Tibetan Village Project Responds to Yushu Earthquake

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Non-profit organization Tibetan Village Project (TVP) has established multiple projects to help Tibetans in Yushu recover and rebuild after a devastating earthquake.

Non-profit organization Tibetan Village Project (TVP) has established multiple projects to help Tibetans in Yushu recover and rebuild after a devastating earthquake. On April 14, 2010 a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck Yushu, an ethnically Tibetan area of China’s western Qinghai Province. According to Xinhua news, 2,698 people were killed and more than 12,000 injured.

Rescue efforts in Yushu were complicated by the high altitude—4,000 meters—and cold weather. In collaboration with the Yushu Earthquake Response (YER), a temporary coalition of local NGOs, TVP was able to distribute basic supplies (food, water, and clothing) and winterized tents to 300 families. TVP raised over $200,000 toward this effort.

After the immediate needs of Yushu’s earthquake-affected families were met, TVP shifted its focus toward rebuilding the business community by providing skills and business management training and offering seed money to develop businesses.

About 85% of businesses in Yushu are now owned and operated by Han and Muslim migrants that came to the area after the earthquake, and this number continues to increase. The majority of Tibetans simply don’t have the energy and resources to set up their own businesses, and continue to live in tents.

TVP is rebuilding the local economy by focusing on one business at a time:

  •     In August 2010, TVP provided storefront tents to 45 Tibetan business owners in downtown Yushu to help them restart businesses or improve or expand existing ones.
  •     In September 2010, development-NGO Machik donated $26,897 to TVP's collaboration with a Yushu-based NGO to provide loans to 7 businesses in Yushu, including restaurants, a shower house, repair shops and transportation services.
  •     TVP provided 10 Tibetan business owners and social workers with a week of business management training. They learned how to identify business opportunities, prepare a business plan, and build an effective team. After trainees returned to Yushu, they continued their relief work by helping to identify Tibetan business owners in need of assistance.
  •     In March 2011, having successfully raised $10,000, TVP provided loans to 2 businesses: a clothing shop and a business support service that employs local Tibetans and plays an important role in rebuilding Yushu communities.
  •     In July 2011, with the help of several donors who contributed $8000 toward building a tailor shop and purchasing sewing machines, TVP initiated an income generation project at a senior care facility for about 80 elders in Yushu. TVP continues to support this program and has hired a part-time staff member for the center.

Tibetan Village Project is a non-profit, non-political organization dedicated to promoting sustainable development while preserving the rich cultural heritage of Tibet. TVP’s projects are small-scale initiatives that work directly with Tibetan villagers and with local government through project-coordinators chosen from each village who know the local situation, understand the culture, and speak the language.

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Tamdin Wangdu
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