High in the remote Himalayan mountains on the Tibetan plateau lies a community roughly the same size as Luxemburg: Upper Dolpo. To get here, you have to take two flights from the capital Kathmandu and then hike for twelve days, over passes as high as 5,000m. This isolated community is home to 15,000, living in what can only be called medieval conditions but following centuries old Buddhist traditions. The picturesque villages lie between 4,000 & 4,500 metres and life is hard. The population survives with the bare minimum, living off small irrigated barley fields. Trade is carried on with Tibet and the lower parts of Nepal. There is no electricity, running water or sanitary facilities or even the most basic medical support. The staunchly religious people are Bon-Buddhists and the society is a matriarchal one. This means that sometimes you will find one woman married to a number of men: but all brothers from the same family. Partially through the absence of even basic living conditions, depopulation is occurring. We are losing a unique culture. The people have told us what they desperately need:
- A health centre providing not just medical facilities but also public washrooms with shower facilities
- To be able to generate electricity through a small hydro-electric plant.
With the help of the Nepalese government, the people themselves can pay for half of the costs for this; the remainder (approximately €50,000) will be raised by the Zuidwolde Foundation’s Upper Dolpo project. The people themselves will do the construction work. Maintenance and running costs going forward will also be charged to those using the facilities.