News Archive 2016
All news updates of 2016.
Family to Family Project Update
The first Gesar Update of this year! Later than anticipated as winter lasted exceptionally long. The combination of extreme low temperatures and extreme altitude causes to stop outdoor activities.
Gesar Community Centre
In the Gesar Community Centre activities are starting up: people meet each other in the biljart room where free tea is served. Visitors can ask for a medical check and if necessary medication is prescribed or people are sended to the Chinese Hospital of the People.
The new stupa has not been finished yet, but the building of it commenced again a few weeks ago. Under the stupa a room has been created where the people can practise. Practise should be done inside due to the extreme altitude and often low temperatures (also in summer). The praying wheel is ordered but has not been installed yet.
The Gesar volunteers asked the abbots of the nearby monastery to keep track of the construction.
Gesar General Store
Last year we were giving a new impetus the Gesar General Store. The young shopkeeper was going to be accompanied by an elderly nomad who would take care of the ‘customer relations’ and social context. Also free tea would be served in the hope more people would find the store and more sales would be realized.
Unfortunately the store still is not selling as we would like it to. A cause may have been the extreme past winter, but that is not totally clear yet. Another evaluation will be made an the autumn of this year.
The Gesar Bakery is located near the monastery. The lady who ran the bakery now is the manager of the Community Centre. But before that she trained three young people who run the bakery now. Sales still are good and the bakery will remain at the existing location.
No news yet has been received about the Education Project and the Healtcare Project.
Collecting herbs and roots; summer has begun !!!
Each year at the beginning of the summer áll Tibetans climb the meadows in the mountains to gather medicinal herbs and roots. In this period of several weeks public life has stopped completely!
The collected herbs and roots are used by the families and by the collective of nomads. The herbs also are traded.
Take a peek at our Photostream for some unique photos!
Checking our Aid 2016 – Update 1 – New Plans
14-07-2016Nyima Kunga, board member of the Gesar Fund and contact of the local Dönda, Yushu and Xining Gesar Team received his China visum this week. This means that also this year we can execute our Checking Our Aid Campaign.
The building of the Gesar Community Centre is continuing and with the addition of a stupa and praying-wheel house it is getting more beautifull and more functional.
The General Store, after a successful start five years ago, is gaining less money due to problems with staffing the store. The local team continiously is monitoring the situation and making changes if necessary.
The health projects are doing fine. Many nomad adults and children are tested on TD and hepatitis. If needed they are sent to a Chinese Peoples Hospital for free treatment. Our ambulance goes to the very remote areas and also there tests various nomads.
Since two years also all students of a secondary school in Chindu are tested. In return they are asked to carry out simple household jobs or give education about disease prevention.
Last year, after the Checking Our Aid Campaign, Nyima gave an interview with the Shambhala Times. He told he was happy that after all these years the self-sufficiency under the nomads starts bearing fruit. The nomads slowly are getting confidence they themselves can start initiatives and actually make money and even can become self-supporting.
We remain critical though. The General Store has proven that circumstances quickly can change. Not only external circumstances can change but finding nomads who remain motivated in long term can be a challenge.
Nonetheless we keep developing new plans.The latest plan is to buy Yak cows for nomad families who do not have cattle anymore. We will keep you posted!
Next update will follow as soon as Nyima contacts us!
Checking our Aid 2016 – Update 3 – Pacha
Another new activity in the Gesar Fund Fighting Tuberculosis Project!
After a visit to Dönda (more in an update to come, we’re waiting for the photo’s) Nyima travelled to the Pacha Monastery. As the Gesar Fund had been so succesfull in expanding or Healthcare activities, the idea arose to search for more locations for a largescale implementation of one of our health projects.
In 2016 the secondary school of Chindu took profit of this expansion, this year Nyima has – on behalf of the Gesar Fund – donated 5000 euro to the Pacha Monastery to make it possible that every monk, novice and passing nomad could get a TB-test.
As we mention on our Gesar Fund Healthcare page positive tested individuals can have free treatment in the People’s Hospital. However, for medication has to be paid!These costs will be paid by the Gesar Fund. And of course the Gesar Ambulance will be used for the x-rays.
On the photo you can see the official flag (painted by the abbot) on which is stated that the monastery has received an amount of money equal to 5000 euro which will be spent on Fighting TB. The abbot thanks the Gesar Fund onbehalf of all monks and the people of Tibet.
The Gesar Fund can do what we do because of generous donations. So please donate via our Donation-Page. Also small donations are very welcome!!!
The Gesar Fund Board,
Han de Wit
An van Bolhuis
Checking our Aid 2016 – Update 4 – Chengdu
Chengdu county bacterial epidemic !!!
In Chengdu county a bacterial epidemic has occured the last month, caused by decomposing dead animals.
As dead animals decompose, bacteria that may normally be contained within the animal’s body can be released, exposing people to potential disease-causing pathogens.
As disposal of cadavers often is not possible due to the vastness of the valleys with hardly any inhabitants, with normal circumstances (the extreme height and the extreme dryness of the air) the cadavers will be quickly embalmed.
Alas, as happens once every ten years, this time somehow the dead-animals-bacteria ‘escaped’ and form a risk for the human population.
The whole Chendu country has been sealed of for three weeks now, and healthcare teams were send into the mountains and countrysides to spray anti-bacterial fluids.
The local Gesar volunteers (including doctors and nurses from the Peoples Hospital) also were alarmed and used the Gesar Ambulance to travel to all Gesar locations to decontimate water supplies in and near the villages and hamlets. Found dead animals immediately were burned. The nomads were investigated if they were infected, and if so, anti-biotics were provided.
Checking our Aid 2016 – Update 5 – Conclusion
Nyima returned from Tibet and informed us about the booked results and the latest developments.
The Health Project
As told in a previous update, we have expanded out Fighting-TB Project with another school. On the photo underneath you see the brand new director of the Orphanage School signing the contract in where the Gesar Fund commits itself to delivering aid and financial support regarding medicins.
Gesar Fund’s aid consists of testing on TB and other infectious deseases. In case of positive results students are told to get treatment in the Chinese Peoples Hospital where treatment is free-of-charge (but medication is not).
The signing of a contract between the school and the Gesar Fund is of great symbolic value. Each year the contract will be renewed.
The Gesar General Store
The General Store does not make much money. The current manager is not capable to make the store a kind of centre where people gather (and spend money). This has been going on for two years now, but the local volunteers wanted to keep the shop open as long there was a possibility that the new highway would be build nearby. Alas! This summer has been decided that the highway would be build out-of-center.
Nyima now has decided to move the shop to the Gesar Community Centre were are much more visitors (allthough father away from the highway).
The Gesar Community Centre
The praying house and the stupa are near completion. Photos will follow…
In the past winter in the Community Centre started a new initiative: nomads created small souvenirs from yak-hair for the transit tourists in Dönda.
The nomads were very enthousiastic during the making of the souvenirs and hoped on good sales this summer.
Alas! This summer it became clear that the new highway wont be close to the centre of Dönda. So the General Store where the souvenirs were sold did not get visits of transit tourists. We now will wait another year to find out if more changes in the highway project will arise. Only then we can determine were and how we can continue the sales.
Gesar Fund continiously works on alleviating poverty, stimulating education and fostering health in Kham and Chengdu. In alleviating poverty we try to make the nomads self-sufficient by stimulating new initiatives and if necessary backing them up with financial support.
Circumstances change continiously in contemporary China. This summer this caused we had to pause the initiative of making and selling souvenirs by the nomads.
On the other hand we were able to add another school to our Fighting-TB project and we were able to offer TB-tests to the Pacha Monastery.!
We continue in supporting the nomads and allways will cope with changing circumstances as a courageous shambhala warrior! Your support will remain essential! On our Donation Page you can support us! The money is very well spent and as the Gesar Fund only runs on volunteers there is no overhead!
In previous updates the hamlet of Chindu was mentioned as Chengdu. This is incorrect.
- Chengdu is a city with over a million inhabitants in the middle of China (see map).
- Chindu is a hamlet halfway Yushu-city and Dönda (Qingshueh) and even is smaller than Dönda: detail map.
This error has been corrected in all previous updates.
Marc Wiewel’s Marathon Donation: €232,95 !!!
On Sunday the 25th of September Marc Wiewel ran the Berlin Marathon for the Gesar Fund.
Marc asked everyone who wanted to support him to donate directly to the Gesar Fund.
Many gave and the total of donations was €232,95! The Gesar Fund thanks all who donated and especially Marc of course!
Are you preparing a challenging sportive archievement? And are you willing to collect for the Gesar Fund just as Marc has? The nomad families who are supported by us will be grateful!!!
The Gesar Fund invests in education!
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.
Tailors training in Yushu started
Our previous update was about the investments the Gear Fund is making regarding practical training for jobs; we mentioned the plans for subscribing three of our ‘nomads’ for tailor training in a clothing factory in Yushu.
Last week the contracts were signed: the three nomads will move to Yushu in the winter and start the training. In spring they will return to Dönda where they can start working in the Gesar Community Center.
Fot all photos, see Gesar Fund Photostream / Learning a Profession.
Ad Hoc Medical Aid: cataract and misformed fingers
One of the nurses who regularely works on the Gesar Ambulance for the Gesar Fund was on the way to Yushu when along the road she met a nomad who invited her to his house to drink tea.
In his one-room house were numerous family members amonst them two nieces. One niece had advanced cataract (probably due to untreated sugar disease) and the other niece had very painly misformed fingers (since her birth)
The nurse took the parents with the two daughters dirctly to the Yushu Peoples Hospital where initial treatment tookplace. Also medication has been bought, also for the upcoming winter.
As soon as there is contact again with this family, an update will be posted.
Allthough the Gesar Fund strives to offer stuctural aid, in severe case we immediately help out.
Gesar Praying House crowned with Stupa!
Underneath two photos of the new praying house in the Gesar Community Centre. The first photo was taken in the summer of 2016.
In octobre the ornaments were placed on the roof (as well as the small stupa) and three weeks ago the praying wheel was installed. Yesterday we received the photos.
Hardly any cloud in the sky, but as can seen by the clothing the nomads wear, it is extreme cold. In Dönda in general is is soo cold that all other boeddhistic activities have to take place inside one of the Gesar rooms.
The completed praying house motivates ‘our’ nomad group to come more often to the Community Centre, which gives our local volunteers opportunity to have a better overview of health issues within the group. Also in general more people are coming in which gives us the opportunity to give ad hoc aid if required.
Slowly the General Community Centre is evolving in a thruly community centre where medical aid is offered, one can buy some groceries and bread, some people are learning a handicraft and so on.
With the placing of the stupa on top of teh praying house the Gesar Fund gained a big spot in the hearts of the local nomads and the population of Dönda in general, as buddhism is strongly woven in everyday life.
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