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Lobsang Norbu

I was born the son of a farmer in Phenpo in central Tibet in 1934. At six years old, I became a monk at Sera Monastery in Tibet’s capital Lhasa. In 1959, I joined the Tibetan Uprising against China’s invasion of my country. I was arrested by the Chinese army and was imprisoned for 24 years. I was severely tortured during those years of imprisonment. I was interrogated and told that if I gave up my aspirations for a free Tibet and renounced my devotion to my leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, I would be freed. I never gave in, and hence the Chinese kept me in their prison for over 20 years.

I never imagined that I would one day walk out of prison, go to India, meet the Dalai Lama and eventually move to Australia. I am 84 now and have not given up my hope to return to a free Tibet.

Sok Shapdrung Rinpoche

I was born in 1943 in Sog Zong, Tibet. At the age of five, I was chosen as a reincarnate lama in my village and at the age of nine, I was sent to Sera Monastery in Lhasa for religious studies.

When the Chinese invaded Tibet in 1959, I returned to my hometown to be part of the resistance movement. In 1960, I was arrested and imprisoned for 13 years and spent five years in labour camp.

I escaped from Tibet in 1983, settled in Nepal and served in the Tibetan Government-in-Exile in various roles. I came to Australia on a  humanitarian visa in 2002. I am looking forward to joining Tibet Lobby Day 2018.

Thubten Gendun

I am a proud father of three children – two daughters and one son. I was born in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, in 1944. At the age of nine, I became a monk and was educated in a monastery. In 1959 the Communist Chinese army forced the Tibetan government into exile. That same year I escaped to India and continued with my religious education there.

I also obtained an Acharya degree from the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Varanasi. I am one of the luckiest Tibetan refugees in India to have had the opportunity to receive numerous precious teachings from many great Tibetan masters. I migrated to  Australia in 1984 where I married and worked as a residential support worker. I am now retired.

The Tibetan issue is an essential part of my life. I feel honoured to be joining the Tibet Lobby Day as I will represent the six million people of Tibet in the Australian Parliament. I hope our efforts bring a positive impact on the Tibet movement.

Tashi Gyatso

I was born in Tibet’s Kham province in 1998 and escaped to India by crossing the Himalayas on foot for many days.

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and International Law from Madras Christian College. I have had the honour of working in various non-governmental organisations where I gained many skills and knowledge about dealing with people from all walks of life. Some of these organisations include Students for a Free Tibet, LHA Charitable Trust, Tibet World, Himalaya Tours and Travels, ESUKHIA, and Tibetan Students Association Madras.

I moved to Australia in 2016. I work at the NSW Department of Justice, Liquor, Gaming, and Racing. I love playing football in my free time.

I am currently serving the Tibetan community in Sydney and participating in Tibet Lobby Day for the second year.

Dolma Sangmo

I was born in Eastern Tibet. My husband and I were arrested by the Chinese government on four different occasions when we were crossing the border from India to Tibet. We were part of a secret political group travelling between India and Tibet secretively transporting books and DVDs of the teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. These items are deemed politically sensitive.

During our fourth trip in 1991, we were arrested at the border by the Chinese army and sent to prison in Lhasa for three years. My husband and I were separated from each other and assigned to the male and female sections of the labour camps. In 1994, we were both released. Upon our reunion, we escaped to India.  We moved to Australia in 1998 as part of the Australian government’s humanitarian programs for Tibetans.

Tenzin Lobsang Khangsar

I have been part of ATC’s Tibet Lobby Day since it began seven years ago. Working for the freedom of my country is a key priority in my life. Since moving to Melbourne as an international student a decade ago, I have dedicated my energy and time to serving our community in various capacities, raise awareness about Tibet among the Australian public, media and political leaders and advocate for human rights of the Tibetans in Tibet.

I am the President of the Tibetan Community of Victoria. Under my leadership, our community has initiated many programs including finding employment opportunities for older Tibetans, sports for Tibetan youths, workshops, prayer services, Tibetan culture sessions, Buddhism classes and lobby meetings with our local MPs.

I have a Master of Business from Victoria University and a Diploma in Community Service Work. I am working as an Interpreter with the Australian immigration department and other related agencies. I also work at Co-health as a bi-culture worker. I am also a volunteer at Co-health on its Community Engagement Advisory Committee and a board member of the Victoria Multicultural Advisory Committee.

I am the founder of Australian New Zealand Tibetan Youth, which supports the education of Tibetan kids in India, Nepal and Tibet.

Because of my work in the Tibetan community in Melbourne, I was awarded the Community Health 2014 Frank Fisher Certificate of Commendation, Herald Sun Pride of Australia Medal 2015, and Victoria’s Multicultural Award for Excellence 2016 and the Community Service Award 2017 from the local Tibetan community.

Tenzin Dolmey

I am a nurse by profession and pursuing an Honours degree in Emergency Nursing from the University of Tasmania.

I am a third generation Tibetan-in-exile and migrated to Australia in late 2013. Growing up in exile had at times been confusing and frustrating. However, the stories of hardships and hopes passed on by my elders and friends have kept the “Tibetaness” in me alive.

Being part of the Tibet Lobby Day in 2014 and 2017 was an enriching experience. I hope to achieve the same this year and stay engaged in the Tibetan freedom movement.

Tenzin Kunsang

I have a Master’s Degree in International Relations and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Political Science from Monash University.

As a young Tibetan in Australia, I am fortunate to have received an excellent education as well as a deep appreciation of our unique culture. I feel responsible for preserving our rich cultural identity and following the guidance of His Holiness The Dalai Lama.

The Tibet Lobby Day is a great initiative to raise awareness and build Australian support for Tibet. It provides a platform for Tibetan-Australians to connect, collaborate on issues that affect us and take our voices to the country’s decision makers.

Yama Choezom

I was born in a remote nomadic part of Tibet called Othok in Lithang. My parents sent me to India to study at the age of 11 in 2001. They wanted me to receive a modern education so I can think critically and not follow the indoctrination of the Chinese communist government.

My parents were ardent followers of Tulku Tenzin Delek, a highly revered Tibetan lama and community leader who was arrested by the Chinese government on trumped-up charges and died in Chinese custody in 2015.

From a young age, I wanted to study law, believing it would put me in a strong position to contribute to the Tibetan people’s struggle for freedom and justice. After completing my Bachelor’s degree in law, I worked as a legal associate at the Tibetan Legal Association in Dharamsala. I am now doing my Master’s degree in law at the University of Melbourne.

Sherab Tsomo

I was born in Tibet, raised in India and currently live in Brisbane. Like many Tibetans of my generation, I was sent to India by my family as a young child to receive a decent education. I was schooled at the Tibetan Children’s Village and migrated to Australia with my dad, a former political prisoner, in 2012.

I have been working as a Registered Nurse since 2016. I’m also a second year Master of Nursing student at the Queensland University of Technology. Although I live a normal life like any other Australian, as a Tibetan I am always aware of the suffering endured by my brothers and sisters back home. For this reason, I have always been an active member of my local Tibetan community and the Tibet Support Groups in preserving our rich culture and bringing awareness of Tibetan issues in this country.

This is my 4th time taking part in Tibet Lobby Day to bring awareness about Tibet in the Australian parliament.

Ngodup Gyaltsen

I was born in Tibet and escaped to India as a young boy with my parents in 1959 following the Tibetan Uprising against China’s invasion of Tibet. The Chinese government arrested my grandfather during the uprising, and there were fears that my father and uncle would also be arrested if we did not leave our country.

I served the Central Tibetan Administration for 40 years mostly at the grassroots level. I also had the opportunity to work in Tibetan NGOs, including the Tibetan Youth Congress. Before my retirement, I was the Executive Secretary at the Tibet Information Office in Canberra.

I am currently the President of both the ACT Tibetan Community and the Australian Tibetan Communities Association.

Yangchen Tshoko

I am in my final year of a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the Australian National University.

I was born in Japan and moved to Australia at the age of six. In 2014 I attended the six-week Summer School program for Tibetan children living abroad organised by the Tibetan Children’s Village School in Dharamsala. It was a great experience getting to immerse myself in the broader Tibetan community in India, and I came back feeling stronger and prouder about my identity as an Australian-Tibetan.

I am currently the Secretary of the ACT Tibetan Community. In my free time, I enjoy playing sports and doing other outdoor activities. I took part in the Tibet Lobby Day in 2015 and am looking forward to my second time with more experience and knowledge.

Yeshi Dorjee

I am from the town of Golog in Tibet’s Amdo province. I fled to India around the age of 16 to study Tibetan Buddhism. At the same time, I have always had a keen interest in political activism. I joined the Tibetan Youth Congress and participated in many of their campaign activities from peace marches to demonstrations.

I returned to Tibet in 2000. Upon arrival in Tibet’s capital Lhasa, I was arrested by the Chinese authorities and imprisoned for three years. My crime was bringing DVDs and books about His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings to Tibet. After my release from jail, I escaped to India for the second time in 2004.

I moved to Australia in 2015. As a Tibetan living in a free country, I want to amplify the voices of my fellow Tibetans in Tibet on the global stage and ensure that the sacrifices they make for our country do not go in vain. I am participating in the Tibet Lobby Day for the second time.

Tenzin Sonam

I am 18 years old and the youngest member of our Tibet Lobby Day team this year.

I was born to Tibetan refugee parents in South India. My parents escaped from Tibet and started a new life in exile so they won’t have to live under the Chinese communist regime. I was schooled at the Tibetan Children’s Village Gopalpur in Dharamsala in northern India, where the Tibetan government-in-exile is also based. My parents and I moved to Australia 2014. I have graduated from Nowra High School.

Phurbu Khonnyi Tsang

I was born in Markham in eastern Tibet. I escaped from Tibet at a young age to study at the Tibetan Children’s Village. After high school, I studied traditional Thangka painting for five years. In 2009, I came to Australia for an exhibition of my paintings. I was granted a skilled visa by the Australian government which allowed me to live here and do further studies.

In 2012, I was elected president of the Tibetan community in NSW. In 2014, a group of Tibetans and I moved to Nowra in the South Coast of NSW. I am currently the president of South Coast Tibetan community.

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