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Tibetan Students Dream Big

When we kicked off our GlobalGiving campaign in December 2012 to support 30 young Tibetans pursuing their master and PhDs, we were blown away by donors' generosity. We received donations totaling over $20,000 in one month alone: $15,000 of that through GlobalGiving, and the rest through other donations. We still have a way to go before we reach our goal of $78,000, but now we've seen firsthand how when we come together, even small contributions have the potential to make a profound impact. Help us give access to education and transform a generation. 

Just few days after our project went live, we received an e-mail from Tsering Wangyal, a friend of our librarian. In it, he wrote about a friend who was able to benefit from a Trace scholarship. “I think these projects are wonderful for directly benefiting and making an impact at the grassroots level,” he said. “We are glad to make a small contribution to your project.” Even more remarkable, when he spoke to his daughters about the campaign one night over dinner, even they were inspired—as one Tibetan to another—to contribute out of their monthly pocket money, as was Amala (grandma in Tibetan).

Then, after the New Year, we received a visitor to our New York office: a young Tibetan woman fresh from a year of study at the SIT Graduate Institute, beamed from ear to ear as she talked about her time in the States.

After receiving years of support from Trace to develop and implement English teacher training in Qinghai, she applied to us for a scholarship to pursue a Master of Arts in teaching English as a second language through the SIT Graduate Institute. In her application, she wrote about wanting to address the inequities of young Tibetans’ lives: poor education, inadequate health care, and poverty in general:

“Within a few months,” she wrote at the time, “my first class will graduate and they will become the teachers of the students who are living in the same conditions that they used to live in, i.e., without enough food, clothes, books, pencils, etc. These students are very clever, just like the many famous people who have contributed to the betterment of humanity, and they, too, deserve better education and better lives.”

She has come a long way from her beginnings growing up in a small village where collecting yak dung for fuel took precedence over sticking her nose in books. Back then, English wasn’t a subject available to students—math, chemistry, and geography were all taught in Chinese, a language she struggled with. Everything changed for her when she met her first English teacher, who introduced her to the ABCs and inspired her to make a difference for other young Tibetans.

This young woman was a 2011 Trace international fellow at the SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont, where she received a Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language. Each year, Trace Foundation supports more than 500 individuals by covering the costs of tuition and living expenses, whether in the People’s Republic of China or abroad. Though we support a select number of fellows like her to study abroad, the core of our funding goes to students domestically and that's where your help will make the biggest difference.

Thank you to all our contributors from everyone at Trace Foundation.