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Living in Exile: New Stories from the Tibetan Experience's video poster

Living in Exile is a series of short films dedicated to sharing the realities of diverse Tibetans living as refugees in northern India. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on April 23, 2011.

Living in Exile is a series of short films dedicated to sharing the realities of diverse Tibetans living as refugees in northern India.

About this project

What is "Living in Exile"?

Living in Exile is a series of short films that will introduce us to real people living within the community of Tibetan exiles in Dharamsala, India.  Since the Chinese occupation of Tibet, hundreds of thousands of Tibetans have fled their homeland to escape religious and political persecution and the violence of cultural genocide.  Each of our films will explore the life, work, values and experiences of an individual, collectively revealing a cross-section of contemporary Tibetan culture and life in exile: the former political prisoner who tended to the wounds of other torture victims; three young nuns, former political prisoners, who established a restaurant to raise money for women prisoners in Tibet; the medic who treats frostbite, sometimes requiring amputation for those who survive the three-week trek through the Himalayas to freedom; the orphanage caregiver; the poet who attempted to lead a non-violent march back into Tibet to raise awareness; the librarian charged with caring for the precious few surviving Tibetan texts and cultural artifacts that have made it out of Tibet.

If you've discovered the Emmy award winning, New York Times series "One in Eight Million" or you're a fan of NPR's "Story Corps Project," we're going to apply this same style of storytelling to Tibetan human rights issues.  Living in Exile will introduce us to provocative new stories from the Tibetan experience. The series is about people, diverse Tibetan people, who have encountered great obstacles, but are all much more than the sum of their suffering.

Why is “Living in Exile” different?

Our film series is unique because of its remarkable access to the inner voices of the community.  The series was commissioned by the International Center for Mental Health and Human Rights, who is working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health of the Tibetan Government in Exile and the Tibetan Women's Association.  Together, they are partnering in the development of a ground breaking trauma recover program, The Dukar Project.  Our film series will be a companion to the program, providing education and advocacy both internationally and within the Tibetan community.  The power of the series comes from the remarkable access to the quiet voices of the Tibetan community, those unheard by the outside world. 

Tell me more about The Dukar Project.

The Dukar Project is a unique counselor training program for Tibetan health workers, monks and nuns in Dharamsala, empowering them to better work with post-traumatic stress disorder within the Tibetan exile community. Since the Chinese occupation of Tibet, Tibetans have been subjected to intense human rights violations, religious persecution and cultural genocide. Many have experienced imprisonment and torture.  All struggle with the adjustments to living in exile. Due to these root causes, increases in alcoholism, depression, student dropout rates, domestic violence and suicide have been well documented.  These prolonged mental health issues affect survivors and their families across generations.

The Dukar Project is a collaboration between the International Center for Mental Health and Human Rights, the Tibetan Ministry of Health and the Tibetan Women's Association.  The program combines advances in neurobiology with mindful awareness, traditional Tibetan medicine and group psychotherapy. The goal is to provide culturally sensitive training for the treatment of PTSD, and to gather research for the benefit of other communities suffering  from the psychological impact of human rights violation, armed conflict and forced migration.  PTSD has been called the "invisible wound," but its effects are very real and evident.

Here’s how you can help. 

We can't do it without you.  Please take a minute to become one of our backers by pressing the "Back This Project" button above and contribute at the highest level you are able.  Since every bit will help us reach our goal, share our project with your network of friends and invite them to do the same.

Additional photography provided by David Huang, and Exile Lens photographers Tenzin Choejor and Tenzin Lekshay.


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  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    55 backers

    A digital download of "Living In Exile" upon completion.

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    Pledge $50 or more

    41 backers

    A hand woven bracelet provided by the Students for a Free Tibet showing solidarity with Tibetan people in their struggle for freedom and independence + a digital download of "Living in Exile."

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    Pledge $100 or more

    28 backers

    A white ceremonial scarf, or Khatag, from the historic Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, traditionally offered as an expression of gratitude and blessing + a digital download of "Living in Exile."

  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    11 backers

    A set of Tibetan prayer flags, hand printed by the nuns of the Dolma Ling Monastery + your name credited with Special Thanks on our website + a digital download.

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    Pledge $500 or more

    6 backers

    A Thangka (painting) of Tara, the female Bodhisattva of healing and long-life, hand-painted by one of Dharamsala's local Tibetan artists + your name credited as a Contributor on our website + a digital download.

  • You selected
    Pledge $1,200 or more

    3 backers Limited (7 left of 10)

    This is where it gets really exciting. We'd like you to join us for a three-day intimate tour of the Tibetan community in Dharamsala for you and your family or friends, designed specifically for this project. You'll have the opportunity to personally meet with community organizers, monks and nuns, journalists and artists who will each give you an insightful and life changing perspective on Tibetan culture. This will be a unique immersion experience into the Tibetan exile community and a truly life changing event. All participants will be required to cover airfare to and from Dharamsala and all other travel expenses. + You will also be credited as a member of our Founder's Circle on our website.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more

    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    Congratulations, you are now a part of the Living in Exile team. We invite you to be credited as an ASSOCIATE PRODUCER, in addition to participating in the Dharamsala tour described above. Welcome aboard!

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    Pledge $10,000

    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    An extra special congratulations, because you are now an indispensable member of the team as our EXECUTIVE PRODUCER. Also take advantage of the Dharamsala tour described above in addition to seeing the project evolve through the various stages of production.

Funding period

- (45 days)