In Caravan Communities, we tell you a little about Khampa Caravan’s social engagement, in partnership with the communities in which we serve. Caravan Communities is an integral part of our business practice, reflecting both our core values and expertise.
Under this roof, we support economic, educational, cultural, and humanitarian efforts and organisations. Where appropriate, Khampa Caravan’s multi-lingual staff members also act as facilitators for NGOs working in our area.
We strive to integrate our community engagement into our business processes. While we support clients who are interested in participating in some of these endeavours, we take care not to impose any obligations on them. Our social engagement is private in nature and remains entirely separate from Khampa Caravan's pricing.
Trinyi Eco-lodge & Community Center
Located at the foot of Gyalthang's Shika range, the Trinyi project was established in October 2001 by the villagers of Trinyi , with support and funding from WWF China, and facilitation by Khampa Caravan.
Trinyi eco-lodge and community center
The eco-lodge and community center is inspired by what Tibetans traditionally called a "Chikhang&rdquo" or "common house", an institution that disappeared during the various rural movements in China, particularly the Cultural Revolution. The traditional adobe-style architecture of the community center is typical of this part of Kham.
Today, the Trinyi Eco-lodge serves as a model in reviving the grassroots pillars that used to bind communities together, while offering a venue to deal with the new pressures of change and tourist activity in the region. On the first floor are the living and dining area where the villagers serve visitors local specialties and stage cultural performances. The second floor consists of three bedrooms with five beds each.
With the community at its center, the Trinyi Eco-lodge is also a training and educational site where villagers learn new skills and take proactive action to look after their eco-system. With its proximity to Gyalthang's fast-growing town, the Trinyi center offers the youth an alternative to mahjong and karaoke bars. A stupa and a basketball court offer inspiration to both old and young.
Dakpa Kelden Co-founder of Khampa Caravan and a Trinyi native, has been instrumental in facilitating this project between his village and WWF China. Khampa Caravan provides direct support by including Trinyi in our programs in Gyalthang: They often help to organize small-scale horse racing festivals, and all our trips of the Gyalthang Collection feature a homely "Nokho" (Gyalthang hotpot) dinner at the Trinyi Eco-lodge, followed by village cultural performances. Invariably, guests are inducted to participate!
Income earned from the dinner and cultural performance as well as other services goes directly to the village. With such added income from soft-tourism, Trinyi Village (Gyalthang-Tibetan for "fountain")can do more for education, health care, environmental preservation, and other vital needs.
For further information on the Trinyi project, please contact Ms Liu Yunhua, WWF China, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on trips including Trinyi, visit the Gyalthang Collection.
Tashi Chomphelling School
It's hard to imagine a monk starting a home when he has renounced everything. But the 32-year-old Venerable Tashi Nyima of Tashi Chomphelling Monastery in Nyithong did exactly that when he realised the lack of a proper learning environment for the young novice monks at his Karma Kagyud monastery.
The villagers of Nyithong appreciate Ven. Tashi Nyima's initiative. Perched on a steep mountain facing the Khawakarpo range, with the Nyithong River cascading into the Mekong below, Tashi Chomphelling is a typical Karma Kagyud monastery: It is tucked away from civilization, serving traditionally as a retreat venue for Buddhist practitioners. The 10th Karmapa Choying Dorje founded it in 1618.
In 1997, having spent a year studying Tibetan at Sumtsenling Monastery in Gyalthang, Ven. Tashi Nyima had the idea of setting up a school in his monastery. It went against his tradition somewhat, but he held fast to his vision. After serving as a treasurer (Tib. Nyepa) at Tashi Chomphelling for several years, he acted.
In the year 2000, Ven. Tashi Nyima returned to Nyithong and transformed his monk’s quarters into a “boarding school” for young monks. After obtaining the required permits for the "Tashi Chomphelling Education Center", he began by enrolling 26 novices of ages 11 to 25. He then put together a core curriculum in Tibetan language and grammar, calligraphy, astrology, and Buddhist liturgy, and went about the task of teaching what he had learned from his days at Sumtsenling Monastery in Gyalthang.
“The villages will have no one to go to when there is a drought. And when someone dies in a family, no one will know the rituals,” says Ven. Tashi Nyima. “Through this school, the young will learn what to do.”
Today, Ven. Tashi Nyima himself teaches the 28 children. He plans to recruit a teacher from Palpung Monastery of Dege in 2004. Palpung is the traditional learning center of the Karma Kagyud School in Kandze Prefecture, Sichuan.
Khampa Caravan supports Ven. Tashi Nyima through its tour programs along the Mekong and Salween regions. We also take visitors to the school on our trip "Three Parallel Rivers - Watershed of Asia".
Lekerdo Primary School
Lekerdo is an isolated Tibetan village of some forty families of farmers and herders, located deep in the Genyen valley of Lithang county. It has had a primary school where until a few years ago, classes were conducted in the open courtyard and only during good weather. The classrooms were completely empty and the mud roof was run down by rain. Things at the school began to change thanks to Lobsang Tenzin.
Years ago, Tenzin began leading small groups of tourists through this region. With support from Khampa Caravan's friends, he has now redone the entire roof so classes can be held indoors throughout the year. He also furnished the classrooms with ten sets of desks and benches which now accommodate thirty students. New window panes allow the students to stay warm during the ice-cold Tibetan winter. Tenzin's plan does not end there.
With more assistance, he hopes to add another Tibetan language teacher and expand the classroom facilities so more children can benefit from primary education. A small basketball court for the children who study here could also keep the kids integrated with the school and community. There are currently twenty-five students from Lekerdo village ranging from six to thirteen year olds who attend classes here.
Khampa Caravan takes visitors to Lekerdo Village Primary School on our trip "Mt. Genyen - trekking around a revered peak of the Lithang-Bathang border&rdquo".