24 Jan 2013 06:00
Every year, hundreds of Tibetans make their way to the Tibetan Refugee Reception Centre in Kathmandu, Nepal, seeking to escape religious and cultural repression by the Chinese government.
Crossing the border to reach Nepal can be a very costly endeavor – with guides being paid between 12 000 CNY (€1400) and 50 000 CNY (€8500) per person – if it is to be secure. But with the help of their family members, many Tibetans are at least able to attempt it.
But the challenge is not only found in meeting these expenses – it is also found in reconciling with leaving family members behind and the uncertainty of the future; oftentimes, it is also found in crossing the physical barriers which divide these two nations; yet, for others, the journey simply consists of a single bus or plane ride.
Whatever the reality of the journey is for these Tibetans who have fled their homes – be it dramatic or uneventful - they are all tales of refuge.
(Where indicated (*), names have been changed to protect the subject’s identity and that of any friends and family still living in Tibet).