Hollywood superstars Richard Gere and Goldie Hawn have jointly offered $1 million (GBP625,000) to improve the condition of Tibetans living in exile in a north Indian town.

The two stars are longtime supporters of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, and made the offer after seeing unhygienic living conditions in McLeodganj, headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

A senior Tibetan official says, "They were concerned about the condition of the roads and sanitation when they visited us in October last year. Gere, in fact, sent some contributions immediately after his return and had promised to do more. That seems to be coming through now."

McLeodganj, a sleepy town in the Himalayan foothills which is home to 10,000 exiled Tibetans, has been home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile since the early 1960s.

Tibetan and Indian officials said McLeodganj and Dharamsala, which together have a population of 25,000, had to tackle problems created by a growing population and an increase in tourists.

22/09/2003 02:25