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Why education is paramount ROKPA Christmas presents No.3 / December 2012 / Volume 32

© Lea Wyler

Lea Wyler Dear ROKPA friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Christmas time is not an easy time for me. Returning from a barren landscape marked by poverty and misery, where people live without any luxury, I don’t feel at home in lavishly illuminated, rich and consumer Zurich during the first few days. I think of my „family“, of my, of our children in Tibet and Nepal. Just a few days ago they opened my heart through stories of their misery or thanked me with a smile for ROKPA’s help. I will miss them in the coming days. But I will also remember Dr. Akong Tulku Rinpoche, with whom I have had the fortune to again visit Tibet, as we have been doing for 20 years. He, the embodiment of the real Christmas message, keeps reminding me of the true values in life.


At least twice a year I travel to the places where your donations

Lea Wyler

are used sensibly. I have full confidence and trust in our local employees. After all, they have been educated by us. They ensure that your donations are used sensibly, purposefully and

Tibet Why education is paramount

in a sustainable manner. We monitor this very carefully as it is


our obligation towards our donors. And I assure you: we continue

ROKPA schools in Tibet

to be successful. The 9106 children and adolescents who can

Confidence into the future –

presently attend a school thanks to ROKPA are the true evidence of our success. Education is the most important goal for ROKPA. For the children and adolescents, education means a future where they will be self-reliant. But education is neither a one-time nor

despite misfortune Women's Workshop Are you considering a legacy? ROKPA CHRISTMAS

years and has to be financed anew every year. With an average

Gift Cards / Calendars / DVD

of 10’000 children and adolescents in Tibet, this amounts to


And now, as every year, I would like to ask you a favour. When you buy presents for Christmas, please remember to make a donation. It's a gift that you never have to exchange. A donation of 70 Swiss Francs enables a child to go to school for a term. A donation of 80 Swiss Francs buys a child school supplies for

7 8–9 9


Impressum Image editors: Corinna Biasiutti / Thomas Stettler All photographs and texts: © ROKPA INTERNATIONAL

We wish you a merry Christmas and a prosperous,

Print run: 8.500 copies

healthy New Year. Thank you very much for your donation.

Printed on FSC paper

Lea Wyler, founder and Vice-president


ROKPA KID / commitment / staff 11

a year. Every donation helps.



ROKPA's Children's Home and

a short term investment. A sustainable education lasts many

1,5 million Francs per year.


ROKPA INTERNATIONAL has been ZEWO certified since 2004.


© Lea Wyler

© Lea Wyler

Education is a chance for a better future

Over 10 years ago when travelling in Tibet Lea Wyler told us „I take a special

We pay for the education of children

delight in visiting schools. It is a joy to observe the children thriving and enlarging

and adolescents. They are mostly orphans

and deepening their knowledge from year to year.“

from poor chircumstances. They would

Even today we are inspired in our work by the long lasting effect of our relief

never be able to afford an education.

organisation despite the rather difficult environment.

For a half-orphan we pay a part of the education. So, as many children as

Ten years ago hundreds of pupils visited primary schools and College thanks to ROKPA. By now the state is taking over paying for education up to the ninth form. So, we decided to help former pupils and pupils who prove that they come from very poor homes. We pay for their education from the tenth form up to the completion of university or College. Without a very good education life is very hard indeed for the young in Tibet or Nepal. In 2012 9'106 pupils were able to visit schools thanks to ROKPA. We are proud of it. But the means needed for a continuous education have to be provided for by us for more than fifteen years as it takes fifteen years for a child to grow into an adult. We pay school fees, school supplies, transportation and food, all of it amounts to over

possible can benefit from ROKPA's help. For us it is important that girls are educated as they will teach their children in turn. Education means self-reliance and independance. To hold a job and improve ones situation in life will be made easier The pupils and their families will not depend on help from the outside.  

1.5 millions of Swiss franks every year in Tibet only. And thanks to your donations we always succeeded up to now.


© Lea Wyler


Four examples of ROKPA school projects in Tibet 

The Choepdrak Orphans’ School

The Choepdrak Orphans’ School has an excellent reputation throughout the region. Many Tibetan families want to send their children there, so there is always a waiting list. ROKPA supports 120 of the 198 children at the school. Of these, twelve are orphans, and ninety have only one parent. Many come from extremely poor families. They are aged between seven and thirteen. There are seventeen teachers, and the children have lessons in Tibetan, Chinese, mathematics, ethics and Tibetan dance. We have known the headteacher for many years and have a close working relationship with him. Compared with the region as a whole, the results achieved by the Choepdrak Orphans’ school are amazing. It received an award © Lea Wyler

© Lea Wyler

as the second best-performing school in the district. 95% of the pupils continue their studies elsewhere when they leave.

Sherab Dechen attends the Orphans’


Eastern Tibet (PRC), Qinghai


Eight-year old Sherab Dechen is in his

Local partner:

The local education authority

second year at the school. He comes from

Project start: 2000

a village called Kalong, which is three


CHF 11,000 per year

hours away by car. Both his parents died


120 children (including some

when he was very little. He stays with his

orphans) from poor families

(almost 50% girls)


grandparents during the school holidays. Only one of his three brothers and sisters goes to school. Sherab really likes the school. After just a short time to settle in, he has made a lot of friends. He loves the food, too, which he tells us is mainly rice, potatoes and noodles with occasional meat dishes. He wants to be a teacher when he grows up.


© Lea Wyler

Podrak Middle High School

This school was built in 1982 and was visited in 1984 by the tenth Panchen Lama. ROKPA has been supporting pupils at the school since 2003. Today, there are 136 teachers and around 900 pupils. The school is currently expanding. A laboratory is being constructed in a new building. Lessons make frequent use of the Internet and multi-media resources. In 2004, the school bought computers for the teaching staff. They soon realised that there was nothing on the Internet about the Tibetan language and culture, so they decided to create their own website. A five-strong team is now responsible for day-to-day maintenance of the site. Everything is taught via the Internet, and Tibetan pupils are able to prepare for exams in their own language. This is very unusual in the area and represents a big step forward. The programme, which prepares pupils for their exams, has been part-funded by ROKPA for years.


Eastern Tibet (PRC),

Gansu Province

Local partner:

Gansu Province Education


Project start: 2003 Budget:

CHF 30,900 per year


80 pupils (m/f)


Eastern Tibet (PRC),

Mochi County Tibetan Middle School

ROKPA supports 80 pupils and four teachers at Mochi County Tibetan Middle School. Of these, six are orphans, seven have only one parent, and the rest are from nomadic families who had to sell their possessions and move to the city in a state of complete poverty. The pupils are aged between 12 and 16. © Lea Wyler

They spend three years at the school. 38 of the pupils funded by ROKPA to date will leave the school this year. Most will continue their studies elsewhere, although some will start work in restaurants and hotels. There are 54 teachers. Lessons include languages (Tibetan, Chinese and English), mathematics, chemistry, IT and sport. 47 members of the teaching staff speak Tibetan. The school has 22 classrooms and 200 dormitories, each of which sleeps eight pupils on average.

Qinghai Province

Local partner:

Government, Education Authority

and Mochi Finance Department

Project start:

2003-2009; funding

recommenced in 2012


CHF 40,500 per year


80 pupils (m/f), 4 teachers



Luchu Orphanage and Primary School

Even by Tibetan standards, the District of Luchu is inhospitable, especially in winter when temperatures here at an altitude of 3,100 metres can plunge to minus 40 degrees. Much of the meagre income of those who live here has to be spent on heating, and those who have warm clothes and enough to eat © Lea Wyler

count themselves lucky. Hunger and sickness are sadly not rare and in many cases fatal. In this sparsely populated area, it is difficult to reach a doctor or a medical centre. Most people cannot afford to do so in any case. Those at the bottom of the social ladder cannot afford to send their children to school, thus depriving them of any chance they may have had to improve their lives. The situation for orphans is even worse. They are moved around between other members of their wider family and often end up sooner or later on the street. ROKPA has been helping to alleviate suffering here for years. Thanks to our help, 160 children can now attend the school in Luchu. Of these, 93 are girls. The majority are from extremely poor nomadic families. 28 of the children have lost one parent,


Eastern Tibet (PRC),

Gansu Province Luchu District

Local partner:

Luchu Education Department,

Luchu Primary School for

Tibetan children

Project start: 2001 Budget:

CHF 35,200


160 children, including 93 girls

and 25 have lost both. The government began to provide support a few years ago, but not enough. ROKPA helps the very poorest by paying for their lessons, school equipment, transport, food, accommodation at the orphanage and medical costs.

Tsering Drolma and Drogar Tar attend Luchu School Eleven-year old Tsering Drolma has

Drogar Tar has lost both his

been attending the school for the

parents. He has no memories of

last five years with ROKPA’s help.

them and does not even know what

Her grandfather, who lives an hour

happened to them. ROKPA has

from Luchu by bus, brought her

been funding his education at Luchu

here after her parents died. Her

School for four years. Occasionally,

favourite subjects are IT, English

at the weekend, he visits and helps

and Tibetan. She is one of the brightest pupils in her class

his grandmother, who as a farmer has to survive on the

and has lots of friends at the school. When she grows up,

equivalent of 150 Swiss francs a year. Like Tsering Dolma,

she wants to work as a Tibetan doctor in her own village.

Drogar Tar wants to help sick people in his home district

© Barbara Pfeiffer

when he is older.



Confidence in the future despite disaster: Chenan Drolma and Nyma Chitri "We dream all the time of having our own clinic in the future. Then we will be independent and be able to make our own decisions. Tibetan medicine has many advantages over Western medicine," says the 19-year-old, totally convinced. "Because it is made from natural ingredients, it has no harmful side effects and makes the body stronger in the long term." And her younger sister adds: Š Lea Wyler

"I would also like to heal diseases such as

Sisters Chenan Drolma, 19, and Nyma

thousands of people under them, inclu-

Chitri, 17, lost not only their parents but

ding Chenan Drolma and Nyma Chitri's

all their relatives in the earthquake in

parents, as well as their grandparents,

their home town of Yushu. The disaster

uncles, aunts and cousins.

brought them even closer.

Only the two of them were left. "When we

"Even when we were little children,

saw that there weren't enough doctors

we wanted to become doctors one day.

to help the people after the disaster,

But then we read in a book that you have

we decided that, after middle school in

to study extremely hard and diligently to

Dartsendo, we would go to the College for

be a doctor, because a patient could die

Tibetan Medicine," says Chenan Drolma,

if we made a mistake. We were discou-

happily taking over the role of speaker.

raged by that. We found the responsibility

Sympathetic people from the area who

too great," says Chenan Drolma, the

heard about the sad lot of these sisters

eldest of the sisters (on the right in the

collected for the two orphans, and

picture) earnestly.

they also received some money from the

But then the catastrophe struck, which

government. So, not only have they

would change the lives of them both within minutes. It was the 14th April 2010. The two sisters were sitting in the classroom in the middle school in Yushu when the earthquake struck and destroyed nearly all the town's houses, which buried

AIDS and help to stop so many people from just dying." These two girls are looking to the future. Their misfortune has made them grow up. They have assumed responsibility for each other and want to help others.

To fulfil their dream of education, each of them needs CHF 1,500 per year initially, then CHF 5,000 from 2014. ROKPA wants to help them (and many others who should be supported financially for their studies). Can we count on you? Or do you know someone who might like to give Chenan Drolma and Nyma Chitri real help?

enrolled at college last year, but they have also made a payment for the preparatory course for the university entrance examination, which will begin in 2014 when they have finished college. Report by Barbara Pfeiffer



Lea Wyler takes in each child personally For the first time in their lives, the children can have warm showers and eat hot meals three times a day in the children's home. Here, life is like an extended family, the big ones look after the small ones. For the first time in their lives they are respected and receive not only clean clothes but also medical care and a good school education. Lea Wyler tells the children again and again that each one of them is unique and special. In this way they learn to respect themselves and can pass on their new, positive attitude to others.

© Fabienne Bühler

As long as it has existed, the sustainability of ROKPA's children's home is impressive. Everyone who has grown up in the home and left it as a valuable member of society stands on his or her own feet and leads an independent life. 55 children currently live in the children's

Three hot meals every day! Since its foundation in 1980, ROKPA has focussed on making it possible for needy and orphaned children to have a dignified existence by giving them schooling, medical care and accommodation. In the early years, the children were, where financially possible, accommodated in boarding schools. Since 1996 the children have been accommodated in ROKPA's own children's home. This year there are 55 children who can live here. Here the

Lea Wyler has always taken in each

home. Their accommodation costs 178

of these children and cared for them

francs per month, and the annual budget

personally. They meet in the soup

of the children's home is 132,000 francs.

kitchen, which provides hot meals twice

Each individual franc is invested in the

a day for 400 people during the winter

best way here: in a directly effective and

months, or during Lea's nightly walks

sustainable manner.

through the darkest corners of Kathmandu. Here she finds children who huddle up to flea-ridden street dogs or sleep in threes in cardboard boxes in order to get a little warmth. In the blink of an eye the child gets a new family and Lea gets another child, which is always a blessing for her.

children can find a home, family and a chance for a better future. Most of them they are adults.


© Fabienne Bühler

do not leave the children's home until

Women and children left behind…

leaves the woman and children behind.

ture useful products that are then sold in

If the woman is no longer able to have the

the local shop, but also in our headquar-

family’s basic needs met mother and

ters in Zurich and other places. This way,

children end up on the street. ROKPA

they are not only trained in a useful craft

tries to prevent this situation and offers

to become more independent, they also

vocational training for these mothers.

make some money to provide food and

structure of our target cultures: Especially

In the women’s workshop the mothers

shelter for their families. Their children’s

in Nepal the provider of the family often

learn how to design, sew and manufac-

Ever since ROKPA took up its work over 30 years ago, the organization has focused primarily on women and children. The reason for this is rooted in the social

education is paid for as well. ROKPA also grants startup money. The women turn this initial support into a source of income, for example, a tearoom, a tailor shop, or they sell food from a sales booth to the numerous pedestrians. Through ROKPA these women learn to take matters into their own hands and to no longer depend on others. Instead of the former beggar’s mentality they pass on to their children a newly found sense of independence. This is an invisible but tangible and sustainable advantage created by our work. The success is significant. Your donations are actually being used for a meaningful purpose!

© Marius Hamann

And they continue to do so.

Are you considering a legacy? Give a future! For ROKPA, this legacy is a great

However, a general purpose can be

“The handling of a legacy should occur

and meaningful gesture with which you

defined but does not have to be. This

carefully and in advance, without any

“provide children and mothers with

definition can be geographical (Tibet,

pressure. For clarification of the legal and

a future!”

Nepal) or by topic (nutrition, education,

financial situation, seek the advice of an

Legacy is defined as follows: A legacy is

culture, health care, alternative medicine/

expert, such as a trustee or notary.

a bequest by a testator as documented in

medicinal plants, women and children).

Mention the person who is to enforce your

a testament or testamentary contract.

When drafting a legacy it is always useful

will in your testament. Through your

ROKPA can be appointed as legal heir (as

to seek the advice of a trustee.

an institution) so that you can bequeath

The ZEWO foundation (ROKPA has been

the aid organization money.

ZEWO-certified since 2004. The certifi-

Since legacies are usually paid off only

cate indicates transparent accounting

years after the testament or testamentary contract is written, the nomination of a specific current project of ROKPA does

practice and a pre-defined use of donations) advises as follows (for more information visit

devise you ensure that your legacy is handled within the legal framework and according to your wishes.”

Should you be interested in bequeathing ROKPA, we will gladly advise you via phone or in person

not make much sense. 9

ROKPA switzerland

ROKPA Christmas Here’s how it works:

ROKPA gift cards

Order via email

You make a donation on behalf of your loved ones,

your company, your co-workers…

ROKPA has designed beautiful gift cards you can use to confirm that, instead of a

or phone

present, you have made a donation to ROKPA on a third person’s behalf. We can

+41 44 262 68 88

send these cards to the donor directly or we can send it to you so can forward it to

the addressee yourself.

Choose the correct gift card

number, z.B. 1, 2, 5 oder 10

Usually the gift card as well as the payment slip is sent to your address after a

maximum of five business days. If you prefer we’d be happy to mail the card to the

Select the donation amount,

for example CHF 50.– or CHF 500.–

official donor directly.

Name the official donor

First name, name, address, zip code

Gift card # 1:

Gift card # 2:

Your donation helps to educate

Your donation helps lift gifted students

orphans and street kids.

out of poverty.

Provide your

First name, name, address, zip code, e-mail 

Or visit to make a donation online. Here, you can choose and download Gift card # 5:

Gift card # 10:

You’re allaying the

You’re helping us to

hunger of the poorest

provide start-up money

in Kathmandu by

for outcast mothers.

a digital gift card which you can send to a list of addresses (instead of company gifts).

supporting our soup kitchen.

DVD “Andreas Vollenweider & the ROKPA Kids”

ROKPA Calendar 2013

Due to the survey that was published in A few ROKPA calendars with pictures of children from Tibet

our last edition of ROKPA Times there

and Nepal are still available.

haven’t been enough orders to produce the DVD feasibly. Approximately 50


orders are still needed to start production.

Helfen, wo Hilfe gebraucht wird. Nachhaltig, seit über 30 Jahren. Tibetisch

es Spri chw

ort: „Was für die ist für das He Welt da s Wasse rz die Freun r dschaft ist, .“

The DVD costs CHF 25.00 without

The calendar costs

shipping. Unfortunately, delivery before

CHF 20.00 without

Christmas won’t be possible.

shipping. If you order right

Order anyway!

now we can still deliver

Kalender 2013

before Christmas.

© Texte in diesem Kalender: Gesammelt und ins Englische Tibetische Sprichwörter. Deutscher Taschenb und aus dem Übersetzt von Tibetischen Lhamo Pemba. uch übersetzt von Mit einer Transliter Verlag. Rainer Bull. ation herausgeg eben Mont ag tag




8 Viele Kinder und Jugendlic he – aktuell dank ROKPA nahezu 10’000 9 in Tibet und – erhalten in 14 Nepal eine Ausbildun jedem einzelnen 55 Kinder leben g. Jahr im ROKPA 15

Children’s Home geratenen Müttern in Kathmand eine Berufsaus u. In der Werkstatt bildung und Wir haben mit bieten wir in 16 bereiten sie Ihrem Geld viel Not 21 auf ein Leben Gutes tun können mehr tun. In ohne Abhängigk Ihrem Sinn! und werden eiten vor. mit weiteren 22 Spenden noch viel So

können Sie spenden: 28 Credit Suisse: IBAN CH73 0483 5045 5090 1100 Postfinance: 1, Konto 455090-11 29 IBAN CH54 0900 0000 -1, Clearing 8001 9029 Nummer 4835 5, Konto CHF 80-19029-5

och erstag Freita



Sonntag 6 | Heilig


ROKPA 20 an 488





24 30


5 11

17 Beispiel für CHF 20.–:

In der Schweiz sind Spenden zugunsten von ROKPA steuerbefreit . Zudem ROKPA seit 31ZEWO-zertif ist 2004 iziert.

26 27




e drei König


Order via email at or via phone



ROKPA INTERNA TIONAL | Böcklinstrasse 27 | 8032 | www.rokp Zürich | Schweiz | Telefon +41 44 262 68 88 | Fax +41 44 26268 89 |




SMS-Spende 10 CHF 99.– bis ROKPA XX (Betrag, nur Zahl) an Zielnummer 488.

+41 44 2626888.

© Michael Marchant

Mittw hr

Lea Wyler

1 | Neuja

© Bild:


Wir brauchen Ihre Hilfe!


I am a child of the ROKPA family... “Before I was accepted to the ROKPA Children’s Home

children who wanted to talk to me. I learned manners

I had been living on the streets of Kathmandu.

and how to be disciplined. And I was able to go

The constant hunger was the worst for me. There were

to school, which is so important for my future. I have

always fights over food and the older children took it

many dreams. For instance, I want to have my own

away from the younger ones. When I came to the

camera one day, so I can be a professional photo-

ROKPA Children’s Home, I was surprised at all the

grapher.” Sanjay

I‘ve made a commitment to ROKPA… “The trips to Tibet are always an eye-opener for me.

spected by the local population. ROKPA supports

Nothing here is as it is at home. Accommodation at

many schools all over Tibet, which offer a mix of

the Chopdrak school for orphans is very humble but

traditional and modern education. Our goal is to

there is always a waiting list for students. This shows

educate more and more children and teenagers at our

me that the education at this school is highly re-

schools for an ever more demanding job market.” Pim Willems, ROKPA in Holland

I work for ROKPA... "As well as being mother to two grown-up sons,

Tens of thousands of images, especially of Lea Wyler,

I have worked for many years together with my

have accumulated over the years. It was necessary

husband (photographer) in our own business. Among

to develop a suitable storage system and to install the

other things, I have built up an extensive digital image

necessary software for the database. Thanks to

archive with an online database. When I found out

the archive, the images are accessible to the ROKPA

that ROKPA were looking for an image archivist,

team in Zurich and to all 20 field offices around

I immediately felt spoken to. The job fulfils my wish

the world. The images help to show ROKPA in the

for something socially responsible to do in my spare

best light and to get the donations which are needed

time, to which I can bring my expertise. After

so urgently."

Corinna Biasiutti

travelling through Nepal and making many different contacts, I also feel very connected to the people of this barren mountain land.

Now ROKPA has an App, too For the users of an iPad, now the

You can download the ROKPA app from

ROKPA Times can be read on it, too.

the Apple store for free.

From January 2013 onwards the so called

The App has been programmed for free by

back issues (starting from 2012) and the annual report – in English, too – can be accessed via App. The archive of the ROKPA App will be continuousely expanded. By the way, the App is beingl be used for the documentation of the various activities of ROKPA by Lea Wyler, too,

the company NTH in Biel for ROKPA. By the way: We are interested in presenting information for our donors via internet. We are grateful if you use your mail for communication, as we can cut down on expenses. If you choose to do so, please let us know your mail address by mailing to

when travelling. 11


We need your help!

Helping where help is needed: sustainably, for over 30 years.

tion SMS dona 9.– HF 9 of up to C

Every single year, many children and youths in Tibet and Nepal – currently

X ROKPA X nly) to o rs e b m u n (amount, 88. 4

almost 10,000 – receive an education thanks to ROKPA. 55 children live in the ROKPA Children’s Home in Kathmandu. In the Workshop

of r donation Example fo 0.–: 2 CHF to 488 Rokpa 20

we offer vocational training to mothers in need: we prepare them for a life of independence, without having to rely on others. We have already achieved a lot with your money and with more donations we will be able to achieve even more. On your behalf! You can make a donation to this account: Credit Suisse: IBAN CH73 0483 5045 5090 1100 1, account 455090-11-1

In Switzerland, donations to ROKPA are exempt from tax. ROKPA has been ZEWO certified since 2004.

Clearing Nummer 4835 Postfinance: IBAN CH54 0900 0000 8001 9029 5, account CHF 80-19029-5



Phone +41 44 262 68 88

| |

Böcklinstrasse 27


8032 Zurich

Fax +41 44 26268 89


| |


ROKPA TIMES December 2012  

Our magazine, the "ROKPA Times", appears several times per year and reports in detail on current and planned ROKPA projects in Tibet, Nepal,...