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Apr 16, 2014

Back to the heartland...

Business · Community Development · Education

So I haven't had a chance to get blogging about all my recent adventures, but I had to at least take a moment to share about my trip last month to China.  It had been almost a year exactly since my family returned to America (we lived in China for many years) and this was my first time back.  And it was GREAT!  It did make me sad that we no longer live so close to our "heartland" on the Tibetan Plateau, but it was great to be walking the streets, eating Tibetan momos, and drinking tea with Namdrol (our Tibetan partner.)

There were two definite highlights of the time.  One was hearing updates on many of the students whose education we sponsor.  The majority of these kids are now in college!  It was amazing to hear the progress of kids who had once been written off as hopeless...many have top grades, one is class president and a gifted public speaker, others have graduated and are now working as teachers themselves.  Dreams have come true - their own, and ours on their behalves.  What joy!!

The other very exciting thing was the first stages of realization of a long term dream of ours.  Since our early days in community development work on the Plateau, we've desperately wanted to find a way to help housebound people earn an income.  Many of the poor in Tibet can find ways to earn a few extra dollars here and there, often by laboring on roads or in the fields or herds of others.  But there are many people who are housebound and have no way to earn even a meagre income.  Often these are people who have suffered severe illness, born with disability, or been in an accident.  Some are perfectly healthy people (usually women) who have elderly relatives at home that they must care for, making it impossible for them to travel the necessary distances to find work. 

During my time with Namdrol, we sketched out a plan for a new program. Reywa will soon be employing a number of these villagers to produce stitch markers for us!It’s a low-tech job that can be done around the needs of family, and physically undemanding so people who have physical limitations can still participate.Best of all, we will be using the beautiful beads Tibetans already use in their own jewelry and prayer chains.Namdrol is working on some prototypes right now, and we will soon be ready to train our first “crew”!

Reywa means hope.It also means dream.We are absolutely delighted to see our dream of providing hope for Tibetan people coming true

 

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