Tibetan Black Tent Cultural Centre
Tibet is a mystery to the west; we rarely hear about it on the news and much of it is closed to us, but it is a country with a rich and vibrant history and one that has faced much trauma since Chinese occupation began, over half a century ago. Some of the issues facing Tibet are immediate; many people need homes, food, and medical care, education or release from prison. However there are some issues which are not publicised, which slip by silently and only when it is too late do we realise what has been lost. Our story is one such case.
Until recently Tibet’s nomadic population have lived relatively peacefully on the fringes of society, but now they are undergoing an upheaval that few cultures have managed to survive. The lands on which they have moved freely for thousands of years are being divided and allocated, restricting their movement and forcing them to change their nomadic lifestyle and move to settled dwellings with no water or sanitation.
Over the summer of 2015 my father and I travelled to Tibet and witnessed this first-hand. On this trip we met a guide, a nomad with a vision that could help save the future of his people. He became our friend and we agreed to help him make his vision a reality.
About the Project:
The money you donate will fund the creation of a cultural centre that will bring together all the elements of Nomadic life as a permanent space of community and interface. It will consist of nomadic-style accommodation, a café selling traditional food, a collection of artefacts and an outlet for nomadic crafts. It will be run and operated entirely by nomadic people and
The centre will be built entirely from beautiful woven ‘sky tents’ of the nomads. This design has housed nomadic people for thousands of years; hand-woven from yak hair they are sturdy, weather-proof, repairable and entirely sustainable. However the making of these tents is a lengthy process requiring many hands. The donations you make will support the creation of a new set of these tents made specifically for this centre by funding the sourcing of materials and ensuring that the makers receive fair pay for their time.
The good news is he has the land. It is in a fantastic location with a high influx of visitors, close to the first bend of the Yellow River, a major tourist destination for the Chinese. However the nomadic families have very little income to fund the design and creation for a large-scale project such as this.
The creation of this centre will provide stability for the community in the fast-changing and turbulent of Tibet. It is a way for the nomadic people of the area to meet the inevitable modernisation and industrialisation of their land on their own terms and in a way that sustains their community and celebrates their culture. It will provide a steady income in the tourist season which will help sustain them through the winter months.
With the right support this centre could become a beacon of hope for the Tibetan nomadic population, so please donate to support this fantastic initiative and be a part of something big.