ASIA – The Results of 30 Years

Andrea Dell’Angelo

Thank you very much for inviting ASIA here. I would like to present you a short report about the results achieved in these 30 years of work.

Very briefly, ASIA was founded in 1988 by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu with the mission to preserve the cultural identity and the spiritual heritage of the peoples of the Himalayan area, with particular attention to Tibet, and to improve the economic, social and health conditions of the local peoples.

We started to work in the Tibetan areas of China, in India and in Nepal, after the tsunami in Sri Lanka and since 2016 in Myanmar and in Mongolia.

This slide is an overview of the work done in the different sectors of intervention.

The first graph shows the projects realized in each sector of intervention. The core ones are Education and Safeguarding of the cultural heritage, with the building and renovation of schools in remote areas, the training of teachersin didactic methods, information technology, English, the refurbishment of the Colleges of Buddhist Practice and Study, the restoration of ancient paintings and monuments of historical value and the publication of ancient Buddhist texts.

Then there is Emergency, with the providing of first aid in case of natural disasters and realizing post-crisis projects aimed at rebuilding schools and other facilities and to re-create the social and economic structure of the community.

With the Health and Water Sanitation projects wetrain local health practitioners in basic health care, maternal/child care and health and hygiene education, we build hospitals and clinics, support traditional medicine and provide access to safe and clean drinking water.

In Training and Microenterprise are included all the projects to implement microenterprise activities in traditional production areas, promoting in particular the role of women in these initiatives.

Public Awareness refers to all those activities carried out in Europe that have the objective to raise awareness on the values held by Tibetan culture, such as non-violence, interdependence and compassion, and to spread the knowledge of the Tibetan cultural heritage.

With the work in the Environmental protection we incentive the use of eco-friendly agricultural techniques and of local plant varieties, safeguard nomadism on the Himalayan highlands and promote eco-friendly architectural solutions

Concerning the number of beneficiaries, as you can see on the graph, in all these years we directly reached almost 1.400.000 people and, considering their families and the ones close to them our projects touched almost 7 million people, with the main number in the Emergency sector.

On the second graph, you can see the countries where we are working. Tibet represent the focal area of our intervention, even if this is a very tricky period and here we are facing unbelievable difficulties.

Nepal is getting more and more important in our strategy, both for the support to the Tibetan people and culture and to the Nepalese people, in particular with projects of agriculture, fight against climate change and environmental protection. We have been involved in Sri Lanka since the tsunami in 2005, and stayed there until 2016 with post emergency and development projects.

Generally, as we told before, the big numbers are in emergency. In case of natural disaster, we try to benefit as many people possible, distributing them first need items. We have been carrying out relief interventions after tsunami in Sri Lanka, the earthquake in China in 2008, in Yushu prefecture in 2010, in Nepal in 2015. We have been helping Mongolian people affected by the drought, Tibetan nomads hit by the snow storms, Chinese people damaged by the flood in Sichuan.

The next area is Long Distance sponsorship. This program started to guarantee the right of children to an education and to their own cultural identity, the opportunity for monks to pursue their studies and practice of spiritual teachings, and the possibility for elderly Tibetan refugees to live with dignity in rest homes. In order to give the chance to get a higher and university education for the most promising students, we also started a Study Grants program.

From the beginning are 5,600 the beneficiaries of the Long Distance Sponsorships in Tibet, India and Nepal, and since last year we started also to support the Nepali children in the remote areas hit by the earthquake.

Concerning the financial resources, this last graph refers to the years 2011 – 2016 and tells which are our main financial sources and their usage.

There is still so much to tell, but we are running out of time and now I will give the floor to Urara Taoka, member of our Major Donor’s Club. She came with us to Nepal in December and participated to the inauguration of the four schools that we rebuilt after the destruction of the earthquake in a very remote area of Nepal called Rasuwa, These schools are named in the memory of our President, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. Thank you for your attention.

Urara Taoka, member of ASIA Major Donor’s Club

“It was very precious to visit the school in Nepal. I didn’t know that our Rinpoche was helping not only Tibetans, but all the people who live in the Himalayan region, especially the most unfortunate people. It was a very remote region and it was a long and difficult journey by car, so I could see how ASIA is really trying to reach remote areas. I can imagine how difficult it was to transport emergency supplies and construction materials to these areas. I was very impressed that ASIA is not only building the schools but they are checking all the details very well after the school is built so that the people can really use the facility. ASIA also knows how to support the teachers, creates job opportunities for the families of the students, for example promoting agro-forestry in Nepal, and thinking about how to support the whole community. The local project managers are working very hard day and night. The people working there are very capable people. When I visited the schools, I saw the children’s happy smiles. Here not only children are happy, but all the village people since these schools have a function as shelters for the next natural disaster, they are the only concrete buildings in this area.

I wanted to share my small experience and it was so great to see our Master’s compassion manifested in a concrete action. Thank you very much.”

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