The center was established in the wake of dramatic escape of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, along with thousands of his compatriots from Tibet in 1959. Trying to come up to terms in the settings of a new country along with finding their own identity, the center came into being through a concerted efforts of the people from within the Tibetan community. It is comprised of an old-age home, an orphanage, a clinic, a gompa as well as workshops that produce woodcarvings, leather work, carpets, metal work and other woolen items. It also exhibits a photographic display of most turbulent times for Tibetan Refugees in Darjeeling.
Over the period of time, the center has taken on multitude of activities. The items produced in the center are up for sale and reasonably-priced and their proceeds go straight towards the benefit of the Tibetan community. Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center is located on the Gandhi road in Darjeeling and can be easily accessed through any means of local transport.