By Tendar Tsering
140 delegates of the Tibetan Women's Association's 10th General Body Meeting pose for a picture after the inaugural ceremony in Dharamshala on April 11, 2012. (Photo/TWA)
DHARAMSHALA, April 11: The second largest non-governmental organisation in the Tibetan exile community, Tibetan Women’s Association convened its six-day 10th General Body Meeting earlier today in Dharamshala, the Tibetan exile headquarters.
140 women grass root leaders form 33 regional chapters from the Indian subcontinent are attending the highest decision making body of the organisation, held every three years.
In addition to brainstorming session on a 17-point agenda covering a wide range of political, social, and educational issues and empowerment initiatives, the meeting will also elect, on the final day, a new ten-member central executive committee.
“Each regional chapters have brought their own choice of nomination for the central executive members and we will debate and discus to finalise the actual 10 executive members including the president and vice president of TWA,” Dhardon Sharling, spokesperson for TWA said at the sidelines of the meeting.
“All resolutions derived from the broad agendas will serve as the action plan for TWA and its chapters for the next three years (2012-2015),” she added.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, former Kalon Tripa Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche urged Tibetan women to strive hard to shoulder equal responsibility in the Tibetan struggle while acknowledging the great historical contributions that Tibetan women have made in the past century.
Rinchen Khando, the first president of TWA and former education minister at the Central Tibetan Administration, commended the organisation for its active service since 1984, while imploring the delegates not to rest in the laurels of the past.
“We must not waste this time,” Khando said referring to the ongoing wave of self-immolations inside Tibet. “This is not the time to compete among ourselves but to work together, stronger than ever before.”
Members of the Tibetan Parliament and heads of Tibetan NGOs also attended the inauguration ceremony.
As pledged on the 53rd anniversary of the Tibetan Women’s Uprising day, March 12, 2012, TWA announced that it will be sending an amount of INR 5, 00.000.00 (Five lakhs) to Tibet for the “benefit of Tibetan women and children.”
“These funds will be conveyed through a reliable NGO based in Tibet to support female students from nomadic families to attend day school at the middle school level and to help young Tibetan women complete a four-year BA degree in Tibet and China for the academic year 2012-2013,” TWA said in a release.
TWA also released a report titled ‘A Study of Tibetan Self Immolations: Its history, motive and reaction,’ which provides a brief summary and an overview of the international response to the 34 self-immolations that have taken place between February 27, 2009 and March 30, 2012.