Lhasa is situated in the Himalayas at 3,490 meters and is therefore one of the highest cities in the world. The city is home to three UNESCO World Heritage sites, and although tourism is a crucial aspect of the city's economy, the number of visitors varies depending on the political situation.
The region has undergone many changes and yet there is a pressing need to support children, young people and families so that they can stay together.
Since 2000, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Lhasa.
According to most human development indicators, as an autonomous region of China, Tibet continues to rank amongst the most deprived in the Chinese context. The illiteracy rate in Tibet is over 28%, which is much higher than the national average illiteracy rate of 3% in China.
Families from rural areas move to Lhasa to seek better employment or education opportunities. They often have low Mandarin language skills, despite this being a requirement for many jobs in urban areas. As a result, they often find it hard to find stable employment.
Although there has been an increase in infrastructure in Lhasa, the city is struggling to accommodate the increasing number of people who are moving here. In spite of the housing development, that is transforming the historic Buddhist city with new roads and apartment buildings, the housing prices are so high that few people can afford them. The price of basic commodities and food has also increased. There is fierce competition for jobs and even well-educated young people are often unable to find a job. In all of China, youth unemployment is at an all-time high of 20% among those aged 16 to 24.