Tsering Sangpo – Founder
Tsering Sangpo, the co- founder and Vice President of LIT, opened a small cooking school on March 14th 2009, on the one year anniversary of the 2008 shootings in Tibet and the commemoration of fifty years of brutal Chinese occupation of Tibet; due to his frustration with the lack of tangible results the Tibetan struggle had achieved and his fear that Tibetan culture was dying out.
His experiences working at the Lungta Japanese Restaurant showed him that many tourists were not fully aware of the tragic situation in Tibet. As an experienced chef, he wanted to combine his passion for food with his desire to share the Tibetan story. His aim was to spread Tibet’s message to visiting tourists and provide Tibetans with the education that they were denied in Tibet. Within weeks, volunteers from the local and international community joined Tsering to help him expand his vision to create a vibrant Tibetan culture school.
LIT was born on May 24th 2009, with a range of free classes being offered to Tibetan refugees including Buddhist Philosophy, Tibetan Grammar, Cooking, Art and English language. Since its conception, LIT has expanded its programs to offer a range of courses aimed at increasing the skills of Tibetan refugees so they can integrate into the local society. Three evening events weekly also allow Tibetans to discuss the situation in Tibet with tourists. Over 300 Tibetan students and countless tourists have passed through our doors since we opened in March 2009.
Norbu – Director
Norbu was born on 1 December 1984 in Phenpo village near Lhasa, Tibet. Working as farmer in Tibet, he was unable to gain a proper education. So, in 1999 he fled to India to attend school. In 2006, he completed class 10 from TCV Suja and class 12 at TCV Bylakuppe as comerce In 2008.then he went to college in Mangalore. In 2012, he completed a Bachelor degree of Hotel Management.
He went on to work for six months at the 5 star hotel, The Park Hotel, in Bangaluru. However, he returned to Dharamsala to work at LIT in order to provide community services to his fellow refugees, especially to offer training in Hotel Management.
Doctor Ngawang Tsultrim – Accountant
Doctor (Geshe) Ngawang Tsultrim, the Accountant and adviser, studied Buddhist philosophy at Drepung Monastery in South India for 20 years and worked as the accountant and Director of Operations of Tsangpa Khangtsen, a hostel for over 100 monks.
After completing his Buddhist studies in 2008, he came to Dharamsala to study English in order to tell the international community about Buddhism and Tibet. He was one of LIT’s first English students and joined with the founding board members to help establish LIT.
In early 2010 he returned to his monastery in South India and completed his Doctorate in Buddhist Philosophy. In late 2010 he returned to work and study at LIT and in 2011 was elected Accountant of LIT. He is currently teaching Buddhist Philosophy.
Phuntsok Sakaya – board Member
Phuntsok Sakaya, the President of LIT, has studied Buddhist philosophy for 17 years at Drepung Loesoling Monastery in South India. Whilst he was studying philosophy he became a senior member of monastery and was placed in charge of all the monks at the monastery, over 3000 monks. He was also given the responsibility of the constructions of a hostel, Gyepa, for monks. Once constructions were completed, he became second in charge of a newly established monastery called Deyang Monastery.
In 2008, after completing his Doctorate in Buddhist Philosophy, he came to Dharamsala for the Dalai Lama’s teachings. Here he met Tsering Sangpo protesting against the oppression occurring in Tibet. In 2009, he helped Tsering open LIT in order to provide free education to his fellow people and educate tourists about the situation in Tibet. He is a founding board member of the centre.
Lobsang Choedak – board Member
Choedak was born in 1983 in a small village near Lhasa in Tibet. Unable to afford school in Tibet, he never received a formal education. In 1999, Cheodak joined Tse Chokling monastery in Lhasa. He stayed there for three years. However, due to China’s restrictions on religious freedoms, he was frustrated by the lack of teachings. So he went to India in 2003 to study under the guidance of the Dalai Lama.
He joined Drepung monastery in South india and continued his monastic studies. Due to illness he was forced to leave the monastery and moved to Dharamsala for treatment.
In Dharamsala, he wanted gain the basic education he was denied in Tibet. So he started studying at LIT in 2009. As he had little finances, he was very grateful for the opportunities LIT offered him and volunteered to work in LIT’s kitchen, teaching cooking class and preparing food for nightly events.
Due to his passion for education and Buddhism, he was asked to join LIT’s Board of Directors in 2010.Choedak prepares all the advertising and marketing materials for LIT. He runs the volunteer and tour guide program whilst helping at night events.