Tents for Summer Herding in Derong County, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province སི་ཁྲོན་ཞིང་ཆེན་དཀར་མཛས་བོད་རིགས་རང་སྐྱོང་ཁང་སྡེ་རོང་རྫོང་ལ་སྦྲ་གུར་ནི་དབྱར་ཁ་རྫི་བོ་བྱེད་ས་ཡིན།

Australian Embassy-Beijing: Aid to Rural Tibetans in China--Tents for Herders

Sincere appreciation is extended to the Australian Embassy in Beijing, which provided 60,000RMB. Local people provided 1,800RMB for a total project value of 61,800RMB. This bought 60 tents for impoverished Tibetan families in Lanyid (Lianyi) Tibetan Village, Gommo (Gongbu) Township, Sderong (Derong) County, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, PR China and related transportation expenses. The project, managed by Mr. Sonan Jetsun (Bsod nams rgyal mtshan; Curtis) of Lanyid, along with the village leader and village elders, tackled several problems:

(1) Locals spend 4 months herding on the top of mountains and three months at the middle of the mountains, herding. They need shelter and thus build such shelters from wood. Each family thus needs two wood shelters and each shelter requires cutting about 100 trees. These shelters are so rotted after 4-5 years, another 100 trees need to be cut and a new shelter built.

(2) To increase local peopleâs income. Selling mushrooms is a main income source for people. Mushrooms depend on the forests, which are being decimated, in part, because of herding shelter construction. The tents will slow forest loss, thus preserving a supply of mushrooms for villagers.

(3) To save work time. Nearly a month is required to construct a herding shelter and, in addition, yearly repairs demand more time.

(4) Provide an easily transportable shelter. Two wood herding shelters will not be needed (per family), thus saving 200 trees per family (about 40 trees per year per family will not be cut).

The project was done March -May 2010

Lianyi Village is located 200 km southwest of Derong County Town, 550 km from Kangding City, the capital of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, and 1,040 km from Chengdu City, the capital of Sichuan Province. Lianyi Village has 80 households (560 Tibetans). Each family has an average of seven members, representing three generations. Most villagers are under the age of 55. Lianyi Village is predominately a community of Tibetan farmers. In 2002, due to the threat of deforestation and increased environmental degradation in the region, the local government provided a small annual stipend to families of about 150 RMB per mu; the average family in Lianyi Village owns around 5 mu and thus receives approximately 750RMB in cash annually from the local government, which is used on household expenses, including food, clothing, school costs, and medical expenses. During summer and fall, many villagers go to the county town to earn money from various part-time jobs in non-agricultural enterprises to supplement the government stipend. Only about 4 village residents have found permanent, government jobs in the local county town.

In Lianyi Village, certain families tend yaks, sheep, goats, horses, pigs, and cows. They use animal products for their own subsistence or sell a portion of those products (butter, wool, quilts made of animal hair, dried cheese, yak hair) for profit. Families who own only a small number of livestock primarily consume animal products on a subsistence basis.


Approximately 95% of villagers have never attended school. Only about 10% of villagers can read some Tibetan. Some villagers studied Tibetan and mathematics for 4-6 years at the local primary school (grades 1-6). Very few of the older generation continued education beyond primary school because their families needed their children's assistance with farming and the middle school was located in the county town, 200 km away. Even today, only about 2-4 students annually, who complete the village primary school, continue their study in the middle school. Poverty prevents most students from leaving the village to obtain more education.