Het Gesar Fund invests in education! We start with the paying for a three month training of three of ‘our’ nomads in a clothing factory in Yushu. We are doing so as the selling of souvenirs to tourists does not generate enough revenue.
From the 2015 Gesar Fund Annual Summary:
As Dönda is an obligatory stop for tourist buses, it seems the best option for the nomads is to sell souvenirs to the tourists: small parcels of yak butter, miniature stoves, miniature nomad tents, thangka’s, jewelry et cetera. By selling these products there is a direct link between the production and the money.
In winter 2015 the local volunteers bought a large quantity of yak hair, which has been divided over several nomad families to process it into various kinds of souvenirs
In the same year board member Nyima Kunga was interviewed by the Shambhala Times:
Years ago one of the older women suggested they could make souvenirs for the tourists who come on the buses and have a mandatory stop in Donda. When I arrived, one of that woman’s daughters was making souvenirs in the Community Center room that we had planned to use for the out-of-school care. They make bracelets from Yak hair and sell balls of Yak wool.
Also last winter souvernirs have been made (at home and in the Community Centre), but unfortunately there have been changes in the route of the hghway: it has been decided that the highway will pass Dönda in quite some distance and not go through the hamlet. Thus sales to tourists will not happen. To sell the souvernirs along the new road is too troublesome due to the cold and wind (also in summer).
The local Gesar volunteers therefore asked the board to re-invest in an older project. The first manager of the Gesar General Store used to sow clothing in the store at moments no customers were in the shop. After he left a the local volunteers never have been able to find someone to replace him.
The board not only decided to start up this project again, but also to intensify it! Coming winter (2016-2017) three nomads will receive a training to become tailor. With the owner of the factory agreements have made that the three new students will focus upon winter clothing.
The Gesar Fund will pay the training, the costs of staying in Yushu and after that buy sowing machines and material and pay a salary to the new tailors who will start to work at the Community Centre. The clothing produced will help out the poorest of nomads and will be sold on markets.
The Gesar Fund initialy will invest €5000.