Australia Tibet Council

Enabling everyone in Australia to be part of change in Tibet

Freedom Education Program

Over the years, members and supporters of the Australia Tibet Council have campaigned for the release of thousands of Tibetan political prisoners. This has always been a crucial part of ATC's work.

But release from prison is only the first step in helping these brave Tibetan men and women to recover from the trauma of their experiences, establish a new life and tell their stories to the world.

That's why we have established the Freedom Education Program, an ongoing partnership with Gu Chu Sum, a Tibetan organisation of more than 500 former political prisoners based in Dharamsala in India.

Through this ongoing program, ATC will assist Gu Chu Sum to expand and improve its educational courses and facilities for ex-political prisoners and their families.

Our first project, launched in March 2011, was to raise funds to replace outdated computers at the Gu Chu Sum school so that students can be equipped with IT skills relevant to the modern workforce.

A great success!

Through the generosity of our supporters we have reached our target for this first project. Gu Chu Sum will have the new computers installed in time for the next intake of students on 1 July. Thanks to everyone who made a contribution to this important project.

We are committed to building a long-term relationship with Gu Chu Sum to support their education programs with former Tibetan political prisoners and their families. We will include information in our regular emails, and on our website, so that you can follow the progress of this exciting new initiative and its impact on the lives of the Gu Chu Sum students.

Men and women in Tibet take great personal risks to peacefully oppose Chinese government policies which threaten the very survival of the Tibetan culture. Many are forced to flee into exile in India. We are pleased to be able to assist them in building a future for themselves, their families and the Tibetan community based on the educational opportunities provided by Gu Chu Sum.

We will also keep you up to date with the education program and what we are providing with your donations as we achieve each objective along the way.

"My name is Gedun Gyamtso. I was a monk from Labrang Tashi Kyil Monastery in Amdo, Eastern Tibet. I was one of the leaders from the monastery during the March 2008 demonstrations in Tibet and afterwards escaped into exile in India. Gu Chu Sum gives me opportunity to study English and learn computer skills. Without wasting any hour or day, if you can do your study, here is the opportunity. I want to express my heartfelt thanks to them."

Program Background
Each year, a small number of former political prisoners succeed in making the hazardous journey out of Tibet and across the Himalayas to Dharamsala.

These Tibetan men and women have demonstrated enormous bravery and tenacity. Many have undergone torture or long periods of solitary detention while in prison.

In exile, they hope to be able to continue working for Tibetan freedom by telling their stories to the world.

However, recovering from the trauma of their experiences and establishing a new life is a massive challenge.

In particular, most find that they do not have the language and skills needed to survive in their new environment.

Without access to education, these courageous Tibetans will never be able to find meaningful employment, let alone achieve their full potential as witnesses, activists and role models in the Tibetan community.

About Gu Chu Sum
The Gu-Chu-Sum Movement of Tibet was established on March 27, 1991 in Dharamsala, India by former political prisoners of the Tibetan freedom movement. Initially organised by monks, nuns, and lay people, it grew out of the earnest, heartfelt wish to help the suffering Tibetans remaining in prisons in Tibet and to provide needed support to former political prisoners and their families who have journeyed into exile.
ATC is proud to support Gu Chu Sum through the Freedom Education Program.

Gu Chu Sum's primary purpose is to look after the rehabilitation and welfare of former political prisoners.

In addition to assistance with accommodation and medical care, and a number of employment projects, Gu Chu Sum has set up a training school which provides former prisoners and their families with a one year educational program in written and oral Tibetan and English language and computer skills designed to improve their employability.

Currently, Gu Chu Sum is not able to meet the demand for places in its education courses. Through the ongoing Freedom Education Program, ATC will continue to help Gu Chu Sum to expand and improve the courses and facilities.



Freedom Education Program foundation donors To acknowledge their part in this important new initiative, ATC and Gu Chu Sum gave special recognition to contributors to this foundation appeal of the Freedom Education Program.

Certificates of Appreciation - $100 or more Donors who contributed $100 or more received a special Certificate of Appreciation, suitable for framing, co-signed by the Vice-President of Gu Chu Sum and ATC's Executive Officer.

Recognition Plaque in Dharamsala - $1,000 or more As well as receiving a Certificate of Appreciation, donors who contributed $1,000 or more were personally acknowledged by having their name included on a plaque which was mounted in the Gu Chu Sum computer training facility in Dharamsala.