Zangdok Palri Lotus ASBL launched its programme in October 2000, at the request of the population of the Dzogchen area in Tibet. It is considered as a long term programme.
Mission of the Zangdok Palri Programme
The Dzogchen region in the Sichuan Province of Western China (Kham) is home to a people whose ancient nomadic lifestyle is perfectly suited to the harsh conditions of the Himalayan plateaux. But as the modern world draws inexorably closer, these people face the challenge of joining the global village without losing their autonomy. The Zangdok Palri programme seeks to equip the population with the basic skills they need to be able to embrace all the benefits that modern life has to offer them while continuing to preserve their unique heritage and share it with a world where so many others have lost theirs.
The community the programme will serve
The target population of the programme is the community of ethnic Tibetans living in the Dzogchen area of former Tibetan province of Kham, current Sichuan, China.
This community consists of 10,000 nomads, living in very harsh conditions, subsisting mainly from herding yaks and severely lacking basic services in the area of education, healthcare, economic infrastructure. Their culture is under threat.
- To improve the living conditions of this community.
- To lay the foundations for sustainable and autonomous development of the community.
- To give the men, women and children initial access to minimum human development as a springboard for creating their own future.
Needs and development aid programme
The needs of the community can be grouped under three main headings:
There is no provision at all for primary, let alone, secondary education, in the area. Education is the critical factor which will empower the community in its further development. This is therefore the starting point of the programme.
The nomadic inhabitants eke out a precarious subsistence in a barter economy.
Preservation of the culture
The arrival of “modernity” in the region poses a great threat to the ancient cultural tradition of the Dzogchen nomads, which is the cornerstone of their identity as a community.
Responding to the wishes of the local Tibetan population
At present, the situation of the Tibetan population in the Dzogchen region does not inspire great hope for the future: education is practically non-existent, what health care there is is either costly or inadequate, malnutrition is rife and poverty is extreme.
The Zangdok Palri Programme was set up to respond to the aspiration of the local Tibetan population for decent living conditions, the means to shape their own future, achieve their own goals and transform their current poverty and hardship into a vibrant and prosperous environment.
Enhancing the dialogue between East and West
The West has a lot to offer a country like Tibet. Most obvious are its successes – albeit relative – in creating a good standard of living (in economic, social, health, educational terms, to name but a few).
But comfortable as we in the West may be, we are still far from completely happy. We are learning that material wealth is not enough…
The ancestral wisdom of Tibet is part of our world’s human heritage.
Creating an opportunity for authentic exchange between East and West, sharing our best in return for a deeper contact with the best in Tibetan culture is an exciting and truly worthwhile project.
The Zangdok Palri Programme has been conceived for the benefit of all, whether we live in Tibet or in the West. One of its objectives is to preserve a culture, a way of life and a tradition of wisdom that are quite unique.