TIBETER GEMEINSCHAFT ÖSTERREICH, also known as TGÖ, is the official name in german for TIBETAN COMMUNITY AUSTRIA which is a non-profit organisation formed in 1991.
TGÖ consists of Tibetans from all the 3 regions that form Tibet, CHOL KHA SUM: Ütsang (Central and Western Tibet), Dhotö (Kham area) and Dhomey (Amdo area).
Tibetans are Buddhist and His Holiness The Great 14th Dalai Lama is the spiritual head.
TIBETANS IN AUSTRIA
Since the brutal occupation of Tibet by the Chinese aggressors in 1959, around 80.000 Tibetans fled to India, Nepal and Bhutan crossing the Himalayas on foot for weeks. Austria's neighbour country Switzerland has been very sympathetic with offering humanitarian help to the exiled Tibetan refugees. The Swiss government has been very kind with offering asylum to Tibetans till today. There are other European Countries such as France and others are offering asylum to the Tibetan refugees on sympathetic and humanitarian basis since there are no human rights for Tibetans. Tibetans are suppressed and brutally tortured till today.
During the 80s, 6 to 8 Tibetans were living in Austria. Later in the early 90s, some more arrived and settled. Two decades later when the major Buddhist event, Kalachakra was held in the city of Graz in 2002, the number of Tibetans living in the whole of Austria was less than 20.
Since 2004, the number of Tibetans arriving in Austria has been increasing gradually. From the census conducted in 2022, TGÖ assumes that approximately 600 Tibetans are residing in Austria, majority in Vienna.
Meanwhile, all have learned the native language and speak german, many have attended various courses and completed diplomas.
Today Tibetans have integrated well into the Austrian society. All are working hard with dignity and abiding by the law and order of the host country. Apart from industries such as tourism and hospitality, many Tibetans are engaged in healthcare services such as nursing, assistant nursing, care for the elderly, all of which suit our Buddhist culture well, a culture of helping and serving others. Some work in the preschool kindergartens to the universities.
There are many new-generation Tibetan children born in Austria. To preserve our language in today’s challenging times, TGÖ coordinates with volunteer teachers and parents in order to organise Tibetan language classes on weekends for children above 6, as we truly believe they are the seeds of the future and a hope for a peaceful community.
LE KHUNG, THE OFFICE
The community ́s first ever office in the history of Tibetans in Austria since 80 ́s. This would not have been possible without the support of the community's members, the unanimous decision to support the proposal by all the 14 Board Members and the kind
support of Mrs. Elisabeth Zimmermann, (also known as Amala Zimmermann or Ama Sangmo La among Tibetans, Ama/Amala meaning mother), former Chairlady of Save Tibet organisation who has been supporting Tibet and Tibetans since 90s.
The first meeting took place in the almost completed office in June 2023 when Mrs. Thinlay Chukki, the Representative of His Holiness The Dalai Lama from Geneva together with Mrs. Kalden Tsomo, UN Advocacy Officer were in Austria.
The official inauguration of the office was on 27th August which was inaugurated by Mrs. Elisabeth Zimmermann and Venerable Monk Geshe Tenzin Dhargye La, Director of Tibet Centre Hüttenberg, Kärntern.
The office is also used for The Weekend Tibetan Classes for children above 6, learning traditional music instrument and gathering place for the Tibetans.
"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible" - Dalai Lama