In 2006, Guru Sonam Rinpoche, together with his students, travelled to Anzixiang (Baiyu county, Sichuan province, China) for a survey visit upon request by the local. This place is very remote from any even minor cities. Her high altitude, harsh snowy and windy environment, and the rugged mountains all make the travelling and transportation extremely inconvenient, thus separating the Anzixiang from the outside world. It can be said that the lives of people here are living in cold and hunger all the time. Children and old folks can do not much but suffer from the misery. Cold biting wind with snowflakes beating, earthlings can only tremble in agony. The children in this snowy plateau, however, wear torn clothes and put on childlike smiles that can melt your heart, even though with heart-wrenching frostbites on their faces. Here, children and the elderly face problems such as shortage of foods, clothing, and housing. Keeping warm in winter has also made life very difficult. A number of orphaned children can only rely on their relatives' help to survive, and they burn cow's dung to keep warm in winter. Life's indeed very tough here.
Due to limited resources, year round long winter, and the lack of basic education, Tibetan family structure is deteriorating badly with many children become victims of misfortune and some turn homeless orphans. Parent's death, divorce or being abandoned blows them out of emotional balance, leaving them darkness in emotional tunnel. Such a drastic change causes communication breakdown, making them fearful, inward and reticent, and never seeking for help. These children's concept of "home" is extremely vague. Many of them experienced the pain of losing one or both parents. Because of absence of parental care, they spend most of the time wandering at the hills. For these children, life is a daily struggle for survival. Due to lack of family and community protection, exploitation and abandonment are plenty. They are suffering from missing their family members yet they cannot do much about it. As delicate as fresh flowers, they already are forgotten by the world; struggling in harsh environments, trying to make sense of this insensible world.
They need a blue sky to fly freely; they need a harbor to dock with peace of mind; they need their parents around to listen to them whenever it is... Thinking about this group of children, Sonam Rinpoche once again put himself deep in thought. What should we do? We cannot replace their parents and give them the feeling of home, can we? However, Rinpoche always believes that love can warm their young hearts; we can let them feel the warmth of family community. When they saw us, that expectation in the eyes; I remember when they chatted with us they showed such revealing joy. They need people to show them care and attentions, give them sense of warmth, getting rid of the coldness, physically and emotionally.
Rinpoche believes that no matter how poor we are we must not give the children poor education; no matter how suffer we do we must not let the children suffer. Therefore He was determined to build a children's home here. Although Rinpoche knew that setting up a children's home may be difficult and it has changed the original plan of the Maha Project, however, look at the urgency of the situation, a practical action seem to be more important than the plan and we're convinced that helping the poor, sharing love and generosity are great traditional virtues. Rinpoche said: "When you give people happiness, what you harvest is your own happiness." Because of limited capacity, we cannot rely on our own efforts to change the current situation, what we can do is to get more people to pay attention to this group of children. Give them more love, more attention!
Nga Gyur Shed Dup Children’s Home
With the blessings of Buddha and the support from the generous public, we were able to build the first phase of the NGSDCL in 2008 at Azi Dugshul Village in the Bai Yu County, namely Nga Gyur Shed Dup Children’s’ Home (NSCH).
NSCH is a charitable entity to provide home, food and education for the abandoned, homeless and deprived children, to let them know that they are not alone; to foster their ability; to cherish what they have and pacify their fear, so that they grow up to lead a normal life and to be a responsible citizen.
NSCH provides a unique opportunity for underprivileged and orphaned children to be sheltered and educated at an attached school, to be loved and cared for in a family-like environment.
The objectives of NSCH are:
- To provide food and housing in a secure and nurturing home environment.
- To provide quality education that emphasizes on ethical and spiritual development and academic achievement.
- To prevent them from engaging in anti-social activities and promote ethical values, human potential and sense of responsibility towards society and environment.
- To educate the children and community about health concerns and offer adequate medical care.
Currently there are 50 children receiving care and monastic education in NSCH. The curriculum includes traditional Buddhist studies as well as language classes in Tibetan, Chinese and English, mathematics and art. After five years of basic education, all the children that have reached the suitable age and passed through the graduation examination, will leave their alma mater and step into the society, begins a new journey of life.
We will recommend the children that decided to become ordained monks that specialize in Buddhism to further their study at the Larung School of Buddhism, or to go to the city to make a living and broaden their horizons and we will introduce them to the factories. Regardless the children's decisions, we will be always supporting and sincerely wishing them well.
Your Soil of Love
The development of the Nga Gyur Shed Dup Children’s Home is a good commence. However, we should not be just satisfied with this, but treat this as a starting point, continuously to extend our helping hands in education, healthcare, and to relieve the elderly and orphans that staying at the poverty level.
Only by gathering all the strengths, an arduous long-term career like this can be attained successfully, so that more disadvantaged people will possess more immense loving care. We sincerely wish that all kind-hearted people from afar, would never abandon them even they are of different nationalities, races, identities and skin colors. Regardless the amount of donations, we believe that your soil of love will make them grow strongly.