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Xieqing Charity Orphan School FAQ

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What is the Xieqing Charity Orphan School?
Xieqing Charity Orphan School is a non-governmental organization. It is a school for Tibetan orphans in the local village.
Where is the Xieqing Charity Orphan School?
The school is located on beautiful grassland at the foot of snow-capped mountains in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan province, southwest China.
Who is the founder of Xieqing Charity Orphan School?
The founder and principal of the school is Gongxia Rinpoche. He has worked on establishing the school since 2004. After two years of hard work, with support from donors and volunteers from the local Tibetan community, other parts of China and abroad, the school opened in 2006.
What’s the local situation?
Local people lead the traditional life of nomads and farmers without access to education. Due to harsh conditions, many children lose one or both parents and become orphans. Although local people are kind-hearted and provide them with basic shelter and food, they are unable to provide the orphans with a nurturing and healthy living environment and an opportunity for comprehensive and modern education.
What kind of classes does Xieqing Charity Orphan School has?
It provides Chinese, Tibetan, and English language instruction, as well as mathematics, natural sciences, ethics, arts and traditional Tibetan dance. Children will also receive vocational training such as greenhouse farming, medicinal plant cultivation, animal herding, handicraft arts, and tourist services.
How many students are there in the school? How old are they?
There are 40 to 50 pupils in the school. The younger ones are from 4 to 8 years old; and the elder ones 8 to 16 years old. The kids are very happy with their life and studies in the school.
What does Lotus do for Xieqing Charity Orphan School?
As a sponsor of the orphan school, Lotus hopes to provide the orphans an opportunity to know the outside world and acquire knowledge and skills which will be helpful to them and eventually the whole communitie. We also hope to provide international volunteers a chance to offer help in a Tibetan school, and learn about a different life and culture.
Who may volunteer?
Volunteers need to be mature, independent and in good health.
What will I do as a volunteer?
Volunteers will teach English to the orphans. Those who have education/working experience in health care, teaching environmental protection and green house building are also welcomed.
How else can I benefit from this trip?
For the rest of the time, you can explore the natural beauty of the surrounding area: hills, tall mountains, grassland, etc. You can also learn about Tibetan culture by visiting Tibetan Buddhist Temples, attending temple assemblies and learning the Tibetan language from the students.
How long does it take to get to the Xieqing Charity Orphan School from Chengdu by bus?
The school is located in a village about 26 hours’ drive from Chengdu, capital of China’s Sichuan province. It takes about 8 hours from Chengdu to Kangding (capital of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture), 14 hours from Kangding to the town of Ganzi, then 4 hours from the town of Ganzi to the school.
How do I get to Chengdu?
To get to Chengdu, you can take either plane or train from Beijing.
Are there any restaurants and shops near the Xieqing Charity Orphan School?
You can find restaurants and a few shops in the nearest small town, which is an hour walk from the school.
What is the population and languages spoken?
The area is mainly populated by Tibetans, with a few Chinese. However in the orphan school, most of the volunteer teachers and staff speak Mandarin Chinese. One of the deputy principals also speaks English.
What’s the temperature there?
During the summer, the weather is pleasant. The temperature ranges from 10 to 30 degrees celsius. During the day, a T-shirts and jeans are sufficient. At night and when it rains, one needs to wear long sleeves or rain jackets.
Are there any facilities and utilities in the school?
Electricity and cell phone reception are available in the school. You can therefore bring your cell phones and laptops. There are taps and running water and toilets but no shower; however, as boiled water is always available in the school, one can take bath with a basin.
Does the school have Internet access?
There is a telephone line at the school but no Internet connection is available. The nearest Internet cafe is about 5 hours away.
How about the living conditions?
Volunteers live in shared dormitory with other teachers. Teachers are provided with bed sheets and blankets, and desks.
What kind of food is available at the school?
For breakfast there is Zangba (a Tibetan food made from highland barley). For lunch, rice and meat, and sometimes cabbage. For dinner there is porridge. Volunteers and teachers can also cook themselves if they wish.
What is urgently needed in the school?
Education on environmental protection and health care. The Tibetan area is of incredible natural beauty but it is being polluted. In traditional Tibetan life, everything they used was naturally disposable. As the locals haven’t been educated about non-biodegradable trash and pollution, they throw trash away on the roads, behind their houses or even throw used batteries in rivers which are also the source of their drinking water. Volunteers with health care knowledge such as doctors and nurses are lacking at the school.
What other costs are there?
Most daily necessities can be purchased at a low cost in the small town an hour away. Students need to bring some RMB if they wish to buy souvenirs and Tibetan handicrafts.
Are there any places to exchange money?
One can exchange money only in Kangding. In the town of Ganzi there are ATMs available for drawing from Chinese bank accounts.
Are there any places to buy souvenirs?
The town of Yajiang is recommended for buying souvenirs. The shops there have reasonable prices.
Do I need to take some sun-protection products?
Yes! The sun is very strong at high altitudes.
How to avoid sun burn?
Wear long sleeves. Don’t stay outside for too long. Bring suntan lotion if necessary.
How to avoid high altitude disease?
The altitude of the school is about 4,000 meters. To avoid high altitude disease, please drink a lot of water and rest, especially when you first arrive.
Are there any other tips?
Bring toilet paper. One can also buy it in the small town one hour walk away.

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