Trans-Himalayan Aid Society

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Trans-Himalayan Aid Society

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The Trans-Himalayan Aid Society (TRAS), formerly the Tibetan Refugee Aid Society, is a not-for-profit international development organization based in Vancouver, British Columbia. TRAS was founded by author George Woodcock and his wife and Inge after they visited India and met His Holiness, the Dalai Lama in the 1960s. TRAS became an official Society of British Columbia in 1962.
Originally, TRAS operated under the following administrative structure. The position of Chairman was a honourary appointment. The Vice-Chairman was responsible for administration including the general running of the entire operation. There was also a Board of Directors which conferred with the Vice-Chairman on all aspects of the running of the Society. All of these persons were volunteers. Professor George Woodcock was the Vice-Chairman of TRAS from 1962-1970. Professor John Conway was then Vice-Chairman from 1971-1981. When Professor Conway resigned from the position of Vice-Chairman, the Society decided that the office work was too much for volunteers and a professional secretary was hired to run the office. The name of the Society was officially changed on May 14, 1990 to the Trans-Himalayan Aid Society. The original acronym, TRAS, remained the same.
In 1970, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) agreed to provide the organization with matching funds. Realizing that Tibetan refugees would not be leaving India anytime soon, TRAS expanded its scope of activities to help adults and children cope on a longer-term basis. As Tibetan settlements reached self-sufficiency the organization extended its reach into the trans-Himalayan region. TRAS works with partner agencies and individuals in India, Nepal, and Tibet to identify communities in need. Proposals come from partner organizations to TRAS’ Board of Directors. The Board of Directors decides which projects to raise and distribute funds for; funds are raised through individual donations and fundraising events. Partners are responsible for implementing their own projects. Areas of work include: education campaigns; building settlements, schools and homes for children and elderly; vocational training; environmental, agricultural and health programs; and the preservation of arts and culture.
Sources:
Trans-Himalayan Aid Society. http://www.tras.ca (accessed March 13, 2010).

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