Gaden Relief Projects

Helping Tibetans and Mongolians preserve their unique cultures.


GRP Board Meeting
By Teleconference
June 20, 2008

Present: Venerable Zasep Rinpoche, Evan Zaleschuk, Matthew Richards, Conrad Richter (Chair)


A. Zangskar Trip

1. Main Purpose of Teleconference Meeting

The main purpose of this teleconference, the Board decided, was to set out the details about how our organization would get the cash donations to our charities in Ladakh and Mongolia (e.g. how and when to withdraw the money, how to get this money to Rinpoche for his trip etc.).

2. Itinerary

The itinerary for Rinpoche’s trip will be:

1. The flight from Nelson to Vancouver – July 28th

2. The flight from Vancouver to Delhi – July 31st

3. Rinpoche will then meet John Huizinga and his wife, Celeste, in Delhi.

4. The three of them will proceed to Leh, Ladakh and get acclimatized to the altitude.

5. They will spend a few days in Kulu (8000 ft).

6. They will then meet a few nuns from the Zangskar nunneries near Padam (near Leh). Kim Gutschow will let the nuns know of the group’s arrival.

7. The group will then go to meet Cynthia Hunt in Leh to pick up the solar lanterns they will purchase for the nunneries.

8. They will then deliver the lanterns to the nunneries at Zangskar.

9. This marks Rinpoche’s first trip to Zangskar and he will take some time to visit some local monasteries as well and will see if they need similar help or funding.

10. Rinpoche will go to “Gangcha Temple” to visit a Tibetan doctor friend of Kim’s who has set up a small clinic there. Rinpoche wants to check up on the medical issues there. If he feels that GRP can help this clinic, most of the infrastructure issues have already been taken care of and hence any support or donations can go directly into medicine and care. Rinpoche wants to see how sincere this doctor is, how reliable and effective this clinic is as to assure any support we give is strategic.

11. On Sept. 8th – Rinpoche will travel from Delhi to Singapore and on to Seoul and finally, Ulan Bator.

3. Possible New Project

Following up on point #10, the Board felt that if we wanted to support this clinic, we could put our money into buying medicine and aid in Delhi and ship it up to Zangskar. Kim or Cynthia could help or arrange this.

Conrad felt that we could add this new initiative under the Zangskar Nuns Project. We would have to draft up a new agreement with the clinic. Rinpoche could survey and inspect the site this trip and Cynthia can provide us with the recorded facts, details and figures at a later date.

The Board agreed that it would not be proper, according to federal legislation, merely to leave money with the clinic; rather, our support would consist in the purchase of medical aid and equipment.

4. Aid for Nunneries

Following up on point #10, the Board felt that if we wanted to support this clinic, we could put our money into buying medicine and aid in Delhi and ship it up to Zangskar. Kim or Cynthia could help or arrange this.

The Board then went back to discussing the details concerning the purchase of the lanterns for the nunneries:

A Chinese nun and her friend in Vancouver left money, about $2400., with Evan for the purchase of the solar lanterns. Each lantern costs about $40-50. Evan gave a tax receipt to them and told then he will give them relevant photos from Rinpoche’s trip.

It was thought that the Zangskar Nun’s Association, with whom we are organizing this Project, itself probably just operates when Kim is there visiting and its official status is more for our legal benefit when cooperating with us on such a given initiative.

Rinpoche will get Kim and the nuns to write a follow-up report on the delivery of the lanterns and any other aid provided. Also, legally, we can only give the nuns half of the money or aid at the start of this project and the other half once they have assured us it is being spent in the terms proper to our contract. In the meantime, the nuns must hold it in trust. Rinpoche assumes the Zangskar Nun’s Association must have a bank account in Ley but Conrad, having the minutes from the organization, feels that they are still trying to officially obtain one as the process is lengthy because of the local government’s fear of terrorism in that area.

In light of this, Rinpoche will only take a little extra money with him this time. Conrad says that extra money could be spent on food and books for the nuns. If this cannot be provided for properly, this could cause GRP some problems down the road, hence the need for Rinpoche to assess the facts and expectations, during his trip.

5. Australian Volunteers

Ananda and Mary, two senior students and friends of Rinpoche from Australia, will be visiting the famous monastery Tapo, near Spiti and will meet up with him at some point. They are interested in helping out with the Zangskar Nun’s Project.

6. Resolutions

The Board officially approved:

i. The purchase of the solar lanterns.

ii. That Rinpoche, John and Celeste will visit the medical clinic and see if it makes sense to purchase drugs and equipment for it. If need be, they will do just that.

iii. Rinpoche will see how the money is being used for the Zangskar Nun’s Project and check up on the nature and status of the Zangskar Nun’s Association. Conrad will also contact Kim and inquire about the nunneries’ expectations of us and communicate ours to them. In particular he will get her to assure that the Zangskar Nun’s Association act as our agent with one nun from each nunnery serving as a representative.

iv. GRP, using the main bank account, will cover the $1500. Cost of Rinpoche’s plane ticket.

The Board asked Matthew to give Rinpoche a hard copy of this meeting’s minutes to serve as notes and a checklist for his trip.

Rinpoche will be in Vancouver from July 26th-28th and would like to receive the money for his trip - $5000. in total. Rinpoche will bring back any money he doesn’t use and will send Conrad the bill for his plane ticket.

B. Mongolia Trip

1. Funds

Our GRP agent in Mongolia, Gerlee is in Ulan Bator as of this July and it is easy to wire her money for any project if need be. Matthew can arrange this on Rinpoche’s request.

Rinpoche’s student Ken Lee donated $2000. for Mongolia Project which can be used if need be.

2. Needs Review

Rinpoche will visit the Delgeruun Choira Gobi Temple Projects to see what is needed next. Right now it looks as if the Gobi temple is being well funded by Korean patrons who are raising money to build a four-storey temple and plant a number of new trees in the surrounding grounds. Money made be needed to replace/upgrade solar panels or for a new water project.

On the whole, in regards to the future aims of GRP Mongolia Project, the Board will wait for more information from Rinpoche when he returns.

C. Bodhi Organization

Bodhi can now accept donations from U.S. and Australian donors but only for Jamseng Health Care and Tashi Lapug Medical Clinic Projects. In other words, Bodhi collects donations and issues tax receipts on our behalf for these two projects. The GRP website explains this situation.

They have received 5 donations from Australian donors, have processed them and given them receipts. Susan and Conrad are making it work.

We will give Bodhi their donation money once a year by cheque or money transfer to keep the workload down.

D. GRP Tibetan Projects

GRP is planning a 2009 visit to Tibet once all the politics surrounding the 2008 Beijing Olympics have settled down.

[Minutes prepared by Matthew Richards]