Tibetans preserve their unique culture.
October 26, 2003
Ven. Zasep Rinpoche, Didi Zasep, Evan Zaleschuk, Deborah Simpson,
Sharon Gretzinger, Matthew Richards, Cristina Sanchez, George
Tilser, Dawn Topham, Bridget MacKenzie, Marianne Rev ( I hope
I got everyone).
Some people on the committee have questions or concerns about
the overall philosophy vis-a-vis the Committee's projects and
fundraising. It is felt that research and information gathering
about what other groups and NGOs do could be helpful concerning
both their problems and solutions.
2.0. The basic question on many minds Sunday night was how to
make a positive difference in people's lives.
3.0. Public health and basic hygiene was seen to be the best place
to start and focus efforts as it is often a root cause of the
many ills the committee is trying to alleviate.
4.1. Many NGOs around the world create problems at the same time
as they solve them. For example, Dispensing small amounts of Western
medicine or having limited contact with Western medical staff
is often not a long-term solution or its impact is often not felt.
4.2. Problems and issues seemed best solved at the "grass-roots"
level. Local people need to be included in the decision-making
process within projects as well as take a significant degree of
responsibility or ownership of these same projects. Local people
want to be "partners", they want to have their voices heard.
4.3. Rinpoche said it would be good to consult with people who
have personally been to Tibet, for example, to see the situation
"on the ground". Rinpoche and Robbie, on their 2001 visit, left
Western medicine in Zadoh for the locals, with detailed instructions
on its correct use.
4.4. Many agreed that it was a good idea to try to educate people
in the community in these issues ie. hygiene, use of medicine
etc. that they be able to help others in the absence of professional
help. Local people would then be able to help themselves.
4.5. Already, people like "Tashi" and "Jinpa" (I hope the names
are right), have programs in Tibet where locals are educated &
trained on first aid and basic hygiene and "germ theory". Another
course offered is on midwifry.
added by Deborah: "Tashi" and "Jinpa" are
not two different people. Jinpa is an aid organziation in eastern
Tibet which was founded by Tashi Tsering. Rinpoche has worked
with Tashi in the past. Jinpa offers training programs for Medical
Assistants. Conrad Richter sent detailed info about
this a a few months ago. At the meeting we discussed sending
some Zadoh area residents to this training rather than trying
to recreate the wheel. I think the 'action' was that Rinpoche
would talk to Tashi about this, to see if 1. it is feasible and
2. how much would it cost to 'buy' a seat in the training.
Also, I was to give Rinpoche a list of the areas of the training
areas we were interested in, which I have done.]
4.6. Our program can look at implementing these ideas, including
issues vis-a-vis children's health and chronic illness.
4.7. General poverty is an overall concern and indeed related
cause of basic health problems. Our health care center should
then look at educating people along these lines.
4.8. Rinpoche feels that we should implement programs such as
4.9. Another idea for the Health Care Center is the use of illustrated
hygiene books for the young and illiterate (Maggie & Cynthia from
Seva have them). We could translate these or get them in a billingual
5.0. At the meeting in Toronto of the Gaden Relief Committee,
it was also agreed that basic sanitation and hygiene was the biggest
concern. The Health Care Center could use a water pump for clean
water and a solar-pannel-operated shower to demonstrate basic
cleanliness and washing.
5.1. Another idea proposed there was the use of blackened bottles
to store still water. The sun's natural UV rays kill germs and
make the water, for the great part, potable. These could be a
6.0. It was a agreed that none of the above ideas is either costly
or difficult to implement.
7.0. Following the ideas of Angela Hryniuk's multi-media presentation
of her new poetry book, Rinpoche said that he could organize a
similar presentation of his recent trips to Tibet that would act
as a great fundraiser.
8.0. Rinpoche also suggested that the Committee look at ways to
help the people and the spread of Dharma in Outer Mongolia. He
wants to help with the restoration of the renown Amarbayasgalant
monastery in Selenge Province, N. Mongolia. This monastery is
under the guidance of one of Rinpoche's friends and Gurus, Guru
8.1 In particular, the monastery needs a water pump to give the
young monks, potable water. They suffer from many ailments. "Amar
Mor", their fundraising branch, also supports in the poor, in
Ulaan Bataar [UB] by buying them new yurts.
8.2. This "Mongolia Project" of Gaden Relief can send money for
these projects in part due to the sale of Dharma items we can
inexpensively import from Mongolia.
9.0. Didi's Gaywa project is raising money ($7000.00) for the
building of a school. She has raised $3000.00 so far. Fundraising
is also needed for education on birth control and basic social
education for local children.
10.0 It was suggested that on Rinpoche's next visit to Tibet,
medical check-ups on muscular and skeletal problems could be given.
prepared by Matthew Richards; edited by Conrad Richter]