Shelter108 e.V. was founded in the spring of 2007 by the film director and author Maria von Blumencron and Jörg Arnold.
Maria von Blumencron has dedicated her work in equal parts to the beautiful things in life and the suffering in our world. Her work took her to precisely those countries where spiritual abundance and material hardship are never far apart.
But it was not her intention merely to chronicle events. She wanted to give refugee children and displaced young people a real perspective. Shelter108 was established to create a long-term foundation for this purpose.
The main focus of our work is in the Himalayas where for decades young Tibetan children and adolescents have been sent by their parents on the incredibly treacherous journey across the highest mountain passes in the world in order to reach Nepal or India where their education is still possible in a framework of their own culture.
But since the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games the Chinese borders have been practically hermetically sealed off. And today Tibetans seldom attempt to flee the country as the risks involved in being caught are simply too extreme.
Most of the children who live in the Tibetan Children's Villages today were already born in exile. They also are registered as refugees and their culture is now threatened by Indian and Western influence. In addition it is these children, Tibetans born in exile, who suffer particularly from their cultural uprooting and the fact that they are separated so drastically from their parents and grandparents: the breakdown of Tibetan families is increasing and especially Tibetan men are increasingly susceptible to alcohol and drug abuse. The Tibetan Children's Villages are therefore becoming more and more important for the care of socially underprivileged children.
In addition to our work with Tibetan children and adolescents, Shelter108 also supports a rehabilitation project for young girls who have been abused, neglected and/or abandoned in St.Petersburg. Many have spent time living on the streets when life at home became unbearable. The Centre of Rehabilitation is run by Paediatrician Dr. Vasily Sereda who has received international acclaim also for his work with homeless children.
Apart from supporting individual refugees, Shelter 108 aims to contribute to the preservation of Tibetan culture. In the face of the political environment this is only possible in exile. This is why we support projects to build children's homes, schools and hostels - for the most part in remote areas where Tibetan traditions are still alive. It is also our aim the children and adolescents whom we support will one day assume responsibility for their Tibetan community.