Gaden Relief Projects

Helping Tibetans preserve their unique culture.


Zadoh Committee Meeting – Toronto
October 12, 2002

Present: Rinpoche, Conrad Richter, Robbie Chase, Dawn Standfield, Rob Standfield, Ann Power

Minutes: Rob Chase

1. Jamseng Health Centre

Rinpoche gave updates on Zadoh meeting Sept 12, Vancouver re. Jamseng Health Centre. Unfortunately, the resident doctor at Jamseng Health Centre, Dr. A-nyo, died this spring. Dr. Leydar has been coming from Zadoh town once a week to cover. A possible replacement is a Nyingma monk and Tibetan doctor in the region who will be asked when he returns from being away. Plans were discussed that the centre be a demonstration project: to provide protected water source from spring above health centre, buried piping, solar water heater and tank, shower facilities. At present, when people travel a long distance to get care, there is nowhere for them to stay overnight. Plans are for a simple 2-room building with kitchen.

2. Other health projects

Another idea discussed is to discuss with the Zadoh Town Health committee the public health, sanitation, and environmental issues and how Gaden Relief might facilitate making improvements:

  • garbage removal and recycling: the town has no garbage disposal or dump site
  • locate a site and help with purchase of truck for transport public
  • home posters in Tibetan with basic hygiene and health measures -- e.g. handwashing, prevention of infection transmission from fecal and other common sources of contamination; e.g. hepatitis
  • posters in Tibetan on water pipes, covered culverts and protection of water wells.

The difficulty of contacting Dharamsala to acquire a copy of the book, "Where There is No Doctor" in Tibetan, was discussed. Also raised was the question whether the health department in Dharamsala might have health sheets in Tibetan that we could use or adapt.

The lead of the Vancouver committee in the public health area was recognized. Deborah in particular has been working to prepare sheets to be distributed. This was agreed to be a worthwhile effort and should be continued.

3. Next year's trip July/Aug 2003

Plans are shaping up that two doctors (Robbie Chase, Candace Cole) and a dentist (Wendy) [Christina Wong, not "Wendy", according to Evan --ed.] will accompany Rinpoche on the trip approx 6-7 weeks long total.

Activities will focus on Jamseng, and Tashi Lhapug with less time in Zadoh town (mainly for planning meetings).

Rokpa purchased and delivered dental equipment for Yushu this year which Rinpoche has been invited to make use of for dental clinics in Zadoh.

Among the 6 Tibetan girls sponsored by Rokpa to come to Vancouver earlier this year for English instruction, two are from the Zadoh area, and are available to assist with translation for the clinics.

4. Future plans

Rinpoche is hoping that future health services could be offered through a medical nursing volunteer staying at Jamseng Health Centre for e.g. 6 month placements. The challenges of training local personnel to manage Western diagnosis and medication are considerable.

5. Gaden Relief and related websites posting the Zadoh project

The Zadoh project appears on several other websites, including Gaden for the West, Gaden Choling and the new Jamseng website, but some present project work such that they can be seen as different projects, when they are not. This problem needs to be corrected through providing cross-link between sites and proper description. Rinpoche asks that no further websites are set up and that efforts directed to correcting this problem and improving the existing sites. The need for holding a teleconference meeting with the Vancouver Zadoh committee and others on this subject was discussed.

6. Gaden Relief's charitable status

Gaden Relief's charitable status continues to be as a subsidiary of Gaden Choling. With the activities of the Vancouver committee, including the Geywa project, and in Australia, this is becoming untenable in that Gaden Choling is not in a position to be responsive or responsible for the activities undertaken by such groups. Apparently, it is not difficult to change this legally and have stand-alone status. However, at present, the reporting and authorization of some of activities for Zadoh are a problem if there were an audit because in the government's eyes the Gaden Choling board must be seen as exerting control over all of Gaden Relief's activities. In addition, Gaden Relief is no longer an effort of just one centre and reorganizing as a separate charity would better reflect that.

7. Action steps

Rinpoche will correspond with his brother and Dr. Leydar to get estimates for the constructions costs. We need a realistic estimate for fund-raising goals:

  • Construction costs and materials:
  • Salaries, ~$3000 Can for 4 people for two years (Jamseng MD, Leydar, contacts)
  • Equipment (solar heater, shower, pumps?)

Robbie will consult with Candace on a list of medications to collect based on last year's experience; the list will be posted on the website. Robbie will coordinate collection plans with Conrad and the Vancouver committee.

Conrad will organize a teleconference with Rinpoche, Rob Standfield (Gaden Choling president), Vancouver committee (Karen, treasurer; Evan, GR signing authority) and Zuru Ling (Bridget, president) to clarify current use of Gaden Relief charitable status, and set policy for future uses and reporting, and to discuss future reorganization of Gaden Relief. [The teleconference is scheduled for Nov. 27, 2002, 9:30 PM ET.]

Conrad will discuss appropriate changes to the websites with Evan and others.

8. Next meeting

The next meeting will be held in the spring 2003 when Rinpoche returns to Toronto.