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Tibet is a nation encased in a cocoon of mystery and wonder. It is a place with a thousand nicknames, each of which, only serves to further mystify the land. It is the roof of the world, the land of the snows, the Buddhist kingdom - a forbidden land straight out of our imaginations, and for many, the ideal venue for a spiritual quest. Tibet is situated on a plateau region northeast of the Himalayas. As a country with scant rainfall, short growing season, and a nation littered with political turmoil, the Tibetan people are lacking in many resources.
There is no industry in Tibet, only a few small enterprises. Different sources have pointed the per capita income of Tibetan citizens to be somewhere around $170-$300 a year, however recent developments may have lead to drastic improvements. The estimated literacy rate in the area is around 38% for men and only 13% for women. Many survive through subsistence agriculture and the rearing of livestock. A bulk of income is spent on fuel, few resources are left for education. NGOs and other volunteer organizations must have special clearance to work in the region. There is not a lot of official data, due to the isolation of the region, and because it is not an official independent territory. Most opportunities exist in education, and orphanage care.
Teaching Children: Schools in the region are understaffed and in great need of support. Your role will be to teach children who are underprivileged, most likely very poor or disabled children. The school staff generally supports volunteers by helping them understand the local curriculum, aid in developing teaching methods, and help with communication barriers. This is a chance for volunteers to help these children with math and english, as well as broaden their ideas about western culture. It will probably open your mind as well!
Teaching English: Tibet has a premature and underdeveloped education system. English courses are not offered in most primary and middle schools, and thus are not a part of basic education. Learning the language is important, and english is an enormous challenge for most students who lack this foundation. English teachers are needed badly in this region.
Orphanage Work: Poverty and nomadic lifestyles have forced many families to leave children behind. This is another opportunity to work with children by teaching basic English. Your impact here also reaches into the rest of the children's lives. Volunteers work with the children playing games, engaging in creative activities such as music or crafts. Help is also needed in the operations of these centers. Help with sanitation, cooking, and administrative work may be requested of volunteers.
China- To enter China you will need a Visa that expires more than 6 months from the date you enter the country. If you do not meet these requirements you will be deported and fined. You can apply for a one year multi-entry visa which is essential if you plan to leave the country to visit other localities such as Hong Kong and Macau. You need a visa both to enter and exit the country. If your visa expires while you are in China, you will not be permitted to leave and will need to apply for an extension.
Tibet- To enter Tibet, you will need to apply for a special permit that permits tourist travel, and you may still not be able to enter areas that are restricted. The easiest way to apply for a permit is through a local Chinese travel agent. The permits usually cost RMB 200, for a 3 month, single entry pass.
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