnerships (TCIA initiative)

Please keep in mind the gift of giving includes even the smallest acts of kindness . We are grateful for you sharing this information and the link to the project through your social networks.


Day of Global Solidarity with Tibetans

Today October 19, 2011 marks a day of global solidarity in an effort to raise awareness of the Tibetan plight. This year desperate acts of suffering have brought attention to the increase of Chinese military crack down inside Ngaba an eastern Tibetan region. The concerns of the increasing desperate acts of self-immolation of Tibetans who are suffering continues as an outcry to the International community for support to call a halt to the Human Rights violations under Chinese rule. It is a sad and desperate act when members of a community result to lighting themselves on fire to express the deepest of suffering from oppression.

The Tibetan community in exile is asking for people around the world to raise their voice in support of the Tibetan concern for Basic Human Rights to include freedom of religion and freedom of expression. I am writing this today to show support to not only those in Tibet but also to those living in exile who have struggled since 1959 to raise awareness of the concerns inside Tibet and to spread awareness of the growing desperation.

For more information regarding the news on the situation of Tibet visit the online news reports daily at:

Also please take a moment to read a recent post written by a very informed and knowledgeable professor from University of Arkansas as he offers some ideas of how you too can show your solidarity with the Tibetan community.

Another news sources is: http://www.tibet.net/en/index.php

Additionally if you wish to speak out and give a voice to the Tibetans who are under oppressive conditions in Tibet please take a moment and email your representatives and tell them you are concerned and ask for more international involvement.


Your solidarity in giving a voice to those who are silenced is important.

Thank you for taking a moment to care and please share this information with others.

With deepest sympathy to all Tibetans and gratitude to those who create a voice,


TCIA’s Pennies for Partnerships-Ready to DIG in

TCIA- Pennies for Partnerships Ready to DIG in

Tashi Delek and Hello.

It is time to DIG in and get busy with the farmers as I head to Mundgod, India within the next few days. In the past six months there has been little opportunity to actually procure rice for distribution due to off season and my being in the north. But your donations and contributions have been adding up to allow for a very large distribution which will take place soon. Stay tuned for the details of those who benefit from you compassion and generosity.

Recent activity on the Pennies for Partnerships (PfP) project provides a great opportunity to grow the program with the official nonprofit status of the Tibetan Cultural Institute of Arkansas. The excitement in me is sprouting as I met recently with the head of the Tibetan Agricultural Department to discuss PfP’s involvement in their future plans. We discussed the many ways in which PfP can assist the Tibetan Organic Farming initiative.

The first objective of PfP is to assist the farmers with economic development. This year the farmers have struggled due to excessive rains which has prevented farmers the opportunity to plant and harvest rice in a timely manner. Some farmers were able to plant late therefore harvest will come later this season around mid November. There is currently a surplus remaining from last year which we will procure with the gifts that have been contributed over the last six months and distribute to the Indian villages most in need surrounding the Tibetan settlement.

Also in the discussion of future activities of the organic farmers and the Central Tibetan Administrations’ (CTA) long term development plans, we brainstormed ways in which PfP can be involved. Since distribution is a major need the CTA is interested in opening a retail outlet for the organic cooperative. I plan to meet with the leaders in the Mundgod community to assist with the organization of further activities for a farmers market and development of marketing the products. My aspiration is to help empower the people to utilize their creative forces to develop a good marketing plan which will eventually grow their distribution not only locally but nationally and hopefully someday internationally. But as they say in India “slowly-slowly”, as we all know this will take time over the years to come. First there are initial developments needed within the local community.

Most importantly is an educational campaign for the local community which will raise environmental awareness of the benefits for buying organic. I am looking for volunteers who have expertise in this area and who can assist me with the development of a program that we can take to the local schools, institutions and organizations. We discussed presenting to the local leaders the educational awareness campaign in order to facilitate local support to the organic farmers. The farmers in Mundgod have an opportunity now to mill their own rice which eliminates the middle man. This provides the organic farmers the ability to offer their goods at a more competitive price presenting a benefit for the local consumer to buy organic at a price they are accustomed to paying for conventional goods. Considering most of the Tibetans live in poverty this is very important to make it affordable.

Other areas for development which will assist the organic farmers were discussed, such as the need for irrigation systems and greenhouses through the possibility of micro loans. Obviously this is a very costly area of development although a very important initiative. If farmers are given the opportunity to install irrigation systems they will produce two to three times the yield annually; an obvious economic benefit to help lift the farmers from the extreme poverty they are currently experiencing. Also, the development of greenhouses offers potential to grow produce during off season, providing an opportunity to fulfill a market demand. These are very important developments which will assist with financial security and economic growth to the organic farmers. I will discuss these aspects of development with the settlement leaders to determine what the actual investment is to install irrigation systems and build greenhouses. Recently I was contacted by an individual who has interest in possibly being the first to support a micro loan, we hope this will materialize.

Additionally we discussed the development of a program within the PfP outreach of rice distribution to include Tibetan teenage youth. By including the youth we will implement the educational components of environmental awareness as well as Compassion in Action to the local Indian neighbors who experience hunger. I will present this idea to the settlement leaders who will be able to assist further with avenues and ways to best involve the youth in the community.

So as you can see, there are lots of exciting ideas and ways we can assist the organic farmers. If you are interested in getting involved there are many ways one can volunteer from abroad. Please contact me for more information as it would be great to garner support from those who have contacts with groups looking for service projects. Keep in mind the initial Pennies for Partnerships campaign started with people donating their Penny Jars. You too can start a small fund raiser and ask those around you to donate their pennies for a worthy cause.

It is now even easier….you can donate directly online through the Tibetan Cultural Institute of Arkansas (TCIA) and receive a tax exemption for your contributions. Please visit the link below to make your donation through paypal. If you would like to donate other than online please contact me directly and I can provide you additional details.


Please keep in mind you can show your support by sharing this information with others and subscribing to our blog. Jut subscribe by clicking on the colorful MANDALA on the left.

This important initiative is only made possible through your compassion and generosity and we thank you sincerely for your continued support.

Feel free to contact us directly through the comment field or email us directly at

Kind regards,

Leann Halsey
Director of Pennies for Partnerships (TCIA initiative)