India diary part 2: Further updates from India (Chandigarh, Paonta Sahib, Shalu Monastery & ClementTown) from our CEO Philippa Carrick

After our week in Dharamsala, we were on the road. Long drives, long days, and catching up with longstanding projects! Our first stop was Chandigarh to spend a day with Tsering Dolkar who runs Help on Hand single handed. We have been supporting since 2008 through providing a salary for TseDolkar, an emergency medical fund and funds to help cover the costs of Hepatitis B medicines through one of our Gifts of Hope on www.enlightenedgifts.org. It is always inspiring to spend time with TseDolkar and meet her patients. On this visit, we also met some of the doctors she works with, and witnessed the high regard and warmth they hold her in.

Some views of her Patient House where she looks after patients and their family while receiving treatment in the highly rated Chandigarh hospitals, not forgetting the buffalo basking in the tank the house overlooks!

It was then on to Paonta Sahib. Here we saw the football ground that, in June, hosted the CONIFA Women’s World Cup and the hotly contested Gyalyum Chenmo Memorial Gold Cup, the annual football tournament for Tibetan teams from around the world. Tibet Relief Fund were delighted to sponsor the food for all contestants! We were also hosted a wonderful traditional dance display.

Also at Paonta, we met some of the children at the school and families who received our Covid dry foods support. Unexpectedly, we were taken to Shalu Monastery that has a temple in the settlement – we had helped out with cupboards and desks for their monastery near Dharamsala a few years ago. It was also great to discover there are 325 mango trees that bear fruit; sadly we were too late to enjoy samples of this year’s crop!

Next up was the Chushi Gangdruk old people’s home in ClementTown. It was wonderful to see the elders and the improvements made to the home in the three years since we last visited, and to meet some of the elders who receive our annual stipend. Many of them use this to help with the cost of medicines and purchase butter lamps and offerings for their personal altar in their room.

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