Bay Area Friends of Tibet -- Special Projects

Please click on the tabs below to find out more about each of these projects.

  • SEMSHAE
    Heart Songs
  • TIBETAN-HIMALAYAN
    HEALTHCARE
  • DZONGKAR
    CHOEDE
  • TIBETAN
    QUAKE
  • CHINESE
    OUTREACH
  • TIBET WOMEN'S
    SOCCER
  • TECHUNG
    FILM
  • LHAMO TSO
    FREEDOM FUND

SEMSHAE—SONGS FROM THE HEART

The mission of Semshae is to ensure that Tibet's language and culture of compassion is preserved through children's music for all ages.

Children with musical instruments

Semshae, which means “Songs from the Heart” in Tibetan, is a project to create a new audio recording of Tibetan children’s songs. Many individuals are aware of Tibetan Buddhism’s culture of compassion and nonviolence, but they may not be aware that the continued existence of Tibetan culture is seriously threatened. Through music, Semshae will be able to preserve and distribute a part of Tibet’s culture around the world. It will be beneficial for Tibetan children in Tibet and in exile, and for the Tibetan-speaking regions in the Himalayas such as Nepal, Bhutan, Ladakh and Sikkim who share the same Buddhist language.

Semshae’s first-year project goals:

  • Create a high-quality professional song album available both in the United States and internationally. - DONE!
  • Release the first Semshae album in the spring of 2010. Release date is May 22.
  • Organize a CD release tour across the U.S. to facilitate distribution of the CD. - DONE!
  • Donate 500 albums to the nearly 20,000 students in the 106 kindergartens, 87 primary schools, and 44 middle schools in India, Nepal, and Bhutan.
  • Distribute 1,500 albums and 50 CD players to children inside Tibet through a partnership with educational organizations.
  • Host 4-day children’s workshops including musical concerts with the children in Tibetan communities in North America, India, and Nepal.

“It is my hope that through the efforts of Semshae and through the power of music I can help to support the next generation of Tibetans and the Tibetan culture.”
— Tashi Shazur, Artist, Founder, and Director of Semshae

More about Semshae:

Girl playing Tibetan instrument

For the past four years, Tashi Shazur has conducted informal feasibility research and related efforts to launch Semshae. He has already created eight original songs for the Semshae album which are ready to record including a track for children’s story telling. Tashi plans to sing and perform all the songs recorded on this album with the assistance of Tibetan children singers in North America and Nepal. This album will feature authentic Tibetan musical instruments such as Damnyen (six-stringed plucked lute), Piwang (two-stringed bowed fiddle), and Lingbu (bamboo flute).

In the past ten years, the number of Tibetan recordings released outside of Tibet has significantly increased. Although created by talented artists, often recordings released by exiled Tibetans lack adequate funding and rarely possess the professional demeanor they deserve. For this reason, in order for Semshae to create a quality and timeless album, it is imperative that Tashi collaborate with individuals who understand the history, purpose, impact, and significance of this unique effort. Once appropriate funding has been secured, Tashi will begin his work with singers and musicians in the (San Francisco) Bay Area and Tibetan musicians in Nepal and India.

Watch a video about the project

Support Semshae to Preserve Tibetan Culture:

Bay Area Friends of Tibet (BAFOT) currently serves as Semshae’s fiscal sponsor. All contributions to Semshae made through BAFOT are tax-deductible to the extent provides by US law. Semshae collaborates with a separate group of advisors and ambassadors who support the organization’s strategy and mission. Tashi Shazur serves as the Director of Semshae on a volunteer basis and is supported by one low-cost consultant. Tashi operates Semshae from his home in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Currently, Semshae receives 100% of its funding from individual donors, many of whom are serving as ambassadors for the Semshae organization. Semshae needs to raise $80,000 to ensure the program’s success and professionalism.

Semshae relies on the generosity of gifts from donors and time and expertise from volunteers from around the world. Please join us in protecting and restoring Tibetan culture through music.

Semshae CD release poster

Click on image to enlarge

Watch a video about the project

To donate to Semshae, you may give online using Paypal,
or you may contact:
Tashi Sharzur, Founder & Director
Phone: +1 (650) 312-9010
Email: semshae@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.semshae.org/
Semshae song samples are available on MySpace

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“I believe music is a powerful medium to kindle interest in the young minds about their culture...I request our community members and friends to support this project in whatever way possible.”
—Tashi Wangdi, Representative of H.H. The Dalai Lama for the Americas

Photos courtesy: Tashi Dhondup (George)

 

THE TIBETAN-HIMALAYAN HEALTHCARE PROJECT

An adequate health-care system is part of an ethical society. Maintaining good health has been recognized as a prerequisite for optimizing individuals’ educational potentials. Provision of community health care as a basic need protects against future civil unrest and supports peace.

Elderly Tibetan woman

A critical link to the survival of the ancient Tibetan culture is the health of Tibetans.There are approximately 150,000 Tibetan refugees residing across India, with the majority living in the north, northeast and south. Many other Tibetan refugees have taken up residence in Nepal and Bhutan. There are serious inadequacies in infrastructure and access to medicines and healthcare workers among Tibetans and Tibetans-in-exile, including the monastic population. The burden of illness in this society is characterized by diarrheal disease, skin infections, respiratory infections, fevers, and especially among the elderly, joint pains and cardiovascular problems. The rates of tuberculosis are extremely high.

The Tibetan-Himalayan Healthcare Project has been created to improve the health of Tibetans and other communities in India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet. The Project identifies high-quality health care facilities and projects suffering from a lack of financial resources and raises funds to facilitate their mission of providing essential healthcare. It integrates both Tibetan and western medicine and culturally sensitive measures as needed.

Young monks

A number of physicians and professionals with extensive experience in medical relief work and healthcare are now working with the project to ensure that your contributions are efficiently distributed to healthcare facilities and projects in the Tibetan-Himalayan region struggling from a lack of financial resources to continue their good work. Dr. Joseph Lux, an infectious disease physician and psychiatrist, the Tibetan-Himalayan Healthcare founder, and Tracey Simon, a social worker with extensive experiences in healthcare, are coordinating this effort. Numerous other professionals are supporting the project.

The Project is being launched with a focus on two monastic organizations—the Samten Tse Charitable Foundation and the Sera Mey Monastery in India to support their monastery clinics, community healthcare, and social service related work. Additional organizations will be added to the list of recipients in the future.

The Tibetan-Himalayan Healthcare Project is a project of the Bay Area Friends of Tibet, which ensures that 95 per cent of proceeds raised for the project are used to support the healthcare project’s needs.

Dr. Joseph Lux and Tracey Simon of New York are co-coordinators of the project.

You may obtain more information on the project by contacting our coordinator by email.

Your contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. You may make a contribution right now via Paypal. Thank you.

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Photos on this page used by permission of and copyright © 2005, Robert Light

DZONGKAR CHOEDE MONASTERY

Dzongkar Choede Monastery

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SUPPORT EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS IN TIBET

On April 14th a 6.9 earthquake hit Kyegundo (pronounced: Jye-kun-do), a city of more than 100,000 mostly Tibetans in Kham, the Eastern region of Chinese-occupied Tibet. As of 7 days after the quake, the official reports indicted over 2,200 deaths, over 12,000 people injured, 195 people still missing and more than 80% collapsed buildings. These numbers are increasing by the day. Unofficial reports indicate death toll of over 4,000 and on the rise.

The great majority of the people who survived this earthquake are impoverished former Tibetan nomads, herders and farmers who had come to the Kyegundo under China’s policy to settle nomads in public housing projects in the city. While China claimed this policy was necessary to protect grasslands and alleviate poverty, Tibetans and human rights activists feel that this policy undermined the Tibetans’ traditional way of life, which had preserved the environment for hundreds of years and provided them with a livelihood.

Today most of Kyegundo’s residents are homeless and sleeping outdoors in freezing temperatures, more than 12,000 feet above see level. The local hospital was destroyed. Rescue efforts are slow because the city is 500 miles from the nearest airport and an 18-hour drive from the closest city. Many Chinese relief workers are suffering from altitude sickness. Tibetan monks and surviving lay people are at the forefront of the rescue effort and need our help.

Earthquake in Tibet--how you can help

Jyekundo (Yushu,Chinese) Tibet: Summer Festival & Horse Race-before April Earthquake

April 16, 2010 — HELP VICTIMS OF THE EARTHQUAKE IN TIBET- This devastating earthquake took place in eastern TIBET, a remote mountainous region at 14,000 ft. Approx. 97% of the people living here are Tibetans who work and live as farmers, herders, and nomads, and who are deeply connected to the land, environment, and the many Buddhist Monasteries surrounding the area. This earthquake is devastating for the tragic loss of life as well as the profound effect it wiil have on the Tibetan way of life.

In this video clip, you will see local people and nomads (so many who have perished) who traveled from all over the region for this annual summer gathering. This vast plain, known for the summer festival and celebrated horse races, is now being used to provide temporary shelter for survivors of the earthquake. Nearby monks have been performing ancient Buddhist rituals and prayers for the benefit of both those who have died and for those who are suffering.

Thus far 2,000 people are reported to have perished. Tens of thousands of survivors are in shock and in need of shelter, food,water and medical supplies. Many organizations are raising funds...PLEASE DONATE and help the people of TIBET in this time of overwhelming devastation.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

You can donate money for earthquake relief through Bay Area Friends of Tibet. We will channel the funds directly to Tibetan organizations on the ground. This will empower local Tibetans in their rescue, relief and rebuilding efforts.

CHINESE OUTREACH

In September 2003 His Holiness the Dalai Lama's guidance included telling us that one of the most important things that the Friends of Tibet can do was to bring the Chinese and Tibetan people together to bridge the gap in understanding about Tibet that exists between them.

Photographs of Tiananmen Square Commemoration on June 4, 2011 at Portsmouth Square, San Francisco

Jianglin Li speaks on "1959 Lhasa: The Truth vs Propaganda" March 13 at UC Berkeley.

Bay Area Chinese Tibet Friendship was able to bring over 50 Chinese students and scholars to attend the event with the Dalai Lama at Stanford University on October 15, 2010.

Dalai Lama Happy to be Greeted by Bay Area Chinese and Tibetan Friendship

Off campus, Dalai Lama talks China with students (Stanford Daily)

His Holiness the Dalai Lama Discusses Tibet with Chinese Students (Tibet.net)

Press Release on the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo


Bay Area Chinese and Tibetan Friendship

New Website in Chinese Aims to Close Information Gap on Tibet (ICT)

www.liaowangxizang.net (in Chinese)

China Tibet Friendship website (in Chinese)

Tiananmen Commemoration May 31, 2009

Tibetans and Chinese friends commemorate 20th anniversary of June 4


Articles in Chinese

Boxun.com

Peacehall.com

Justice.cn

Arjia Rinpoche: What Are Real Tibetans Thinking?

First Folk Tibetan Question Forum Stages Voices on Both Sides

The Distorted Image of Tibet
Special interview with Chinese writer
Ms. Zhu Rui in the Epoch Times.

Complete article in Chinese

English version

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TIBET WOMEN’S SOCCER

Our Cause

Our goal is to introduce a formal soccer training program to the female members of the Tibetan refugee community in India in order to improve their quality of life and to foster a connection with female athletes worldwide.

For more information, please visit the Tibet Women’s Soccer website

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TECHUNG FILM PROJECT

Portrait of Techung

The Film

TECHUNG is a half hour documentary film highlighting the world renowned Tibetan musician, singer and composer, Tashi Dhondup Sharzur and his indomitable spirit in educating Tibetan exile kids and toddlers about our literature and language through songs and music. This film will also explore the conflicting realities of a gifted Tibetan artist who struggles to live a modest life while preserving one of the oldest arts on this planet. With the help of numerous archived images and videos, this film aims to explore the current status of Tibetan arts and culture in exile through an artiste's world. It effectively highlights the complexities and spirits of exile Tibetans in passing down their rich cultural heritage to the younger generation Tibetans who are born and being raised in exile. For more about Tashi Dhondup visit www.techung.com.

For more information about the film, please visit the Techung Film website

TOTAL FUNDS NEEDED: $9,890 USD

We're therefore requesting donations for our film- TECHUNG. We also have attractive complimentary gifts for our donors.

  1. Below US $ 9 - Thank you for your kind contribution.
  2. Above US $ 10 - Personalized thank you mail from the filmmaker + online access to our final film.
  3. Above US $ 80 - Personalized thank you mail from the filmmaker + online access to our final film and DVD+ Techung's latest musical CD, Semshae with autograph + thank you credit at the end of the film.
  4. Above US $ 250 - Personalized thank you mail from the filmmaker + online access to our final film and DVD + Techung's latest musical CD, Semshae with autograph + thank you credit at the end of the film + Tshirt especially ordered for the donor.
  5. Above US $ 500 - Personalized thank you mail from the filmmaker + online access to our final film and DVD + Techung's latest musical CD, Semshae with autograph + thank you credit at the end of the film + Tshirt especially ordered for the donor + DVD copy of the director's latest feature film- Richard Gere is My Hero

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LHAMO TSO FREEDOM FUND

Dhondup WangchenOn 28 December 2009, filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen was sentenced to six years imprisonment for "subversion", following a secret trial in Xining. Dhondup Wangchen had been detained shortly after completing filming for a documentary called “Leaving Fear Behind”. His film portrays the actual living conditions in occupied Tibet and features interviews with Tibetans talking about the situation in Tibet.  It was shot secretly and smuggled out of the country in March, 2008, just days before mass demonstrations erupted around the anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day.  In Dhondup Wangchen’s own words: “At a time of great difficulty and a feeling of helplessness, [the idea of our film is to] get some meaningful response and results. It is very difficult [for Tibetans] to go to Beijing and speak out there.  So that is why we decided to show the real feelings of Tibetans inside Tibet through this film.”

His family believes he has been tortured while imprisoned, and that he has contracted Hepatitis B and that his health is failing. His wife, Lhamo Tso, has been living under hard conditions since she escaped to India and has had to support not only her four children, but also the parents of her husband.  She is now living in the United States.

Lhamo Tso is in San Francisco to build awareness of the case of her husband, and to campaign for his release.  She needs your help to free her husband, support their 4 children and Dhondup’s parents.

The Bay Area Friends of Tibet – an organization advocating for Tibetans’ rights since 1983 – believes the case of Dhondup Wangchen highlights the urgent need for basic human rights and democratic freedoms in Chinese-occupied Tibet.  The Bay Area Friends of Tibet president Giovanni Vassallo has called on the Chinese government to release Dhondup Wangchen immediately, if only on humanitarian grounds.  He also said, “Please give your help to this kind and brave lady and reunite her with her most courageous husband, who did nothing wrong.”  He added, “Please give generously to Lhamo Tso and Dhondup Wangchen, and show your support by donating badly needed funds for  this freedom-loving family.”




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