Tibetan Refugee Sponsorship Programme

How you can help Tibetan refugees in India

"I am committed to [seeing a happier, more peaceful world], just as I am committed as a Buddhist monk to promoting religious harmony, and as a Tibetan to the preservation of Tibetan religion, culture and language. Tibetan culture is characterized by peace and compassion, which makes it something worth preserving."


His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, speaking at the Glastonbury Festival in 2015

Since the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959, between 125,000 and 150,000 Tibetans have become long-term refugees in countries around the world, ranging from Switzerland to the US to right here in New Zealand.

Click on the image to visit Google maps and explore Sera Jey

By far the largest community of Tibetan refugees live in India, some of whom now live at Sera Jey Monastery, the home of our senior lamas, Geshe Nyima Dorjee and Lhagon Rinpoche. The residents at Sera Jey include both monks and children.

Geshela, our resident teacher, travels to Sera Jey to study with His Holiness the Dalai Lama every year, and during his 2012-13 visit he was approached by residents for assistance. They spoke at length about their need for financial assistance for everything from basic living necessities such as food, healthcare, and education, to support for monks who are studying to receive their Geshe degree.

In 2013, at the request of Geshela, the Christchurch Centre establish the Tibetan Refugee Sponsorship Programme (TRSP) through which donors and sponsors can assist Tibetan refugee children and monks of the Sera Monastery to lessen their hardship regarding basic life necessities, medical care, and education.

TRSP is operated by committed volunteers of our Centre, and overseen by Geshe Nyima. To date, 14 refugees have gained TRSP sponsors, while multiple monks have been assisted from the TRSP general fund.

Sponsorship: a simple step for you, a huge difference for them

You can sponsor an individual child or monk ($300/year, or 12 monthly payments of $25).

Sera Jey monks

A sponsor can be an individual, or a group of friends or family. Sponsors receive annual feedback and may also receive letters from their sponsee. TRSP also offers sponsors the option to have an annual message delivered on their behalf to their sponsee.

You can also make a one-off or monthly donation in the amount of your choice to support the medical, education, and living expenses of monks with an urgent need. Donations of any size are gratefully received and will make a real difference.

Learn their stories

Visit the Refugees seeking sponsorship page for more information on the monks and children who seek assistance. They each have a unique story to tell, and every single one would benefit hugely from your help.

There are no administration costs for the TRSP programme, which means 100% of your donation will go to the monks and children at Sera Jey. If you choose to sponsor an individual, your $300 donation will be distributed as you've requested.  Where individuals haven't been designated, Geshela will distribute the funds where he sees the greatest need.

Just fill in the blanks below and you'll receive an email that will tell you everything you need to know about becoming a sponsor or donor. Thank you!