Natural fibers:
Sources of income ¿ natural fibers: Fine natural fibers that can be processed into textiles can be won from bananas, bamboo, linen or allo ¿ a Nepalese plant. These raw products are almost everywhere in Nepal traditionally cultivated and used. In cooperation with the handicrafts association of Nepal, a project is being carried out both in Lamjung and Bandipur, in which 200 females are educated in the production and processing of such natural fibers. Taking into consideration the market knowledge of the handicrafts association, additionally to the traditional goods also products and designs finding a market abroad are produced. In the first couple of years, the handicrafts association provides a sales guarantee and establishes sales- and exports markets that are ultimately used by the women autonomously and in the long run.
The Rotary Club Patan assumes the control of the project and is at our disposal as usual, being contact person and informational source.
Seabuckthorn schools in Mustang:
On mediation of Mrs. Wess, experts are trained in the cultivation and care of the traditionally used seabuckthorn bushes in Mustang. It is the aim to raise plants in seabuckthorn nurseries, which are to deliver the precious and vitamin-packed fruits after their ultimate transplantation. Seabuckthorn is used in traditional medicine, but also plays a vital role as a source of vitamin C in the form of juice. Travelers in the mountain regions of Nepal will certainly appreciate more than once this delicious drink. Cultivation of medicinal herbs in Mustang:
The fabled Mustang, today on Nepalese territory beyond the Himalayan peaks, was one of three kingdoms partitioning the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan (high) plateau. Some of the last Tibetan kings retreated to Mustang, established a new ruler dynasty and partly succeeded in sustaining their old traditions well until the present. Dr. Tashi Choezang, one of the last distinguished doctors of the traditional Tibetan medicine (Amchi) from Lo Mantang, the medieval capital of Mustang, gave his sons a classical education in medicine who have been applying their knowledge in the meantime. Moreover, illegal trade with the endangered medicinal herbs seems to have risen enormously in the last couple of years. Further on, the Chinese and Indian demand for many Nepalese medicinal herbs species increased to such an extent that certain medicinal herbs are already extinct in some regions of the Himalaya. Surely, who can blame those people who try to generate further income from the medicinal herbs¿ sale but it is vital to avoid a complete extinction of the species. In the summer of 1999, the Nepal Relief Association decided to support the project, which aims at the conservation of the Amchi-doctors¿ traditional knowledge, but which also aims at income increase and the promotion of young doctors in order to avoid the uncontrollable gathering of medicinal herbs in the mountain regions of the Himalaya. The Nepal Relief Association bought land in Lo Mantang, which provides place for the 11 diverse medicinal herbs that have been domesticated in the meantime. The number of Amchi students increased to over 20. In the harsh winter seasons, 25 Amchi students, 4 teachers and one assistant can move to a solid house in Simle, situated above the Phewa lake in Pokhara and continue their studies without any interruptions, which is of great importance given their very long training period. The house was built by HimalAsia and is taken care of by Dzongsar Ngari Things Rinpoche. We were asked to support the furnishing of the house and financed the entire kitchen equipment as well as 30 beds including mattresses and blankets. Next to the school, an Amchi-hospital is being built for the local population; it shall run during the summer seasons and thus render a full-year usage of the house possible. The local population, mainly consisting of Gurungs, is enchanted by the idea given the region¿s lack of an adequate health care.