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Tibetan New Year: Warm 'family reunions' at SOS children's village
update:March 07,2022
By:CGTN
Tibetan people across China are celebrating the new year on the Tibetan calendar. It's traditionally a time of family reunions. CGTN's Yang Jinghao visited an orphanage in Lhasa and met a different kind of family. 
 
A party to greet Losar, the Tibetan New Year. The SOS Children's Village in Lhasa – the capital of Tibet Autonomous Region – is one of 10 in China. The children are celebrating the most important festival for Tibetans with traditional singing and dancing.
 
YANG JINGHAO Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region "Founded in 2000, this charity now accommodates 114 orphaned children from across Tibet. A total of 17 caretakers look after them here."
 
Dechen Dolka has been one of the caretakers at the Village since the charity was launched. She has looked after 16 children during this time and they're now aged between six and 32. Together, they've formed a kind of family, with Dolka as the maternal figure, or the mother.
 
In Tibetan culture, Losar is the time for family reunions, and she loves to see them all come together this time of the year. So much so, she makes elaborate preparations by following customs.
 
DECHEN DOLKA Caretaker, Lhasa SOS Children's Village "It's not easy for so many of us to get together as some of them are busy working all year round, so I just tried my best to prepare what they like to eat as much as I can."
 
The families in the Village – headed by the different caretakers – seem to enjoy every minute they spend together. Despite not being related by blood, Dolka says she and her children have formed an unbreakable bond.
 
DECHEN DOLKA Caretaker, Lhasa SOS Children's Village "The children were from unfortunate families. I just hope I can give them a normal life by devoting as much as I can to them. This also makes me happy. Sometimes, I still feel that I'm not doing enough."
 
Living in families so full of warmth, it's not surprising the adult children keep coming back every Tibetan New Year, just like 26-year-old Podrup, who left the Village three years ago.
 
PODRUP Art Troupe Performer "I always miss my home. After all, I lived here for 20 years. So I come back to see my mom during all holidays. She has done a lot for the family."
 
And the children all have their new year wishes.
 
"I wish my mother good health in the new year. And I hope I can get a new toy car."
 
"I hope I will be admitted to a good high school this year."
 
The mothers say it's mutual love and respect that make the village a big warm family, and they believe these qualities will prevail in the year ahead. 
 
YJH, CGTN, Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region. 


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