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Sep 03
Mandala Projects
Gesar Fund Supports Surmang Area

Photo courtesy of Surmang Khenpo

The Gesar Fund collaborates with the Konchok Foundation to support education and health projects in the Surmang area. This is a translation of a report, reviewing the Gesar Fund’s activities in 2010-11, originally posted to the Gesar Fund website in Dutch.

by Maarten Regtien

Help for the Earthquake
Over the last months, money has mainly been collected to help the victims of the earthquake in the province of Yushu. Thanks to the gifts we received we currently are buying tsampa, rice and cereals in Xining worth of 9000 euro. For this amount of food we’ll rent a huge truck with which we will distribute in various villages in the disaster area. Also in Xining we received various bags with (children’s) clothing and shoes, sent by the Dutch Tibet Fonds Dolma. Thanks! The contents are largely distributed amongst the poorest of families in the struck villages where we are active.

Fighting Hepatitis
Vaccination against hepatitis B consists of three vaccinations. The second vaccination round has been carried out between the 23rd and 35th of December by the Infection Hospital we are affiliated with. The gifts we received for this project make it possible to vaccinate without charge. The Gesar Fund ambulance drove to the villages where we also did the first round of vaccinations and proved itself worthy. Some people though could not be reached at the same spot. They were told to get the second vaccination themselves at a different location. And that the Gesar Fund will repay the costs made. In May we will carry out the third and last vaccination cycle.

The testing of people on Hepatitis B is, due to logistic reasons, limited to pregnent women and people who themselves report to the Hospital entrance. Doctors still are limited available, as many of them work in the area where the earthquake took place. This also is the reason our Fighting TB project cannot be resumed yet.

The Education Project
Since several years the Gesar Fund supports an education project in Surmang. Last fall a elementary school is opened in the newly build Shedra of the Surmang Dutsi Til monastery, of which Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche was the abbot. The school appears to fulfill a great need. Instead of the expected 100 children, now 350 children are registered and still more are coming. Each year they get 10 months, 7 days a week lessons in Tibetan reading and writing, Chinese, math and dharma. 14 monks teach the children aged 5 until l5. Due to the large amount of children receiving education now also old buildings in the surroundings are used.

This project is financed by the Konchok Foundation in cooperation with the Gesar Fund. Thank to your donations the Gesar Fund could give an important stimulant to this project in Surmang by spending $15000 on chairs and tables for the children (see photo). But more is needed. The parents in this very poor region in Tibet do not have money to support the school. Children eat two meals daily, prepared by local women. The costs for the meals, $1 per child per day, are the main costs for the education project, and as the amount of children is so large, the expected costs have been tripled by reality.

Even with the generous support of the Gesar Fund, the Konchok Foundation needs more support in order to run the children’s program for the coming year. Please consider donating just $30 a month (or $1 a day) to cover the cost of education and food for a child studying at Surmang’s education project for lay children. Visit the Konchok Foundation website to learn more or to make a donation.

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