BENEFITING: KILUNG FOUNDATION
The New York Times recently reported on the Chinese-mandated resettlement plan in Tibet. The story describes how nomads, encouraged to sell their animals for quick money and move into Chinese settlements, are losing their sustainable, nomadic lifestyle, their cultural and family ties, and the livelihood that has supported their way of life for millennia. Kilung Rinpoche has been watching these developments closely. While in Dzachuka last year, he had serious discussions with elders and young people about ideas for projects that could become viable means of support and allow them to stay connected to their culture, region and families. A yogurt collective rose to the top as a business fulfilling all the criteria for success. The enterprise began this summer with seed money from the USA. Eleven nomadic families have created a collective with a herd of 50 yaks, milking and making yogurt daily. The yogurt is sold in Shershul town and the surrounding area, proceeds are shared with the families and workers involved, and income is reinvested to grow the business. Already the yogurt is selling out in two hours, and pre-orders are being made. The project is encouraged and supported by local Chinese officials. Kilung Foundation is now seeking donations to fully launch this project with the expectation that once established, it will be self-sustaining. Funds will support start-up costs which include a small delivery truck, refrigerator and stove, storage containers, marketing, book-keeping and salaries. We invite you to become a founding sponsor of this effort. The Yogurt Project not only contributes to the survival of these eleven nomadic families, their culture and lifestyle, but it serves as a successful model for how a local initiative can provide modern livelihood within the roots of an ancient culture.