Press Release

CONTACT: John Emery (617) 868-3510

August 6, 1997



The Dalai Lama's sister, Jetsun Pema, is an active woman these days: she plays the role of her own mother in the new film "Seven Years in Tibet" which stars Brad Pitt. But perhaps her more important role has been as President of the Tibetan Children's Villages schools in India, which she has led for the past 30 years. This month, she will receive on behalf of refugee Tibetan schoolchildren a shipment of 10,676 new books from Sabre Foundation, a non-profit in Cambridge, Mass.

Among the materials arriving on August 28 from Sabre's Clinton, Mass. warehouse are donations by such publishers as World Book Inc., Simon & Schuster and McGraw-Hill. The dictionaries and educational reference materials that are awaited include: 64 sets of the World Book Encyclopedia; 149 sets of the Young Scientist Encyclopedia; 108 sets of World Book's Childcraft Encyclopedia & Dictionary; 200 copies of Scribner English Dictionary (McGraw-Hill); classic fairy tales in book and cassette format as well as biographies written for children (Simon & Shuster); and materials from Human Rights Watch. Sabre has established a partnership agreement with the Tibetan Children's Villages Schools and looks forward to this shipment marking the beginning of an ongoing educational support program.

Sabre's work with Tibetan schools began when the Foundation was approached by a school principal from Kathmandu who needed up-to-date elementary English language textbooks for his classrooms. Because the school lacked the means to purchase these materials outright, Principal Jampa Phuntsok visited Sabre to find out whether they could be donated. Sabre responded by sending a shipment containing 16,794 new donated books in January of 1995 and as Principal Phuntsok wrote not long ago, "These books occupy a place of honour in our school library and we now have a special period for the students to read books in that library. All our staff and the students find the books very interesting and helpful for reference as well as for general improvement of the English language."

There are 72 Tibetan schools in India which began to take root after 1959 when Tibetans fled their homeland under Chinese government persecution. Approximately 125,000 Tibetans live in India and Nepal today. The Tibetan Children's Villages, over which the Dalai Lama's sister presides, now have over 11,000 refugee children in their care.

Sabre has sent almost three million books to people in need from over 50 countries around the world. Previously working primarily in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union with a focus on college-level and professional materials, Sabre has begun to establish new programs in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Grenada, Ghana, the West Bank/Gaza, and for the Historically Black Universities in South Africa. It has also broadened its procurement efforts to include elementary textbooks, classroom materials and children's books.

Sabre's book donation program for Tibetan schools in India is made possible with support from the Richard Gere Foundation, Cultural Survival's Tibet Project, the United States Information Agency, and the U.S. Agency for International Development's Ocean Freight Reimbursement Program.

The Sabre Foundation, Inc., founded in 1969, works to build free institutions and to examine the ideals that sustain them. Its largest project makes millions of dollars of donated books available to needy individuals in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and other developing regions through non-governmental partner organizations, libraries, universities, schools, research organizations and other similar institutions. In its newest initiative, Library and Information Technology Services, Sabre helps organizations in these regions take advantage of rapidly evolving Internet and related information technologies. Sabre also sponsors international symposia and philosophical publications which explore the nature and accountability of free institutions. Sabre is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, and is registered as a Private Voluntary Organization with the U.S. Agency for International Development. For more information, see Sabre's World Wide Web site:

John Emery, Project Assistant
Sabre Foundation, Inc.
872 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 2-1
Cambridge, MA 02138

Tel: 617/868-3510
Fax: 617/868-7916
World Wide Web:

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Tibetan Schoolchildren.
Photo courtesy of Tibetan Children's Villages Information Brochure, 1996.

Dunn and Co. forklift driver Dean Atwood loads container with book donations destined for Tibetan schools in India.

Sabre Program Assistant John Emery makes final check of World Book donations.

Fully loaded container departs on its journey to India.

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