ARCHIVES OF PAST PROJECT REPORTS AND ARTICLES


Activities In America:
CULTURAL EXCHANGE PROGRAM

The Mayul School (also called the Hungkar Dorje Multi-Disciplinary Technical School) is a new vocational school for Tibetans in Gande County, Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, China. The school is located in one of the poorest regions of one of China’s least developed provinces.  Historically, Golog was part of the Amdo region of Tibet, and 90% of the population of this region is Tibetan. Building of the school began in April 2008 and it is nearly complete. The facilities, which include dorms, a cafeteria, classrooms, library, and an administration building, will eventually serve 600 students.  Approximately 200 students, boys and girls ages 10-21, studied at the school in the fall semester 2009, and more are expected to enter in spring 2010.

The Tibetan population of China is historically underserved in terms of education. Rates of high school graduation remain in the single digits (2% according to one 2002 report) and the public education that is available demands Mandarin Chinese as the language of instruction, meaning that many educated Tibetans are unable to read their own language.  Recent Chinese government policy directed toward the Tibetan nomadic population in Qinghai and elsewhere has made the need for educational training more acute. To preserve the fragile rangeland, which is undergoing rapid desertification due to decades of failed agricultural policy, the Chinese government is forcing the settlement of Tibetan nomadic populations.  This has meant the loss of the nomads’ traditional livelihoods of raising herd animals and threatens the destruction of their culture.

The Mayul School aims to sustain Tibetan culture and provide vocational training for the local nomadic population within and beyond Qinghai. The students study math, Tibetan language and literature, Chinese language, and English.  There are plans to develop training programs in computer use as well as traditional Tibetan arts including thangka painting, weaving, and Tibetan medicine.   

With a Nagwang Choephel Fellowship, faculty and graduate students from the Center for East Asian Studies from the University of Kansas (KU) are assisting the Mayul School in developing a curriculum in the arts as vocational training, particularly by supporting instruction in thangka painting.  They traveled to the school for a month in the summer of 2009, where they taught English daily and met with Mayul School faculty regularly to discuss pedagogy and long range planning.  The same group plans to return to Golog in the summer of 2010.  In fall semester 2010, five students from the Mayul School will study at KU’s Applied English Center.  After their studies are complete, they will return to Golog to become instructors at the Mayul School.  More information about the University of Kansas’s involvement can be found on the project website: http://mayulschool.wordpress.com

Eric C. Rath, University of Kansas


2009 PROGRESS REPORT: PROVIDING SKILLS, INCREASING SELF RELIANCE (MAYUL SCHOOL)

While construction continues and is expected to be completed by next summer, the first group of 100 students comprised of young men and women coming from all over Tibet have begun classes in Tibetan, Chinese language and wood carving.  With an awareness of gender equality our first students are comprised of a nomadic, poor, and often parentless group of 14 to 21 year olds who have had little or no opportunity for education prior to our school's opening. They are now enthusiastically enjoying their first opportunity to receive a practical education, which will help prepare them, their families and communities for economic self reliance.

Courses are limited during the building process, and there are only 5 teachers out of an eventual 30 instructors. Our aim is to be at the full capacity of 600 students who have completed 9 years of compulsory education, and any youths without formal education but who have an earnest desire to study, and to train them systematically. This is expected sometime after next summer’s construction comes to an end.

The Hungkar Dorje School will keep costs down to about $80.00 per month for each student in the 3 year program. This includes all costs for boarding, food, health care, educational materials, and teacher’s salaries. 

Funds for the school’s operations will come from private donations, a modest tuition, and the sale of handicrafts by artisans affiliated with the school.  For families who cannot share in the cost of education there will be no fee. Additionally, much of these costs will be augmented by the ongoing sale of medicinal and culinary herbs as well as by other businesses which are planned for development.


PRESERVATION OF LITERARY TREASURES

To bring to light and protect unique literary treasures from Tibet's remarkable "terma tradition", The BVF has joined forces with The Blazing Wisdom Institute and The Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center in an effort to collect and archive the writings of 19th and 20th century Masters from the Golog Region of Tibet.

These recent masters, and their writings, are virtually unknown to the outside world, as they were never brought out into The Tibetan Diaspora. In the first stage of this project, 18 volumes of the collected "Mind Treasures" and a biography of the recently passed Master, HH Orgyen Kusum Lingpa, have been archived electronically, and a bibliographical index has been prepared.

Under the direction of Tulku Sherab Dorje, many other writings of Orgyen Kusum Lingpa are being gathered to add to this collection.  Next, the writings of other Regional "Treasure Revealer's" like Urag Terton and others will be similarly collected and preserved.

The texts to be collected include personal handwritten annotated copies of meditation instruction manuals that are extremely precious, and other rare finds which will be of great benefit to all who find value in Tibetan Culture.


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