The Region

Arunachal Pradesh is one of India's land-locked states. It shares boarders with Myanmar in the East, Bhutan in the West, Tibet in the North and Assam in the South. Located in the Eastern Himalayan range, it is an area rich in biodiversity. It is a place of deep forests, snow-clad mountains, mighty rivers and verdant flora, animated with over 500 species of birds and home to many rare animal species.

 

Tawang district, perched at 10,000 feet above sea level, is the home of Manjushree Orphanage. Winters are harsh, and summers see long periods of heavy rainfall. In Tibetan Buddhism, Tawang is of special significance as it is the birthplace of His Holiness the Sixth Dalai Lama and is home to one of the largest Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the world. The monastery is the center of social and religious life for the people of the region. Within this authentic setting, the traditional Tibetan-Buddhist way of life is preserved.

 

Despite the area's natural beauty and cultural richness, Tawang is an underdeveloped place: Roads crumble away when the summer rains arrive and are in constant disrepair; electricity is unreliable and power outages are a daily occurrence. Modern democratic institutions and a cash economy are still taking root, after being first introduced in the early 1960's. Agriculture is still the typical occupation of the Monpa people, who routinely barter what they grow for the necessities of daily life. Village children--who should be gaining the knowledge they will need at school-- work on small farms for the family to survive. These children are not immunized against disease. Death due to tuberculosis and typhoid are common. Such is the poverty of this pristine land.

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