In 1989, The Tibetan US Resettlement Project (TUSRP), a coalition
of Tibetans-in-exile and their American supporters, persuaded the United States
Congress to provide one thousand visas for Tibetans as a part of the Immigration
Act of 1990.
The Tibetan immigrants were resettled in 18 cluster areas
spread in different parts of the United States. The Chicago Tibetan Resettlement
Project was founded by Nina Schroeder, Gigi Pucker, and others to help resettle
hundreds of Tibetans in the city of Chicago.
From 1992, when the first group of Tibetans arrived at O'Hare
to 1994, scores of dedicated volunteers worked to provide needed services to the
new arrivals, including housing, employment, healthcare, English language tutoring,
visa processing, and much more.
The first phase of the resettlement effort and the subsequent
phase of reunification of their families were carried out very successfully. The
Tibetan Resettlement Project was later renamed as 'The Tibetan Alliance of Chicago'.
Its Board of Directors consisted of both Americans and Tibetans.
The first Tibetans arrived with varying degrees of skills.
Those newly escaped from Tibet knew little or no English, while those educated
in India could speak or write fluently. Likewise with work experiences, many were
farmers or street vendors in their previous homes, while others were well-educated
professionals in the fields of teaching, art, administration and business.
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