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Jetsun Pema at the Tibetan community center in St. Paul in November of the Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) school system for 42years, ensured that everyone from refugee children to elders in exile were nurtured despite the lack of access to their homeland.She is affectionately referred to as the Mother of Tibet.
Since the Communist regime in China invaded Tibet in 1950, more than 53,000 students have passed through the TCV system. There are roughly 3,000 Tibetan People-in-Exile living in Minnesota. Several hundred of them gathered to honor Pema during her first visit to the area.
The City of Minneapolis and of the City of St. Paul declared November 17, 2018, to be Jetsun Pema Day.
In an interview with the Minnesota Women’s Press during a visit to the Tibetan community center in St. Paul, she said education is vital not only to be integrated into modern times, but to be deeply rooted in cultural identity. One primary value taught by the Tibetan culture, she says: “Compassion has no borders.”
TCV students are taught with the Montessori system, which “brings out what the child has within.” At the fifth grade level, all students spend a month researching a topic, which could range from the nomadic Tibetan history to the life of a trader. They connect in conversation with village members, teachers, and elders as part of their research, to create an exhibition.
The Tibetans believe there can be peace in the world, Pema says. “But first you must have peace in your heart.” The students are taught “how to be a good human being — the culture of interdependence.”