“My dream is that all refugee children should be able to grow up as brothers and sisters and get a lot of love from their house mother” – Jestun Pema
We dedicate this Mother’s Day to Ama Jetsun Pema la, who is well known throughout the Tibetan community as Amala for her tireless and lifelong work in educating and raising Tibetan children. In addition to her many accomplishments and awards from becoming the first female cabinet minister, to earning the “Mother of Tibet” award from The Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies in 1995, we take this day to further appreciate all she has done.
Since its inception, The Tibetan Children’s Villages (TCV) have nurtured and educated thousands upon thousands of Tibetan children. Graduates of TCV have grown up to become doctors, teachers, artists, business owners, entrepreneurs, journalists and many other professions across a multitude of industries. Not only are these individuals prospering in their careers and giving back to their communities, but they are going on to teach, encourage and raise new generations of Tibetans who are able to dream even bigger and reach even higher than those before them. The Tibetan culture and heritage that lies at the heart of TCV, goes on to become central to Tibetan children and communities worldwide. TCV and its system is, in part, what has allowed Tibetan culture, religion and language to remain so resolute and prolific even after 60 years in exile.
None of this would be possible without Ama Jetsun Pema la, who wholeheartedly dedicated herself to nurturing, educating and providing a sense of belonging for Tibetan children. In creating a schooling system that not only provides a modern education but also cultivates a strong, family community that preserves Tibetan language and culture, Ama Jetsun Pema la not only helped refugee children earn a family and education but strengthened and nurtured the entire international Tibetan community. This love and gratitude are expressed by those all over the world despite Tibetans everywhere, those who either have or have not attended TCV, express their gratitude and love towards Ama Jetsun Pema la.
“To Amala – You embrace every child like they are of your own blood and make us fat with your love and affection. I shall propagate and exercise your love for the rest of my life.” (Tsering Yangzom, Ladakh)
“Ama Jetsun Pema la has worked tirelessly for many decades for the Tibetan Children Village schools all throughout India. Ama la has taught us the importance of unconditional love and compassion for all and Boston is deeply grateful for you” (Tenzin Kunsang, USA)
“I don’t feel alone and orphaned anymore. The children in the home are like my brothers and sisters and I love my home mother. She is kind and cares for me like her own daughter. It feels like having a real family.” (Tashi, Suja)
“For me, Ama Jetsun Pema la is someone who is so selfless. She has dedicated her entire life to nurturing and educating young Tibetan children who had, and has, no one to look after them. I was one of those children. What I have become today is all thanks to her efforts, and I feel I am more indebted to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and Amala than my own parents.” (Dawa Dolma, Bylakuppe 2010)
“For a person like me who has come from Tibet, and who has no parents or relatives in and around India…who has nobody actually, it is because of His Holiness and Ama Jetsun Pema la that I got the opportunity to study at TCV. From food to clothes to shelter, everything was provided and facilitated until I graduated from college. They helped me with scholarships and any assistance until I was able to stand tall on my own feet. TCV is mainly built by Ama Jetsun Pema, so getting such a precious opportunity in this world, I feel very grateful. What I have become today is all because of His Holiness and Ama Jetsun Pema.” (Dhondup Namgyal, Golpalpur 2005)
“I think it is important to find time a thank the people who are making a difference in our lives. Therefore, and for today’s occasion, I’d like to thank Ama Jetsun Pema la from the bottom of my heart for all the tireless work and effort she has done in our Tibetan community all over the world, especially for the children and women.” (Kunga Chimey Sara, Switzerland)
“It wasn’t until after I joined TCV that I learned about Ama Jetsun Pema la’s many achievements and all the hard work she has done for the children of Tibet. It was there I came to understand her title as the mother of all TCV kids, and after meeting her I too felt the warmth and care of a mother from there on in. She is the kindest and most hardworking woman, who has created a home for many kids from Tibet who had only known the sky and soil beforehand. She has not only changed the lives of so many children, but she has paved the way for all the children to have a brighter and better future. She not only provided us with modern education but instilled in us compassion, love, kindness and core human values. In a way, she has not only nurtured each individual child but has also nurtured Tibet’s cause at large. Through harsh times at the beginning of the exile, she is truly a gem and blessing. We should never forget her efforts and determination, because of which we are all here!” (Tenzin Seldon, Upper TCV 2010)
This mother’s day, we honor and express our gratitude for the mother of Tibetan children and leader for all Tibetans. Thank you, Ama Jetsun Pema la.
By Kyla Sherap, Social Media Intern, DIIR