- ABOUT US
- ECOCULTURAL TRAVEL
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Ganglha piloted a Tibetan, Chinese, and English teaching program beginning in 2005 in Bon skor Tibetan Community in Qinghai (in Amdo), which has been held twice yearly. The program is locally managed and strengthens students’ knowledge of Tibetan, English, and Chinese languages thus empowering students in encounters with the outside world and raising local awareness of the importance of education.This teaching program has been an on-going success. Over twenty students who first participated the program from Bon skor Community took the college entrance examination in 2012. Most were admitted to BA programs. School attendance at all levels has increased rapidly.
Due to the increased number of students in the teaching program, Ganglha later recruited only local primary school students in the teaching program. Parents of junior and senior middle school students then approached the school and Ganglha regarding the lack of teaching programs for their children. Ganglha facilitated locals to hold self-organized teaching programs for these students. Ganglha recruited teachers from Qinghai Normal University and Qinghai Nationalities University. As a result, many groups of local residents held small classes for their children and Ganglha provided textbooks and teachers. Parents paid.
In recent years, students from Bon skor Tibetan Community earned a reputation for having good quality English, Tibetan, and Chinese. This has largely been due to the program as indicated by students’ interest in learning English, Tibetan, Chinese and mathematics, students' higher exam scores, and attendance. Parents’ attitude became increasingly positive.
Once aware of the positive impact of this teaching program, many neighboring community schools approached Ganglha for assistance. Ganglha subsequently brought similar teaching programs to five other local community schools. Although most community schools are consolidated into local township and county towns, the remaining classrooms that were later turned into kindergartens and other empty classrooms were used for teaching programs during summer and winter holidays.
Students-centered approaches and modern teaching approaches are encouraged throughout the programs with small class sizes. Although the program has been a success, we continue to be challenged in designing appropriate textbooks, funding to expand similar programs, and turning the programs into a self-sustaining practice through raising local awareness.
Although the general education enrollment has increased, students from impoverished communities often lack financial support and discontinue education while in senior middle school and university. Most such students' families herd livestock, or if they are farmers, cultivate barley, wheat, and potatoes. The average annual cash income per person is 58-646USD. Locals sell livestock, sheep wool, and caterpillar fungus. Herdsmen and women seldom leave the local area to work due to limited Chinese language skills.In the past years, Ganglha found many orphans and students of poor family background in dire need of scholarships in order to enter senior middle schools and colleges. These students urgently need scholarships and many who could not receive financial support remain at home, marry, do family chores, and repeat the cycle of poverty.
The Rhythm of Bya chu is a Tibetan-language journal focusing on non-political poetic and literary works, non-fiction essays, and short stories translated from Chinese and English that strives to encourage students to study and write in Tibetan.Local writers are encouraged to contribute their work for publication. The primary goal is to encourage a vibrant literary atmosphere among young Tibetan students, thus preserving the language.
The journal editorship hopes locals will take an interest in seeing their children's works published and thus better realize the value of education, thereby encouraging them to send their children to school rather than keeping them at home to work.
Kindergartens and primary, and junior middle schools suffer from a lack of library resources. This is especially the case in rural community and township schools. Most schools have space for a library, but lack books. Most schools with a library resource lack appropriate books for both students and teachers. It is understood that more reading materials give teachers and students the opportunity to read more, increasing their general knowledge and encouraging and reinforcing literacy. Students are eager to have more books to read beyond their textbooks. Teachers wish to have reference books for teaching preparation and books with modern social content.Ganglha reaches out to the isolated schools to provide library resources with contracted regulations and monitoring systems. Our past library book projects enriched students’ education and gave them a broader view of the outside world, improved local teachers’ teaching methodology via access to a broad range of library resources, enabled students and teachers to use dictionaries, illustrated storybooks, and other suitable books, improved students’ level of study beyond boring, dry textbooks, and allowed students to spend more time on study with the starting point in library books.
Kindergartens are new to many Tibetan communities. In most areas, kindergartens are partially subsidized by local government and the local community. There has been a serious shortage of kindergarten supplies, facilities, and qualified teachers in local areas. Some community primary schools have been moved to local township and county schools, leaving the classrooms behind. The remaining buildings are turned into kindergartens. However, kindergartens in the communities are bereft of textbooks, toys, sport equipment, safe facilities, and qualified supervisors and management. Consequently, many children remain at home while those at school are misguided and find school and textbooks to be boring in a poor study environment.Ganglha seeks funds to provide basic education supplies and kindergarten teacher trainings. In cooperation with other stakeholders, Ganglha continues to produce linguistically and culturally appropriate kindergarten textbooks and children’s books.
In Tibetan herding communities, policies were implemented in resettlement, grassland division, and building fences to guard against environmental degradation. As a result, local family income was reduced and many locals had to give up a traditional lifestyle. Many communities are resettled near local towns. No such community members received job training prior to resettlement. Lacking knowledge of the Chinese language combined with absolute illiteracy, means that many locals find it difficult to make a living. Due to lack of vocational and communication skills, few locals, especially from herding communities, go outside to work at waitressing, construction work, herding, driving, and tailoring. Such work earns a minimal payment. Illiterate youths increasingly turn to crime to obtain money, which is partially the result of lacking vocational skills that would provide income.Ganglha established several vocational training centers in 2011 and implemented literacy programs (basic Tibetan, Chinese, Math, and business skills) for about 200 illiterates in five Tibetan villages. Along with the training, the classrooms were equipped with education resources. Ganglha continue to seek support for funding training programs for adults in literacy and vocational skills.