Thank you to everyone who has pledged their support.
We did it, we reached our target and now the project will go ahead!
But please encourage your friends, family, work colleagues, anyone you can to pledge their support so that all five of the young people who have been selected are able to participate in the TibetXChange programme and raise awareness about the situation in Tibet.
What is TibetXChange?
TibetXChange provides a unique opportunity for young Tibetans living in Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim in the Indian Himalayas and Ravangla, a Tibetan refugee settlement in South Sikkim, to spend two weeks at Swansea University raising awareness about the cultural, political and economic marginalisation of Tibet, the growing trend of self-immolation among Tibetans desperate to draw attention to their situation and the importance of continuing peaceful dialogue with the Chinese authorities regarding the future of Tibet. The exchange will give young Tibetans an opportunity to develop their confidence, skills and capacity as community leaders.
Why was TibetXChange set up?
The idea for TibetXChange came about when students from Swansea University travelled to Sikkim in October 2013 for an interdisciplinary fieldcourse and met with young Tibetans living in the capital Gangtok. Many were shocked to learn about the situation facing the people of Tibet and the threat to Tibetan culture, religion and identity and returned to Swansea determined to do something to create an opportunity for young Tibetans to talk about their country and its future.
How will TibetXChange work?
TibetXChange is led by Professor Heaven Crawley at Swansea University in collaboration with the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) based in Dharamsala.
The first part of the project is a Youth Empowerment Workshop organised by officers working for the CTA which is taking place in Gangtok from 18th-27th January 2014. Around 30 young Tibetans will attend the workshop which provides in-depth information about Tibetan history, culture, religion and politics.
At the end of the workshop five young people will be selected to take part in the youth exchange programme and will travel to the UK to spend two weeks at Swansea University discussing Tibetan culture, identity and politics with a wide range of different audiences.
Why should I support TibetXChange?
The future of Tibet, as well as Tibetan language, culture and identity, depends on the next generation of Tibetans, most of whom were born in India and have had no opportunity to visit their homeland.
TibetXChange provides a unique opportunity for young Tibetans to develop their skills and capacity as community leaders and to engage in international dialogue about the future of Tibet. TibetXChange also provides a unique opportunity for students at Swansea University to learn more about important international issues, hear about the experience of young people growing up in very different social, cultural and political environments and develop their own leadership and communication skills.
How can I support TibetXChange?
We are aiming to raise £1,000 through this Crowdfunder campaign to enable one of the young people selected at the end of the workshop to take place in the exchange programme. This will cover the costs of their airfare, visa and internal travel in India and the UK.
How will my support be rewarded?
Your support for the TibetXChange programme will be rewarded with our heartfelt thanks expressed as a personal thank you on our Facebook page, on Twitter and in the project report which will be presented to the Central Tibetan Administration and Office of the Dalai Lama at the end of the project.
In addition those who pledge £10 or more will receive one of our special handcrafted gifts made by Tibetan exiles living in and around Dharamsala. The production of handicrafts provides a livelihood for Tibetans living in exile and enables them to send their children to school.
Pledge £10 we will send you a Tibetan Buddhist silk offering scarf which has special significance in Tibetan culture.
Pledge £25 and we will send you a set of Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags which are said to bring happiness, long life and prosperity to the flag planter and those in the vicinity.
Pledge £50 and you will receive a Tibetan canvas wall hanging of 'The paradox of our age' attributed to the Dalai Lama and reflecting on the ironies of modern day life.
Pledge £75 and we will send you a beautiful handmade letter holder with auspicious symbols made in silk brocade.
And if you pledge £100 you will receive a beautiful handmade letter holder with auspicious symbols made in sik brocade and a personal handwritten letter from one of the Tibetan young people involved in the programme telling you about their experience of being involved in TibetXChange and the ways in which they have benefited.
Our biggest supporters will be given the opportunity to spend the day at Swansea University with the young Tibetans and other supporters and will be our very special guests for an evening of delicious Tibetan food, wonderful music and of course an opportunity to dance!
Thank you for your support and for making a difference.