Gopalpur is a village located in the Himachal Pradesh state, in the upper north of India. Around 1,000 people live here, at the foot of the Himalayan mountains. As Tibetans try to make a life for themselves in exile, they also face many challenges, including food insecurity. Children are most vulnerable to these difficult living conditions.
Since 1998, Tibetan Children’s Villages (an independent charity which is partly supported through SOS Children’s Villages' sponsorships) has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Gopalpur.
Himachal Pradesh, where Gopalpur is located, is one of the best performing states in terms of human development indicators. However, food insecurity is still recurrent, and many people still suffer from acute hunger.
Parents in Himachal Pradesh struggle to provide enough nutritious food for their children. And thus, 25% of children are underweight. To be more specific, 30% of children in Himachal Pradesh experience stunting (low height for age), a result from undernutrition.
To date, two generations of Tibetans have been born and brought up in exile in India, after the first emigration in 1959. An estimated 90,000 Tibetan refugees live in exile in India.
Moreover, new refugees are still moving from Tibet, autonomous region of China. They have often suffered repression which has led them to flee to India.
Many Tibetan children are sent to Gopalpur by their parents who see this as the only way that their child will obtain a Tibetan education.