Potala, o.p.s.

Education Project for Tibetan Nomads in Amdo (Qinghai Province, China)

Since the campaign to "Open up the west" (Xibu da kaifa) was introduced to the western parts of China in 2000, the central government started to initiate many changes in this area. The main aim of this campaign is to connect the western provinces with the infrastructure of the mainland. This shall bring large improvement of the socio-economical situation of the inhabitants of this remote areas, but at the same time it enables a better control of this regions by the central government. This campaign has also a huge impact on the life of the Tibetan nomads who live in most of the Qinghai Province and in the western part of the TAR.

Recently, the nomads are beeing resettled from the grassland into newly built settlements. This takes part under various reasons like ecological preservation or economical improvement. In this process they have to give up they traditional way of life over night and shall became farmers or look for other possible employment, which is difficult, as they have only poor education and no qualification for other kind of work. Because of this, most of them becomes dependent on the low governmental rent, which they will get for only few years.

We are not complaining about the effort of the Chinese government to improve the living conditions of the people who live on the Tibetan rangelands. The problem is, that this politic is beeing implemeted in the usual Chinese way, that means without any natural development, but through the strategy of big leaps.

As a result, settlements full of unemployed people are beeing created, who spend most of their time with playing pool, hanging around and drinking. Over night they gave up their lives and never learned anything apart from herding animals.

They have no handicraft education and their Chinese is not very good. Many of them cannot even read or write. That means they have almost no chance to find a new work. The Chinese government plans some vocational trainings for this people, but the offer is still very poor and mostly only for the youngest ones.

The aim of this education project is to give at least to some of this resettled nomads a chance to learn a new handicraft skill to be able to start their own small business or get employed somewhere else. It shall help them to become independent from the uncertain governmental rent.

This educational project shall start in the Zeku county, Qinghai Province, which is described as one of the poorest regions of the whole China.

For example we have a group of urbanised nomads, who want to learn how to build houses and found a small company. What they need is a teacher. A suitable teacher will be paid from the money collected through this project.

The condition the members of this programm will have to fulfill is to educate at least one student for free after they managed to build up their onw business. This way the project shall become independent from outside help in a long term period.

Within this project technics to build houses, weave carpets, make clothes, carve stones, etc. shall be taught. Also IT courses for intermediate students can be offered. The courses will be prepared according to local requirement.

With this project we ask you to help these Tibetan nomads to find their own way of life under the new conditions. Help them to be able to integrate into the new, quickly changing and developing Chinese society. The old tradition of the nomads will sooner or later vanish. But the people shall get a chance to live life with equal rights in the changing society and be able to influence the future of their own land.

This project is a activity of the Potala Society in Prague, Czech republic.

In case you are interested to assist this project, please consult the homepage of Potala www.potala.cz or contact jptackova@gmail.com.