Rehabilitation of the Jatson Chumig School-Residence (Lhasa, Tibet)

Jatson Chumig is a school-residence in Lhasu, located on the outskirts of Lhasa, Tibet, where the population is mainly formed by poor farmers.

They are the children of dysfunctional families, orphans and marginalised disabled youngsters who survive in the streets by begging, with chronic malnutrition, no hygiene whatsoever and clothing unsuited to the country’s very low temperatures.

Tibetans lived in small rural communities according to well established rules, with strong ties of union and solidarity. The children who lost their parents used to be taken in by other families. The drastic changes that have occurred in Tibet, however, have put an end to the country’s traditional system (there are now strict laws on family planning, for example), impoverishing many farmers who can no longer maintain their children, while the promise of a better life in the city favours immigration. Additionally, the natural catastrophes which have occurred in recent years have helped to worsen the already extreme situation of the rural population. Under these chaotic circumstances, orphans no longer find adoptive families and many are left abandoned.

Jatson Chumig

Between 1995 a 2009, Comunidad Humana (CH), the NGO of a group of Spanish volunteers from the town of Aranjuez (Madrid Province), worked together with a local partner to provide support for the needy children of Tibet. Its activity was primarily focused on three spheres:

  • Organising orphanages and schools.
  • Providing medical care and rehabilitation, above all to physically and psychically disabled children.
  • Sponsoring children.

It was a pioneer in its initiative with children, focusing on two highly neglected groups: disabled children and orphans.

CH rehabilitated the Jatson Chumig school-residence, where about one hundred boys and girls are educated. The complex was built in 1998. 19,000€ were required for material expenses and 3,500€ for management and logistics expenses in order to carry out these improvements. The firm Mckinsey SL provided 5,000€. For the adaptation of the facilities for disabled children, the NGO Handicapped International provided 800€ and MHF covered the material expenses of 9,200€ thanks to a subsidy from the Ministry of Health and Welfare of the Government of Andorra in an amount of almost 5,000€. The project was carried out in a time of 4 months, from November 2003 to February  2004.

The action consisted of repairing the living quarters and classrooms of the home, which had been seriously damaged by the rough climate, and of urgently improving the hygienic and material conditions of the children in order to assure their good health and welfare and optimum living conditions. These improvements included:

  • The emancipation of the disabled children from their companions, an essential factor to assure their psychological health and their suitable training to become independent adults.
  • Classrooms are now cleaner and better insulated, improving the educational environment in this way.
  • The lodging rooms are more spacious and provide greater privacy, leading to fewer illnesses.
  • The toilets are much more hygienic, without accumulation of excrements, foul smells, flies or parasites.