Tibetan Awareness Campaign

Please take a moment and watch our Tibetan Awareness Campaign. It is a collaborative effort with a cohort Veronica. We have both spent time in India among the Tibetan Refugee Community and have presented some options of how you can get involved. All photographs were taken during social work practicums.

Also I will be returning to India in January and formulating a way for those who would like to provide support to programs can get involved. Please leave a comment for me to contact you privately via e-mail if you are interested in providing support or have ideas to offer. I plan to return to the original location of the pilot program Tutors for Tibetans in South India. This is an area where many of the children have limited educational opportunities and their parents are not able to assist with homework due to illiteracy. Please help us empower these children for a brighter future through education as it is a key factor in lifting individuals from poverty.


Did You See The Interview?

Hello and Tashi Delek.

Just curious if you have seen the Larry King interview with the Dalai Lama? This is an interview that was held in follow-up to the Dalai Lama’s visit with President Obama. Take a moment and watch it explains a great deal about the position of the Tibetan people and their proposal for the Middle Way approach. This is one of the only interviews I have seen that the Dalai Lama is so animated about the cause. Animated might not be the best word but I could see and feel the intensity of his conviction to help the Tibetans find a balance to accept Chinese rule but negotiate for the Tibetans their freedoms for religion and expression.

Please watch it and comment to let us know your thoughts.

Thanks for watching and please share the link with others.

Kind regards,


See It To Believe It: Communist Chinese Brutality

See It To believe It: Chinese Brutality

Tashi Delek. This post is going to be very direct.

Please click on the title of this post to have direct access to the video which is essential and necessary to understand.

The following video is one that is disturbing and I have given much thought prior to posting it because it left my heart very heavy. As many of you I hope have seen some footage in the media I would like for you to take the opportunity to view it in full and ask yourself some questions without the media commentary. Keep in mind that someone has taken great risks to sneak this footage out of China and into the hands of free press. Thanks to those willing to rebel against the communist censorship the world has an opportunity to view some footage of a situation that has been restricted from journalist of the free world which includes reporters from United States and other western countries.

I sat surrounded by hundreds of Tibetans as the viewing was made to the Tibetan community here in Dharamsala on Monday evening. I had already viewed the film but sitting with the community directly affected by this violent force was something I will never forget. The cries, wailing and sighs of the Tibetans surrounding me was heart wrenching as they watched their peaceful brothers and sisters treated inhumanly with such violent force. I cannot even imagine the pain they must feel inside to know this is happening to their family, friends and neighbors.   I ask you to put yourself in their place for a moment…

My professor wrote…

“We live in a culture of the starkly visual . . . written testimony, word-of-mouth, radio broadcasts, nothing holds a candle to the image.  Since the 19th century, when photography announced itself as our new way of being in the world, our new way locating authenticity in a world that seems increasingly inauthentic, we do finally believe what we see.  And only what we see.”

I ask you to ponder what you see and how you would feel if these were the people of your community. Then I encourage you to consider how we live in this global community (as evident in the global economic crisis) and what needs to be done to address this violent action that has the potential to spread across the globe if we do not take a serious stance against this violence. Watch and then return for more information…


Now I ask you can we stand and let this force grow across the world as Communist China grows in power? What if this were us in the US how would you respond?

I challenge you to allow your thoughts to develop with regards to this issue if the idea of global social action is new to you. First ask the question of how can Communist Chinese deny the actions so vivid in the film when it is obvious the Tibetans are lying on the ground hand and feet bound with no retaliation and they are beaten savagely with force? As well if this is not true how can we be assured it is not true since the Communist are banning free media as well as closing off the areas of Tibet to foreign travelers? If there is nothing to hide why prevent the outside world from viewing and making determinations for ourselves through the process of free press and exposure? I ask you… is this acceptable treatment that we in the world can just turn and close our eyes to?

You can assist with the start of one small action. Please take one minute to sign the petition I previously posted if you have not already signed. It takes one minute to show action in support of global peace initiatives which stand against this type of brutal force. The petition is supported by the revered Archbishop Demond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winners, artists, other organizations and individuals like you and I.  Archbishop Desmond Tutu has stepped forward and asked us to raise our voices in support of human rights and the Tibetan cause.



Please share this blog with as many people as you possibly can for the world needs to know how they can help. Let’s join in global community please.

Thank you,

Leann Halsey

Review of Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day

Tashi Delek and Hello.

Remember to click on the Title to go to the blog for an updated posting and photos.

The Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day on March 12th showed the amazing strengths,  empowerment and professionalism of Tibetan Women. The day was filled with events to mark the 50th anniversary from the first women’s uprising in Tibet on March 12, 1959.  On the day of the uprising in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, thousands of Tibetan women joined together in a peaceful manner outside the Portola Palace, a much regarded place for it was once the home of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.  They gathered to non-violently protest the illegal occupation of Tibet by Communist China. The women joined in a peaceful force to try to save their homes, customs, culture, lands and most of all their loved ones. Many of the women suffered greatly due to brutal force used against them during their non-violent social action. They were imprisoned, beaten, and tortured. This is a remarkable history in the Tibetan culture because  women took a strong stance during a time in history when women were still very subdued.

Imagine this was even pre-women’s liberation in the United States, this was 1959.

The events held on March 12, 2009 paid homage to the thousands of women who gave their lives to empower women of their culture from 1959 forward.  The events took place at the Main Temple in Dharamsala which is located adjacent to the Dalai Lama’s home and Namgyal Monastery. There were several guests of honors but two I would like to speak about are women who lived the experience of the first uprising in Tibet and played a critical roll in the history of Tibetan Women.

The first woman I would like to mention is Shigatse Noryon Dewang. She is in her 80’s and has written a book. The book is titled In Memory of the Martyrs. Tibetan Women’s Association had gotten their hands on her life story several years back at which time they became dedicated to the translation and publication of her life story. I have yet to read it but from my understanding it is very moving and empowering for women. I had a much regarded conversation with the President of TWA and she explained to me the history of this book and how it came to fruition, as well as how honored and moved Shigatse Noryon Dewang was to participate in the events on March 12th. From my perspective it must be an amazing experience to see the suffering you endured and the hard work you devoted yourself to, still alive and empowering women fifty years later. Most Tibetans are extremely humble, which comes from their Buddhist nature, so to be honored in this way is something one does not strive for in their culture for vanity has little place in the Tibetan culture.  You will find a picture of her sitting on the stage and she is the small elderly woman. I hope to bring some of the books home to share her life story with others.

There was another  woman named Ama Adhe la who is recognized and honored as a strong Tibetan women who has endured much suffering. She is an ex-political prisoner who was held captive in the internment camps under Chinese control.  She experienced rape, was thrown into a pile of dead bodies during a time of unconsciousness then woke up, as well as she experienced extreme hunger.  During her times of suffering and torture she remained compassionate to her fellow Tibetan inmates and gave of herself in many ways. She is featured in the movie trailer provided below and is the first women to speak following the Dalai Lama’s comments of heros/heroines. I must take language classes on my next trip here which will provide me more opportunity to gain cultural competence as well I could have understood a great deal more of the guest speakers since they spoke in their first language of Tibetan. I managed to obtained some information from talking with other women.

There was a wonderful movie shown that evening in the courtyard of the temple that featured both women and it is titled ” Women of Tibet: A Quiet Revolution”.  The link is provided below and I ask that you please take a moment to watch this very important three minute message.


Also the film will be made available for purchase starting March 30th. It is available to be shipped from Albany, CA and is a very good documentary.


It raises some issues and I must comment on the feedback of one young Tibetan woman I spoke with in the following days. She said she saw me taking photos at the event and asked me for copies from the candle light vigil to post on her facebook account. We began talking and she told me how in the past she has lacked confidence as a woman but after seeing the film she felt more confident to be a Tibetan woman. I summarize this as a moment of empowerment. Thanks to the efforts of TWA, Tibetan women continue to gain confidence and strength to speak out as women in today’s world.

I would also like to thank TWA for the empowerment I felt from the experience. Because of their willingness to accommodate me for an internship last summer I was able to contribute efforts for a publication that reveals the stories of the two ex-political prisoners I interviewed and their fellow nuns known as the Drapchi Fourteen. These women endured brutal torture by the Chinese Communist while detained for many years in the Drapchi prison.

Stay tuned for more details as to how Pennies for Partnerships is acknowledged in the publication for their contributions to the book. As well find out where the two women are today who so desire to tell the world their story.

Thanks for reading and remember all new photos are posted online and there are many from the Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day. As well there were many more events not discussed like a photo exhibit and an art contest…see photos at:


There is a list of photo albums on the left side of the photobucket page and the newest photos are numbered as they have been experienced in the weeks in India.

Also please share this blog with anyone in your address book that you think might be interested in the Tibetan issues or social work. This work is all about advocacy and social action. Please help spread the word.

Thanks and I will blog again hopefully within the week. Currently my work at Lha has been offering me great experience with grant writing and I am learning a great deal that will assist me in my future as a social worker. The first set of markers for the “Make Your  Mark on Tibetan Education Campaign” has arrived. Thanks to Jerrmy for his time and efforts in mailing them we now know they will arrive. Also big thanks to Claire for her contribution so we could see how the paypal option worked. All the efforts and gifts even of the smallest amount adds up to a lot in the Tibetan Community. If you choose to do paypal remember your money goes very far so even a dollar donation makes a big Mark on the education for Tibetan refugees.

Also not to be forgotten are those who contributed from the very beginning and allowed me to bring some contributions…as in the clothing drive and also the “Make your Mark” campaign. Those who participated are mentioned below in a previous blog. Details are provided for those who are interested in making a contribution of any size. Also see the projects listing under the participate link on the Lha website and get an idea of the newest programs we are grant writing and fund raising for.


Lha office
Temple Road
McLeod Ganj
Upper Dharamsala-176219
Distt. Kangra
Himachal Pradesh

More details to come about Lha social work  and research on Non-violence.



Gaining Cultural Competence

lh 2009 resized 450

Gaining Cultural Competence….

Tashi Delek and Hello

Please remember to click on the title of this post and you will go directly to the blog where there are compelling photos and more.

So there has been quite a delay since I posted and much has happened here in the Tibetan community. First I have to say much cultural competence has been gained in the last two in half weeks. First there was the Losar (No Losar) which is the Tibetan New Year. I had the opportunity to engage in some of the annual delights as I mentioned in the previous posts. It is much like our Christmas/New Year although from my understanding I missed a lot of their traditions due to the campaign which I hope you understand is a way of expressing civil disobedience since the Communist Chinese are trying to force Tibetans to celebrate. They chose not to celebrate this year because of the many Tibetans (estimated number over 200) who died last year during the uprising.

There was a special meeting of all the top Buddhist leaders from the different religious sects so all the very important and high lamas were in town( I was unable to take my camera in without a media pass so there are no photos of the events attended by the Dalai Lama ). This could be compared to something similar to Bishops and Cardinals of the Catholic Church gathering for special religious meetings. During this time there is also the celebration of Monlam which is known as The Great Prayer Festival. Since Buddhism is so prevalent in the Tibetan culture large crowds participate in the events/prayer sessions. There was one day in which the Dalai Lama gathered with all the leaders, monastic community and the public for a special prayer to honor those who have died in Tibet.


Then there was a special prayer on March 9th that was considered a long life prayer for the Dalai Lama. These events are very special and I am so happy to have been able to experience and learn more about this time of the year in the Tibetan culture. To learn more about Monlam do a search online.

Following Losar and Monlam is the historical day of the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising. In 1959 after many years of Communist Chinese invasion a large population joined together to protect their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. They feared what the Chinese would do to him. When the Chinese invaded Tibet there was much blood shed and since then has been oppressive conditions of Tibetans. Last year as Tibetans attempted to exercise freedom of expression the Chinese military cracked down on Tibetans. Violence broke out although there skepticism as to who was actually responsible for the initial outbreak. The Tibetan people have endured horrible conditions in the past year due to a strike hard campaign by the Communist Chinese Government. They have had controlled movement in the country, monitored phone calls, restricted media and the Chinese government has even closed the country to foreign travelers and journalists.

Photobucket I would like to challenge you all to think about something… If the Chinese Government has nothing to hide regarding human rights in Tibet then why do they NOT allow journalists in to report the truth of what is going on. If the truth will not hurt the Communist Chinese and they journalists would not find human rights violations then why the restrictions on media? Why is the country closed to foreign travelers if there is nothing to hide? Why the increased military presence and the strike hard campaign if the Tibetans are being provided their basic human rights? These are all questions we need to be asking as well we need to be pressing for answers. For a more specific historical review go to the following link


I have one more concern for you to consider…If we as a nation in the United States value our freedoms why do we not think others should also have the same rights? If the Chinese Government continues to bail us out of our debts as a country we should be concerned for our future. The Communist Chinese Government is very powerful and gaining more power in the world sometimes through trade agreements and economic bailouts.

chinese speaker This past week I had the opportunity to hear three Chinese speakers who are supportive of the Tibetan cause. The Chinese speakers express their concern not only for the human rights violations of Tibetans but for the entire Chinese population.

I plead with you to give consideration to why more than 100,000 Tibetans have fled into exile and why there are so many in Tibet that would like to still get out. How can we hear their voice if we do not listen to those in exile who are trying to help a voice that has been silenced to be heard by the International Community? It is our responsibility as free people to hear the cry of those who are not free. Here is a recent write up of the efforts of our government to assist and I commend Congress.


There is a recent movie out titled “Murder in the Snow”. It was filmed by some climbers who witnessed the murder of a Tibetan while on the escape route. I urge you if you can find it to watch it. http://www.tibetmurderinthesnow.com/

Prime Minister Samdong Rinpoche speaks in the YouTube video above. He is the political leader of the Tibetan government in Exile.

This is reality and what is happening to Tibetans who are trying to find a quality of life that will allow them basic freedoms as you and I know. Without these freedoms one cannot reach self actualization and reach their full potential. A few days after the film was shown I was walking down the road to go visit my friend in the hospital and a young nun about the age of sixteen was walking in front of me, as I walked up beside her we exchanged a Tashi Delek and then walked a little while quietly side by side. Then she started to speak in broken English to me. Eventually the conversation brought me to the question of when did you come to India. At that time she began to tell me the compelling story of how her friend was shot by the Chinese military while they were trying to escape. I just couldn’t believe I was talking to this young beautiful girl who experienced first hand the murder in the snow and it was a friend of hers. She began to tell me how sad she feels.

I have to say I have never experienced a walk like that before. She asked me if I would come visit her and so I will need to follow up on that. She lives in the community of Norbulinga at the nunnery Dolmaling.

Stories like this are heart wrenching. I have thought a great deal about the nuns I interviewed last summer who had been imprisoned. More to come on what came of the interviews with the two women I interviewed. Stay turned because it is really good news for them and for me…..

lh tibetan resized 450 Also take a look at the newest photos – Leann’s Photobucket link. Also any photos from this trip are in the main folder of listed in albums starting with number 1…..

Thanks for reading and considering the questions posed.

Leann Halsey


More from Murder In The Snow

Another YouTube video clip from the movie Murder In The Snow,

Dramatic movie trailer for the film Murder In The Snow,

Send dry erase markers for the Make Your Mark campaign

Tashi Delek and Hello. Please note that many photos have been added to my earlier blog post about Tibetan Losar so be sure to visit the blog on the web at indiasocialwork.wordpress.com and also take a moment to share this link with others. Also remember my frequent status updates on Twitter @indiasocialwork.

Make Your Mark dry erase markers 350 160 I was informed today by the director of Lha that they go through a lot of markers weekly, so this helps: Annette and Jeremy Scott participated in the beginnings of a Dry Erase Marker drive. A big thanks for the 40 plus markers that will be made use of in classes at Lha.

I have talked to Ngawang the director about doing a marker drive since it is a critical tool for the Tibetans education and he was excited about it. I have to give credit to my friend Kelly Buckley who is a teacher and left a message before I departed that she would be happy to mail the donation I was not able to get from her before departing. You know that ice storm set me back so I apologize to anyone that I did not get back with in phone calls before departing.

So here’s the deal…if you have seen the documentary film Paperclips you will understand where this idea comes from. It also goes hand in hand with the Pennies for Partnerships concept. It takes just a little bit of effort and a small investment to “Make Your Mark” on Tibetan education. I found dry erase markers two for $1.00 at the dollar store. Just pick one up and slip it into an envelope and mail it to:

Lha Office

Temple Road

McLeod Ganj 176219

Dharamsala, Distt. Kangra


For those who are real savvy you know you can go online and print out a mailing label and mail directly from your home so it takes even less effort.

OK please if you know of people who would like to participate in the “Make Your Mark” on a Tibetan education with a dry erase marker please forward the information. Let’s see if we can make something happen like what happened in the Paperclips campaign.Let’s overwhelm the Lha office wiht the most critical tool for Tibetan education a dry erase marker.

Make Your Mark

On your Mark, get set Go….send markers Please.

Thanks to you all for your kindness and generosity. The gratitude is sincerely felt by all who receive your donations here in the Tibetan community.

Thu jee chee (thank you),


Paper Clips movie trailer

One of the inspirations for the Make Your Mark campaign for dry erase markers for education.

please see also my social work blog post of March 10, 2009 – for more information & encouragement regarding Make Your Mark: