Dharamsala India is home to many NGOs: some, like the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy, address politics, others, like Lha, teach English, photography and computers to local Tibetan refugees, and others, like GuChuSum, work to help ex-political prisoners and their families.
The newest -- Learning And Ideas For Tibet (LIT) -- is very unique. Its mission is to educate Dharamsala's myriad of visitors on the basic issues of Tibet, and immerse them in culture, as well as raise awareness for political prisoners.
Monday through Friday, there are programs, creatively put together to combine all of these elements. On Monday, there is a 'momo and movie night.' Other nights feature thenthuk noodles and talks by ex-political prisoners. There is also a cultural night, with local musicians and artists.
The founders all hail from Tibet, and two are former political prisoners who have suffered unimaginable torture, but have managed to rise above, and use their experiences to educate others.
When I am in Dharamsala, LIT is two floors below my apartment. Every night, like clockwork, I would hear people filing downstairs -- and often, late into the evening, I would hear people outside, talking and pondering their new-found information.
Every evening, Sangpo would be in the kitchen, teaching Tibetan recipes, and cooking amazing meals for LIT's visitors. I would frequent the kitchen, some of the monks would come over to help prepare the evening meals -- the kitchen itself is abuzz with information, much like every other kitchen, it winds up being the 'heart of the home.'
Like their kitchen, LIT's site is full of information.
If you are planning a visit to Dharamsala, India, it is an amazing place to start learning about the local culture and situation in Tibet.
Below, Sangpo talks about how he came to India and how he started LIT: