Tibet Foundation

Tibet Foundation: Trustees Report 2005

Oct 26, 2005

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Tibet Foundation: Trustees Report 2005

Phuntsog Wangyal, a founding trustee began his presentation of Trustees’ Report at the Tibet Foundation Day by saying that he was very pleased to see so many of the Foundation supporters (over 200 people) there that day, both old, familiar faces and some new ones too. Following is the full text of his report.

 

On behalf of all the trustees, I would like to give a brief overview of Tibet Foundation’s work during the past 20 years, together with a few particular highlights in our work in the recent past. I know many of you are familiar with our work, but there may be others who are not.

 

TIBET FOUNDATION

Tibet Foundation was established in 1985 as a UK registered charity. It is constituted by a Deed of Trust.

 

OBJECTIVES

Tibet Foundation’s objects are:

• To promote the culture, religion and way of life of people of Tibetan origin,

• To relieve poverty amongst Tibetan peoples,

• To raise the standards of education and health care in Tibetan communities and

• To support continuity of Tibetan Buddhism and culture.

 

To further these objectives, the Foundation maintains and develops schemes of sponsorship of individuals and institutions, and programmes of support for better education, health care, the promotion of Tibetan Buddhism and culture, and the relief of poverty.

 

MANAGEMENT

There are three trustees and a Board of Advisors to assist them. The trustees primarily focus on the governance of the charity.

 

Currently, Tibet Foundation has a team of four full-time and two part-time staff in London. They manage the work with the help of several long-standing, dedicated volunteers.

 

AREA

Area of its operation is mainly Asia in countries like India, Nepal, Tibet and Mongolia. In addition the Foundation organises a large number of cultural events in UK and Europe, creating a greater awareness of Tibetan Buddhism and culture.

 

ACTIVITIES

India / Nepal

In India and Nepal where we began our work, the Foundation has supported nearly 1,000 Tibetan refugee students annually in some 86 schools, monasteries and nunneries. We have been supporting 5 hospitals and clinics, 4 old peoples homes, 2 performing arts institutes, built 3 students and monks hostels and provided a number health centres with casualty facilities, ambulances, training for health workers, and so on.

 

Our programme in India subcontinent still continues to be the most consistent and successful programmes of the Foundation. We provide support for development projects that will benefit the community in the long term. We also support community-driven projects, which may require only a small donation, but can bring long-term benefits.

 

Tibet / China

In Tibet the Foundation has supported over 900 students in 18 primary, middle and monastic schools in Tibet. We have also been helping 2 old peoples homes, set up income generating schemes to support over 15 thousand families, trained 60 Tibetan physicians to work for the local people, improved facilities and gave continuous support to 3 Tibetan hospitals and clinics, and given grants to 13 students to study in Europe.

 

Towards relieving poverty at home and encouraging students to go to schools, the Foundation has recently started a project providing a number of schools in Tibet with funds to give free meals to the students.

 

Mongolia

In Mongolia our principal activity is to support Buddhist education and to help rebuild their unique tradition largely based on Tibetan Buddhism and culture. In addition to helping some 160 students to study Buddhism in India, the Foundation has helped in the translation and publication of some 30 Buddhist books into Mongolian and produced a number of Buddhist education videos in Mongolian language for Mongolian children. We had more than 50 projects in the Buddhism in Mongolia portfolio and most of them have now been successfully completed.

 

Currently, we are in the final phase of one of our major projects - a project producing a unique catalogue of Buddhist artefacts from five major Mongolian museums. It will be one of the first such books ever produced.

 

We have also successfully negotiated with the Mongolian government to help produce complimentary textbooks containing traditional Mongolian and Buddhist values for the secondary schools in Mongolia. Once completed all secondary students would be introduced to basic concepts of Buddhism and given an understanding of an overview of Buddhist values.

 

UK / Europe

In Europe, mainly in the UK the Foundation has organised a number of cultural events including exhibitions, public talks and seminars on Tibet and Tibetan culture, and visits of Tibetan scholars and performing artists. The regular visits by Tibetan physicians and their consultation and seminars on Tibetan medicine have continued to be particularly successful. These public activities and quarterly publication of the Foundation Newsletters over the years have contributed much to the education of the general public and increasing awareness of the richness of Tibetan culture, and also generated support for the Foundation's other programmes.

 

This year in relation to our 20th anniversary of the Foundation, we have organised a series of successful events –

• A UK cultural tour of 11 children with 2 teachers from the Tibetan Homes Foundation in Mussoorie in North India;

• Celebration of Saga Dawa, a commemoration of Lord Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and Parinirvana.

• Celebration of the 70th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama with a special presentation by Patrick Gaffney, a founding trustee of the Foundation.

• A panel discussion on Tulkus in contemporary Tibetan society with Professor Dawa Tsering from Beijing and Geshe Pema Dorjee from Dharamsala,

• Sponsored writing and publication of a textbook on Buddhism for A-Level students in the UK, and

• Planting of Himalayan flowers for peace at the Tibetan Peace Garden in London.

 

MONITORING THE PROJECTS

On a regular basis our representatives in the field and staff from our office in London pay visits to our projects in India, Tibet and Mongolia. We pay special attention that our funds are used effectively and efficiently for the purpose for which they are given.

 

It is a common practice that whenever an opportunity arises even our trustees meet and discuss personally with 3 key stakeholders:

• Those officers in the government whose decision affects our projects,

• Those local people in the field whose interest we uphold and protect, and

• Those representatives who work in the field on our behalf.

 

For example, in the past 18 months, myself as a trustee with special responsibility for overseas projects have visited India three times, Tibet and China three times and Mongolia twice. In addition my colleague trustee, Bunny also had the opportunity to visit some of our projects in northern India.

 

FUNDING

This year we celebrate the Tibet Foundation’s 20th anniversary of helping the Tibetan people and supporting the continuity of their unique religion and culture. The Foundation has enjoyed continued support from many committed individual sponsors and subscribers. Contributions from individual and anonymous donations have helped to maintain a steady income.

 

During the past 20 years in support of our various programmes, the Foundation has raised and contributed over 4 million and 800 thousand pounds, i.e. in Indian rupees over 384 million or in Chinese Yuan over 72 million.

 

In this financial year ended 31st March 2005, Tibet Foundation's total expenditure was 516 thousand pounds - an increase of more than half a million pounds compared with our expenditure of just 3 and half thousand pounds in the first year of the charity in 1986. In the same year we have received a total income of over 279 thousand pounds, a huge increase compared to just 8 thousand pounds in the year 1986.

 

The total income includes restricted funds, which are restricted to specific areas of the Foundation’s work. A summary of current accounts will be published in due course in our Newsletter.

 

Information

The Foundation's policy is to provide its supporters with as much information as possible. The Tibet Foundation Newsletter is produced quarterly, including updates on the charity's activities and general information on Tibet and Tibetan culture.

 

Over the years the Foundation has also provided some 150 public lectures and talks and arranged programmes of cultural exchanges and visits of Tibetan scholars and learned lamas to the West. From the office, the Foundation staff answer many enquiries from the general public.

 

Written guidelines for standards and procedures are provided, including Handbooks for employees and volunteers, Guidelines for special projects, and the charity's Child Protection and Equal Opportunities policies.

 

Future Developments

The trustees wish to acknowledge the improvements, which have been made in all areas of the Foundation's work. They would like to see continued efforts to help the Tibetans in the fields of education and health care, preservation of their culture and the promotion of knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism, through publication and improved education.

 

The Foundation would like to make efforts to increase its income through a number of fundraising projects in the coming months and years, and to see if its limited administration costs can be reduced even further. Attention will also be paid to our working procedures that have remained consistent for 20 years and continue to update and make them relevant to the new situation and environment in the 21st century.

 

We would also like to see if procedures for requesting funds from the Foundation could be made even clearer and more relevant to our objectives and consistent with the Foundation’s policies. A concerted effort will be made to improve further the good relation and cooperation we already enjoy from the authorities in India, Nepal, Tibet, China and Mongolia.

 

Trustees' Responsibilities

As required under the Trust Deed the trustees have prepared financial statements for each financial year, which give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the charity. Financial statements have been prepared and the accounts audited. To the best of their knowledge they have adopted suitable accounting policies, applied them consistently and kept proper accounting records and safeguards for the assets of the charity.

 

Acknowledgements

We are pleased that the Foundation's work has been much appreciated by the people, the community leaders and the government officials involved - its support is clearly bringing great benefit to the Tibetan people and to Buddhist culture. The Board of Trustees would especially like to acknowledge and credit these achievements to the Foundation's supporters for their generosity, to its partners for their co-operation, and to its staff and volunteers for their commitment and dedication.

 

I would like to express my deepest appreciation and thank them all.

 

Phuntsog Wangyal

Trustee

 

The Tibet Foundation Day was held on 21st October 2005 at the Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS, University of London, 10 Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London