Running from Tenda Gyamar

Running from Tenda Gyamar

A volunteer's story of life with the refugee children of Tibet

The story of an English woman's struggles as a volunteer teacher living and working with the refugee children of Tibet in Northern India.


Leaving her job in London, selling her home, leaving family & friends, Lesley travelled to India to be a volunteer teacher in a vocational training centre in Northern India. She learnt of the struggles Tibetan children endure, escaping torture, violence and oppression by the Chinese authorities in their homeland, Tibet. They witnessed the torture and murder of parents, brothers and uncles. They are educated in Tibetan schools in India, many are orphans and destitute, For 2 years Lesley lived with the Tibetan community in the Vocational
Training Centre VTC and then a mountain village, Rajpur, undertaking voluntary work and raising sponsorship to support the children’s education. In this book Lesley describes her own ups and downs of living with both Indian and Tibetan cultures and recounts the poignant stories of the children, describing in their own words the suffering they escaped and what their hopes are for the future.


Review of ‘Running from Tenda Gyamar’ by Lesley Freeman Lesley Freeman writes from the heart. She pulls no punches, shoots from the hip and tells it like it is. But this is not your stereotypical clichéd storybook. Au contraire, it is a deeply moving account of the lives of the Tibetan refugee children that she met in Northern India where they now live in their own small community, struggling for the right to an education and freedom from persecution. I feel honoured to have been one of the first people to read this book. Editing proved to be quite difficult in parts simply because it was difficult for me to stay focused on the way it was written (from an editing point of view) and not be distracted by the words themselves. There were times when I had to walk away from it, take some deep breaths, wipe the tears from my eyes and sit blankly with a cup of coffee before going back to it. Taking an emotional step back is difficult with this book. Lesley is a natural born writer. She has a wonderful gift of storytelling. She draws you in, and you can feel what she felt, see what she saw, hear what she heard…you cannot read this book with a heart of steel, so keep a tissue box handy. You will cheer the good guys, boo the bad guys, laugh, cry, laugh again and cry some more. Ultimately, it will warm the cockles of your heart. (Sorry for yet another cliché – the truth is that clichés like this pretty much sum up Lesley’s book.) I am so glad this book is finally going to hit the shops soon. It carries such an important message that the world needs to read and learn about. These Tibetan children and their families have gone through some harrowing times, and they still are to this day. I have to confess that before I was involved with ‘Running from Tenda Gyamar’ I was not aware that there are Tibetans living in exile in India. I had vaguely heard of the Dalai Lama (I do occasionally poke my nose out of my cave) but I had never really given him, or his people, a second thought before ‘Running from Tenda Gyamar’. Lesley’s book has enlightened me about the Tibetan refugee children and it has given me inspiration to do whatever I can, in my own humble way, to try to help them and others like them who are suffering the same kind of difficulties the world over. If just one person reads this book and, on reaching the last page, they pick up the phone and book a plane ticket out there to see how they can help, then…well done, Lesley – job done! If you only buy and read one book in the whole of 2013 make sure it’s this one. It will fascinate you, it will educate you, it will inspire you, and it will break your heart. But most importantly of all, it will be the first step on the path to you becoming a better person, even if that just means telling others what you have learnt from it, or selling up and moving out there to help. Just do it. Buy this book and let your heart do the rest. December 2012 - Mary Grey ~ Mary Grey

If we are to succeed, we need widespread international support. I feel sure that people who read this book will be inspired to lend their backing to our cause. ~ His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Foreword

Lesley Freeman
Lesley Freeman Lesley has a Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling, which gave her the expertise to build relationships with the Tibetan children and community...
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