Ven.Ngawang Woeber is a Tibetan Buddhist Monk born in Jangkhashang Dundung tso of Southern Tibet in 1965. Originally from Drepung Monastery in Lhasa, he studied Buddhist philosophy, Tibetan history and grammar for 20 years. He now lives in Dharamsala India, along with approximately 200,000 other refuges forced to live in exile.
Ngawang Woeber, an activist and social worker, is a man of great courage who works tirelessly in the fight for freedom and equality for his people. On 27 September 1987, Ngawang was one of 21 monks who began the peaceful protest against the suppression of cultural and religious expression by the Chinese Government. This peaceful demonstration, known as the dark night erupted the outrage of the local people that had not seen any uprising since 1959 and the invasion of the Chinese into Tibet.
What began with 21 monks ended with almost a thousand joining the march, flying the Tibetan Flag and shouting protest slogans, and support for the Dalai Lama, their spiritual leader. This protest saw Ngawang arrested and imprisoned for 4 months, where he experienced constant harsh interrogation and coercion by the Chinese.
After his release he continued his fight against the Chinese Government and on 20th April 1990 was expelled from his monastery by the Chinese and was forbidden to join any other Monastery. Having to endure constant surveillance from Chinese police; his freedom greatly restricted; Ngawang decided there was no point remaining in Tibet and felt he could achieve more for his people if he fled. In April 1991, this is what he did – leaving family, friends and his beloved homeland behind, never being able to return until Tibet is once again free from Chinese oppression.
It took Ngawang and 5 other monks as his companion, 24 days to cross the grueling and dangerous terrain of the Himalayan mountains, finally arriving in Dharamsala, India – home of His Holiness Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile, armed with an even greater resolve to do more for his people still oppressed inside Tibet.
Ngawang completed teacher training for 3 years at the Buddhist School of Dialects and was appointed the religious teacher at the Tibetan School at Patlikul near Kulu in southern India. Here he taught Tibetan religion, philosophy and grammar to the students for a period of 10 years.
During this time, Ngawang’s tireless energy and determination allowed him and another monk to begin Gu Chu Sum – an organization for ex-political prisoners, where he served as vice-president until 2004 when he was voted in as president until 2010. www.guchusum.org.
Faced with the dilemma of what is the next step for him, Ngawang started RATNA TARA TRUST in December 2010, believing that although Tibetans are forced to live in exile, they deserve the same right of a good education as everyone else, regardless of their social and economic standard. He believes that education is the key to dignity and pride of every human being. Without education there is no hope, no future and very little opportunity. This then only leads to social problems of depression, alcoholism, drug addiction and even worse suicide. His belief is that one day; these students will in turn give back to their people, because it is the younger generation that must continue the fight for freedom.
Ngawang is a monk – yes, but also he is a human being; who has experienced and witnessed indescribable injustice, torture and genocide being inflicted upon, not only his people, but to his fellow man, while the majority of the world turns away and pretends it doesn’t see. This injustice should outrage all of humanity; it should motivate us all to say “No, this is not right – I need to help my fellow man to be free”.