Family to Familiy
The “Family to Family” project evolved out of the “Poverty Alleviation” project (that immediately was started after the severe april 2010 earthquake) and the “2011 Checking our Aid” campaign. The Family to Family project supports a group of the poorest nomad families living in the surroundings of the Dönda village, close to Yushu.
This collective of families (some 200 persons) in three years has founded a general store, a bakery and in 2013/2014 a community centre with a health post, kindergarten and a trainings centre for (simple) handicrafts.
The Family to Family collective strives to be self supporting. The Gesar Fund supports initiatives with one time subsidies.
Underneath you can read how the Family to Family project orginated.
Family to Family: realization process
The “Family to Family” project evolved out of the “Poverty Alleviation” project (that immediately was started after the severe april 2010 earthquake) and the “2011 Checking our Aid” campaign.
The board felt the need to change the very necessary ad hoc help after the earthquake into permanent projects for which the Gesar Fund not only would be financier. The nomads themselves had to take responsibility for income and care for the group. Thus the board could, after counseling with the local Gesar volunteers, support initiatives via micro loans.
Checking our Aid 2011
To give the projects any chance in succeeding after the Checking our Aid campaign in 2011 our local volunteers selected a group out of the poorest nomad families in the surroundings of the Dönda village. In a meeting the nomads were asked to make up projects themselves and to think about money making activities.
2011: Gesar General Store
The first conclusion was to open up a general store which would deliver better quality goods against lower prices than the Yushu shops. The board decided to make a one-time donation of 12.000 euro for the rent of a store, the makeover, new inventory and supplies. A few months later the ‘Gesar General Store’ was a fact. And not only that, it also appeared to be a succes! A week after the opening the turn-over was 12.000 Yuan (~ € 1000).
2012: Gesar Bakery
After a year of profit of the Gesar General Store the nomad collective decided to start a bakery. Steam machines were bought and personell was trained in the city of Xining. First the Gesar Bakery was located next to the General Store, but after a year it was relocated to Zhenzing where more sales could be realized due to the nearby monastery and lack of competition.
2013: Gesar Community Centre
In 2011 in a meeting the nomads were asked to create projects themselves. A problem was that most of the participants were illiterate, had a bad health condition and/or were handicapped. One resigned to a fate and was not used to taking initiatives. However, the inspiring succes of the Gesar General Store and the Gesar Bakery led to more potential ideas! After consulting the local Gesar volunteers the ambitious decision was made to create a community centre in which all initiatives could be bundled.
In the spirit of the Family to Family project the buildings of the Gesar Community Centre should be of excellent quality. Building in Eastern Tibet mainly is done in summer as only then the soil – in where the foundation has to be created – is not frozen. Also creating the foundation has to be done very carefully as in summer house may subside. Thus there were two challenges for the local Gesar volunteers: finding a contractor which wouldn’t go over budget and was reliable enough.
The searching took a long time and various architects and building companies made drawings and created building plans. Finally, in the summer of 2013, a reliable builder realized the foundation. Not only that, the foundation is that strong that in future it will be capable to support a second floor!
In fall 2013 the Gesar Community Centre was builded.
In the Gesar Community Centre there is room for a health post, kindergarten, a meeting room and a trainings centre for handicrafts like glazier, tailor and shoemaker.