State-run schools

The few existing state-run schools were in poor condition and wholly inadequate. There was a lack of motivated and qualified teachers and the teaching materials were often insufficient. Young Tibetans were dying from treatable conditions such as appendicitis or gastric ulcers. The closest decent hospital is a good six hours’ journey from Dawu by car and thus almost inaccessible for most Tibetans, apart from which the cost of medical treatment makes it unaffordable for most Tibetans. For all these reasons there are a relatively large number of orphans in the region.

State-Run School in Drango, 1997

The Children’s Village project

After six privately financed exploratory journeys and a number of discussions with the competent Chinese authorities, we succeeded obtaining official permission to go ahead with our Children’s Village project in Eastern Tibet in 1997.

Unfortunately however, despite many years’ negotiation with the authorities, our project for a hospital was not approved.

The children come from the whole of Eastern Tibet, a catchment area larger than Germany. The number of children living in our Children’s Village continues to grow from year to year.

 

Some early photos of our children

Dolma from Litang
Drobdrel from Dawo
Kunga from Dragpa
Gonpo from Dzachuka
Dolkar from Karze
Tserong from Joru
Shola from Derge und Lhamo from Drango
Sonam from Dawo und Tashe from Gartak
Nyima from Rabshab

The second Children’s Village in Amdo

We came up against difficulties with the authorities when we wanted to take in orphans from the former Tibetan province of Amdo into our Children’s Village. We should explain here that Eastern Tibet has been split up into four different districts and incorporated into the bordering Chinese provinces. Thus officially, Kham and Amdo no longer exist in their original form. So the authorities did not look kindly upon our plans to bring children together from different regions of Tibet, despite the purely humanitarian nature of our intentions. The living conditions in and around Amdo are considerably rougher than in Kham. The average altitude of 4200 m, the sparse vegetation and temperatures that can fall below -30°C / -22°F in the winter months take a heavy toll every year and claim the lives of a large number of abandoned children. We still have a long waiting list of orphans and street children from this region who wish to come to us.

For this reason we began construction of a second Children’s Village in Amdo in early 2005, once we had received official approval after two-year negotiations with the local authorities.