Delekling Tibetan Settlement, Sharkhum

A brief story of Delekling Tibetan Settlement

Introduction

This settlement is called Delekling Tibetan settlement. At the time that the refugees in the Solo Khumbu area started the handicrafts center there in 1961 there were about 6000 refugees in the whole khumbu area. This number has gradually decreased over the years as many of the refugees have left for Kathmandu and India. At present there are only 657 refugees in this area including the workers at the handicraft center.

The settlement at Solu Khumbu has both a handicrafts center and agricultural land, which is quite good and is able to employ some of the settlers. The handicraft center was started in1961 by the Tibetans themselves in order to find some means of supporting themselves. The settlers depend on agricultural as the main source of living. They grow wheat, barley, potatoes and other vegetables. However due to lack of irrigation facilities and other agricultural know how the production from the agricultural is only up to the subsistence level.

Settlement Location

This settlement is situated at Chailsa, Solu Khumbu which is located in extreme Northwest of Nepal with an altitude of 2775, meters above sea level. The settlement has an average temperature of 21° Celsius and annual rainfall of 62cms.

Settlement Population

When the settlement was first established there was total population of 525 people.However with the passage of time there is fall in the population of the settlement. This fall in the settlement people is mainly because of the migration of the settlers to the urban areas of Nepal and India. This migration of the settlers is due to the lack of the employment within the settlement.

Settlement Areas

This settlement has total land areas of 974 ropani (108 acres). The Royal Government of Nepal to rehabilitate the Tibetan refugees allotted this land.

Settlement facilities

Like all the Tibetan settlements in India and Nepal, this settlement also has established a co-operative Society to the help the settlers financially. This co-operative society runs one small fair price shop, an apple orchard, a handicraft center, a school, an opera troupe, a dispensary and a monastery.

Administrative setup

Each of the Tibetan refugees' settlement has one settlement officer, who is appointed by the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala. He is appointed to looks after the welfare of the setters and considered, as the highest authority in the settlement, under him there is camp leader who is elected by the settlers themselves. Settlement officer acts as laison between the Department of Home and settlers. All the information of the settlement is collected and provided by the settlement officer to the Department of Home,Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala.

Settlement Contact Address

Representative Office
Delekling Tibetan settlement
Chailsa Handicraft Center (Pvt.) Ltd.
P.O. Box No.1 , Salleri
Solu Khumbu Nepal



taken from: http://jampagyaltsen.blogspot.in (31-03-2015)

Background:

In the wake of Tibetan Uprising in March 10th 1959, and the resultant Chinese forceful occupation and ruthless and brutal killing that followed the exodus of Tibetans to neighboring countries. Leaving behind their own properties and land thousand of Tibetans crossing the most formidable KhumbhuGangla in the region of Sangarmatha Anchal. 0ne of the highest mountain passes in the Himalayas ranges where human beings cross the passes. Hundreds of Thousand Tibetans from neighboring Tibetan Dingri region left their motherland in order to escape from Chinese tyranny and terror, were scattered throughout the Khumbhu area the land of Sherpas. When the Tibetan Government in exile, under the leadership of H.H. the Dalai Lama finally took foothold in Dharamsalain India. Tibetan Refugees worldwide began to resettle in the camps with help and guidance from the respective host Nation and numerous international humanitarian aid organizations. Under the auspices and co-ordination of Nepal Government resettlement of Tibetans roaming in Nepal began in 1960. In 1961 under resettlement program Delek Ling Tibetan Settlement was established at Chialsa, SoluKhumbhu District at the height of 27750 meter from the sea level, and this settlement is also located in one of the most remote regions of Nepal where we have Tibetan settlements established in the Kingdom of Nepal. Swiss Red Cross paid money for buying lands in the name of Nepal Red Cross. Although place is in remote area but an ideal place for Tibetans to settle, with aggregate of 100 acres of agricultural land. The settlement 0fficer was appointed to look after the Tibetan Refugee families living scattered cluster areas of Namche Bazaar vicinity. This settlement is having no link of motor able roads from any big city of Nepal. For any one visiting this settlement, it can be reached by air flying from Kathmandu to Phaplu direct. From Phaplu one can reach settlement by three to four hours by walk. 0ne can also fly from Biratnagar to Phaplu. One can go road from Kathmandu to Bandar via Jiri. Then one has to walk to Settlement two to three days. Now day a rough road from Katari is connected to Selleri a District Headquarters, which is two hour walking distance. But this road is very dangerous, especially during summer and it take three day by bus from Kathmandu.

In the beginning of 1963, the international committee of Red Cross withdrew from the scene and as requested by Nepal government the Swiss Government continued the aid program started by ICRC. The active Swiss technical, financial and personal aids remained with Tibetans in Nepal for a decade. The Swiss Association for Technical Assistant (SATA) initiated handicraft and agricultural projects with the aim of making the refugees self-supporting in due course. With funds from Swiss multiple projects were executed like purchasing 100 acres of farm land. Mud mortars with shingle roof were built. A carpet handicraft Centre was set up for economic survivable. Majority families were evolved in carpet making and farming as it was the easiest work to do in an alien country. Beside that, the region was fitted to the people for doing odd business for their living. A primary school was set up much before the carpet Handicraft Centre. 0ne of the early children who studied in Chailsa is KungoNgodup la a cabinet Minister of Tibetan government in exile. In addition, two monasteries forming an essential part of the Tibetans' life were established with volunteer labor. A dispensary offering good medical services was created. In a net shell from the beginning of settlement till early 70's Chialsa was one of the best Tibetan Refugee Settlements in Nepal. The whole community benefited from the fruit of good discipline and hard work. At the time of first resettling of Tibetans in Camp there were over 150 Tibetan families more 1000 Tibetans were living in Chialsa excluding people living in a scattered are near Chailsa.

Rise and down fall is natural phenomena so as lured by the flourished of the carpet business in Kathmandu Valley, so many young energetic and enterprising people left Chailsa for the greener big pastures. In early 80's various feasible long time and short term income generating were under taken. Concrete stone wall with GI sheet roof were built for the inmates of the Settlements. Fruit trees plantation were initially stated. The success in business achieved by those people who migrated to Kathmandu became as encouraging beacon for those still in Chailsa. No amount of motivation and regulations worked to retain those people, who cannot be blamed for searching for a better livelihood and prospects. The number of people moving from the settlement continued to increase in sequent years. With loss of population, the quality of community life took downward swing. Exodus situation continued to prevail during the year 1997 to 2000. Even migrating to Kathmandu is not stopped yet today. A census taken May 2009 reveals that there 95 and representing 25 families currently living in Chialsa. An assessment of the population by age is as 95.

Governing Council

Since its inception the settlement is divided into 5 groups (Tsogchungs) each presided over by one representative (Tsogchung Gopas) elected for a one-year term. Elected representative helps to solve problems within their groups, decide issues, as well as disseminate information. A Tsogchung meets twice monthly -the full moon day and the last day of the Tibetan (lunar) calendar month - to do prayers. Read news circulars, and discuss matters of community interest. A higher governing council, called Le ThueTsogdu, consisting of twelve members - the abbot of the Monastery, School headmaster, meets occasionally under the chairmanship of the settlement Officer now known as Shawara Settlement 0ffice when they pay visit to the area. This assembly concerns itself with issues and problems that are otherwise unresolved in the sub-committees, and also approves necessary guidelines and regulations. All the affairs are conducted in a democratic manner. The overall administrative responsibility is under Shawara office, who is appointed by the Government in Exile, Dharamsala.

Principle Assistance office

The Tibetan Government in Exile, under the leadership of H.H. the Dalai Lama, has its headquarters in Dharamsala, India. From there, all Tibetan Settlement and institutions throughout the world are administered. The Government's various departments, bureaus, and office maintain contacts and relationship with numerous international organizations. Through this, the Government is able to coordinate and direct appropriate foreign aid and assistance into all sectors of the Tibetan community.

An important aspect within this governmental structure are H.H. the Dalai Lama's Representatives, who act as Ambassadors to many countries worldwide. In Nepal, H.H Representative is located in the office of Tibet, Gaden Khangsar, Kathmandu. From this office, the primary coordination of activities concerning the welfare of the fourteen settlements, as well as the many Tibetan living throughout Nepal, is administered. In conjunction with the office of Tibet, the Snow Lion foundation coordinates activities specific to health education and social welfare. This foundation is officially registered with Nepal Government, and is thereby granted the privilege to receive and channel economic and foreign aid assistance. The Chialsa settlement in particular, one of the first settlements established with the assistance of the Swiss Government, has now not have a close working relationship with SATA (Swiss Association for Technical Assistance) in Nepal. Thanks to the combined efforts all the concern aid organization and individual donor agencies, the Chailsa settlement, despite its decreased population, continues to undergo a positive transition towards future stability as an integrated, self-reliant community.

Economic

Sources of income; over the years, the primary source of income and economic back-bone of this settlement has been the carpet industry till 2000. In 2000 carpet industry was closed due to heavy loss. Now settlers are engaged in small businesses, field work where they grow mainly potatoes, some are engaged horticulture the remainder are entirely dependent upon the odd work, or a nominal allowance from Snow Lion foundation. Since the closing of carpet industry obviously jeopardizes the economic stability of the entire community. There is no single significant income generating project to be planned for entire long run income. Lack of job opportunity and less di-versification and expansion of economic enterprises would serve to enhance both the general community security as well as its economic future. This diversification would also allow for the incorporation of those community members possessing a variety of aptitudes and skills applicable beyond those required by the carpet industry. We again lack of young people in the field of horticulture and modern method of fruit processing.

Cooperative society:

The cooperative society, founded with the aim of becoming a second source of income, began successfully with the undertaking of various small and profitable businesses, but its' performance also declined over the years in accordance with the decreases in population. Currently both of restaurant and community general store are on private lease due to the lack of capital fund and qualified personnel.

Horticulture:

From 1992 to 1995, five horticulture gardens were set up for future diversification of income and diversification of job opportunities for the settlers. With financial help from IM, Sweden in total around 2500 fruits trees like apple, pear, peaches and plums are surviving with full swing. Fruit trees are growing abundant. Vehicle road is just two hours walk from our settlement. God saw our hard work for maintaining the orchards.

Education:

One of the principle pillars of any society is education. This is of particulars importance to the Tibetans as a minority community- a people without a country aspiring to preserve their unique heritage and ethnic identity while simultaneously existing within a foreign country and culture.

School

The Tibetan operated school, which was established even before the handicraft cen-tre. But in 1974 unfortunately reverted to an HMG administered school under the new education plan of 1974, and remained thus until the end of 1985.The academic quality of the school suffered greatly during this period. Under the seventh amendment rules, 1981, the school was returned to Tibetan administration, and is operating with the financial support of the Snow Lion foundation. At present, there are 180 students; only 10 Tibetan and rest are local Nepalese distributed in 7 classes, inclusive of 2 sections of kindergarten, and eight teachers 5 Tibetan and 3 Nepalese. Under our own administration, not only has the manner of dispensing education been improved, but also, the entire development of activities within the school had taken a great leap forward. The SLF has started to totally reconstruct the school buildings, which remain in very poor, dilapidated condition. The Teacher salary and staff of the school is paid by SLF.

Hostel

In 1973, with generous aid from Mrs A. N Tigerstedt, a Swedish lady, a hostel was established specifically for the children of very poor families, and those who attend the school from the Namche area, where over 100 Tibetans are now located. In 1993 July late Mrs. A.N. Tigerstedt withdrew her financial support due her old age and she could not raise the needed funds. Since then we had been trying to find individual sponsor for children who are stay in Hostel and it was continued till today. Today we have 45 boarders with 26 boys and 19 girls - 4 staff members and a committee which oversees its management. The operating cost of the hostel is managed by individual contributions and sponsorship funds for individual sponsorship money received. Surplus over expenditures were managed by SLF.

By gone days we have adult Literacy: over forty percent of the settlement people read and write Tibetan. Many have learned some English and Nepali through attending night school. Now this program is not prevailing.

Social welfare

Due to the large number of elderly within the Chialsa community, the establishment of social welfare programs is crucial. But it could not materialize due to the lack of social fund. For enabling supplementary their low income, we give them old people's stipend to each individual old people monthly. Currently 28 elderly people receiving a monthly allowance of 450 - 800 a combined contribution from Snow Lion Foundation and other donor agency, those who are living with their families.

Old Peoples Home

For the very old people infirm or handicapped and single, without families or caretak-ers. We have small old people's Home. At present we have 6 old people are living in our old people home with three men and three ladies. They were taken care by one cook and one helper and one procurer. The expenditure this project is entirely given by one Swiss lady through Snow Lion Foundation.

Health Care

Clinics: Thanks to the cold climate and unpolluted environment, most of the people of Chailsa are comparatively healthy. There have been only one or two isolated cases of tuberculosis in early days. Vitamin deficiency, dental Care, and in summer, parasitic problems are quite common. Tibetan medical clinic station at Thupten Choeling spon-sored by the Tibetan Medical Centre, Dharamsala is responsible for taking care of Ti-betan Medicine and she visit camp in every end of month. Though inadequate, the settlement also has a small health clinic run by a trained community health worker. The nominal, annual fund (Rs 6000) for the purchasing of medicine is provided by Department of Health Dharamsala , while the health worker's salary is paid Department of Health too. For the treatment of more extensive health problems, the patient must be taken to Phaplu, about 4 hours walk downhill, where there is a public hospital founded by Sir Edmund Hillary. Since many people are reluctant to travel to Phaplu for treatment, there is an acute need for the upgrading of the standards of personnel, services, and equipment of the dispensary. It is important to add, as an emphasis upon qualified training, that dispensary personnel will also be responsible for the creation and implementation of general community health education programs.

Housing, Sanitation, Water and Electricity

Housing

The majority of houses in Chialsa were constructed in 1986 requiring frequent main-tenance -especially the wooden beam with flooring planks. Due to strong wind blowing during spring and heavy rain fall in summer had spoiled major part of GI sheet roofs. Many of homes needs GI repairing.

Sanitation

Till last year, there are no systematized, water delivery systems, or contained toilet fa-cilities in Chialsa. We made individual decompose toilet. We are sure it had made the individual family happy for health as well as for fertilizer.

Water

There exist two perennial, main water sources- open springs that run through open drainage channels - from which the people take their drinking water supply. This water is extremely vulnerable to both natural and induced contamination. The water flow is also inconsistent with seasonal changes and community demands. This situation presents obvious health and hygienic hazards' to all; consequently. Proper containment and delivery systems are urgently needed.

Electricity

The Salleri-Chialsa Small Hydro-electricity Power Station, financed by the Swiss Gov-ernment, it had been completed in 1987 and had been supplying electricity since January 1987. The electricity system is Swiss system and it is suppose best electricity in Nepal. So we have problem of light during the night.

The electrification of Chialsa had been a stepping stone to improving the overall life-style of this community. It will enable us to begin many power-related projects, as well as help to preserve the ecological balance of the area, boost production, and improve the general standard of living. All of this will combine to greatly enhance the attractiveness of this settlement to other Tibetans.

Religion and Culture:

In general, Tibetans regard the preservation and transmission of their religion and culture as an integral component to their life-style and ethnic identity. Again, this is particularly crucial in light of their refugee status and circumstance- especially when considering that an entire generation of young Tibetans have grown up outside of the tradition of young Tibetans have grown up outside of the traditions inherent to Tibet; consequently, the continuation of their cultural heritage is somewhat in jeopardy. Their strong desire and intention to someday return to their homeland, Tibet also serves to reinforce this need.

Over the years, Chialsa has been barely able to sustain a Monastery, traditional per-forming arts, and Tibetan medicine as viable components within the education and activities of its community.

MONASTERY:

Thupten Shedup Chhoeling:

A Gelugpa monastery, contains 33 monks and an abbot. This monastery is situated in our settlement. The monastery provides sojong-communion- service on every full moon day. The main source of livelihood of the monks is the offering they receive by conducting puja services and donor agency through their head monastery. Majority of young novices are local Nepalese and were also given modern education. This Mo-nastery is branch of KupanMonastyery in Kathmandu. So there is no financial problem Monastery had recently build concrete monks residential quarter.

Thupten Choeling:

A Nyingma monastery is situated near Jumbese 5-6 hors walk from Chialsa. Trulshig Rinpoche a highly respect Nyingma Lama had established Monastery. To the very old and infirm monks and Nun we used to give old people stipend only for supplementary income. Rest of monks and nuns, they try to survive on conducting puja and reciting religious book and money offered by individuals for performing prayers. The inmates of this Monastery are below.

Scattered clusters

Since coming into exile so many Tibetans are living in scattered cluster areas in the vicinity of Namche Bazaar. Here we have one Geluk nunnery with inmates of 32 nuns and Head Lama along with his assistant and one secretary monks. Inmates are getting religious teaching as well as they learn English when some Volunteer Teachers are available. We have one Sakya Monastery also where there are 15 inmates. Rest of Tibetans are doing off work for their living. Comparatively people here are doing well as the area falls under Tourist trekking area. Here do not have Tibetan school. Children were given education either at Chialsa Mount Everest School or Namgyal Middle School in Kathmandu.

Performing Arts

The social elements of Tibetan culture are sustained through community participation in the performance of traditional drama and dance. Once there were over 60 members in the settlement's performing Arts Troupe, which performs on an average of ten important calendar occasions. But with loss of young people now only few young ladies left. So occasionally they perform dew dances.

In the past, the participation of the school children due performs the culture dance with much emphasized but again with Tibetan children it became a hard job too. But we do not leave hard jobs there and do our best to teach Tibetan Traditional dance and songs to local children too.

Environment and Ecology

Nepal's extensive environment and ecological problems - erosion, deforestation, and land-use and water management - are well known, and elaboration of this topic is beyond our scope. We emphasized in the general needs and contributions necessary to the Chailsa community's efforts to understand and incorporate this aspect effectively. Obviously, initial community recognition and awareness to the existence of these problems, and their ramifications, is essential to appropriate design and successful implementation of all community projects. Every facet of the community is, in some way, either contributing to or influenced by these considerations; consequently, basic, preliminary educational programs specific to each area of the community's activities must be given highest priority. For last few years we did our best to forestations were done in our area where there is empty land lying beside Horticulture.

Every effort has been made to include environmental impact considerations within all proposals and future planning. Since this is a very recent adjunct, we appreciate any suggestions you might make in furthering our efforts.

CONCLUSTION

Tibetans fled their homeland with the hope that they will one day they will be able to live in an independent Tibet. The Tibetan settlements had been established as an im-portant means by which these people preserve their heritage and convey it to their younger generations. Because of economic pressures and difficult living conditions, the populations of these communities have declined over the years with so many people moving to the cities where they often find an easier and more profitable livelih-ood. As these communities erode, so does their cultural cohesion and, in due course, their Tibetan identity.

In the case of Chialsa, if the much needed improvements and changes are brought in with a sense of urgency there remains no doubt that the Chialsa community will rise once again as one of the best Tibetan settlements in Nepal. There will surely come a time, in the near future, when the Tibetan refugees struggling in the cities will opt to come and live in Chialsa - an easier and more peaceful life - where they can propa-gate and preserve their unique heritage. We still work towards the day when the Tibe-tan refugees will return to live happily in an independent Tibet.


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