5 Great Organizations Working To Improve Lives In Tibet

Since 1950, Tibet has been governed by the People's Republic of China. Many people around the world view this as an illegitimate occupation that deprives Tibetans of freedom and self-determination. Given this, nonprofits have formed to support Tibet by lobbying governments, sharing their personal stories, and organizing direct actions. This list, presented in no particular order, highlights some organizations fighting for the rights of Tibetans.

For #1, we have Free Tibet, an organization based in London. It campaigns for an end to China's occupation of Tibet and international recognition of Tibetans' right to freedom. The nonprofit is independent of all governments and funded entirely by supporters from all over the world.

Free Tibet believes in the power of accurate journalism and has partnered with Tibet Watch to securely obtain and verify the latest news, which it shares through its website, social networks, and worldwide media. The organization also lobbies political leaders to do more for the occupied country and runs targeted campaigns that challenge corporations seeking to profit from the occupation.

The next entry in our list, coming in at #2, is the Tibet Fund. Headquartered in New York City, its primary mission is to preserve the distinct cultural and national identity of the Tibetan people. It aims to promote self-reliance and help sustain the cohesiveness of the exiled Tibetan community.

The organization works closely with the Central Tibetan Administration in advancing education, rehabilitation, religious and cultural preservation, and community development for thousands of refugees living in India, Nepal, and Bhutan. In Tibet, its support is mainly directed to orphanages, eye care, and other health programs and educational projects.

The #3 entry is Students for a Free Tibet, a chapter-based network of young people and activists worldwide. Through education, grassroots organizing, and nonviolent direct action, it campaigns for Tibetans’ political freedom. The organization was founded in New York City in 1994.

SFT holds several regional conferences each year. These two-to-three-day events give participants an overview of the basic principles of grassroots organizing, nonviolent direct action, and strategic planning. Free Tibet! Action Camp is a more intensive, week-long training in which participants learn about campaign strategy, media advocacy, fundraising, and more.

Taking the #4 spot is the Australia Tibet Council, which campaigns for the freedom and human rights of Tibetans. Its vision is a free Tibet in which its citizens can determine their future and pursue their own cultural, political, and economic developments.

Founded in 1988, the nonprofit represents the largest community of Australians standing in solidarity with the people of Tibet. It works to drive global support for the Tibet movement by lobbying the Australian parliament and government. In addition, it aims to amplify the voices of Tibetans and ensure the international community hears their stories.

Rounding out our list at #5 is the International Campaign for Tibet, a nonprofit with offices in Washington, DC, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Brussels. Since 1988, ICT has lobbied to get the international community to take action for the occupied country. It works with elected leaders and citizens worldwide to provide political and humanitarian support for Tibetans and pass laws like the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act.

ICT has supported the release and rehabilitation of Tibetans who were imprisoned for their political and religious beliefs. In addition, it has created programs to assist the Tibetan community, such as the Rowell Fund for Tibet, which offers grants to those working in the fields of visual arts, media, the environment, and women’s rights.