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Disaster Relief

Earthquake Relief Successfully Completed!

After the Emergency Food Program provided tsampa, butter, cheese and tea to 2,000 earthquake victims immediately after the 2010 earthquake, the Kilung Foundation built a herd of more than 70 yaks to continuously support 40 families with butter and cheese. Three years after the disaster, the people who were devastated by the earthquake are recovering. They deeply appreciated what we did through the most difficult period in their lives. The three-year program ends in 2013, and the yaks will be sent to the Kilung life release farm where their dairy products will benefit local monks and nuns.

Read below for the chronicle of the Kilung Foundation disaster relief activities. No more funds are needed at this time.

June 27, 2010: 60 Yaks!

We are so pleased to announce that in the final moments of our fundraising drive for earthquake relief, the yak herd grew to 60 milking dri (females)! We didn’t quite make the goal of 100, but 60 is a real herd and exceeded our expectations. And, we will be able to supply dairy to a significant number of Kyegundo families for the next two to three years. These families will receive two deliveries per year of cheese and butter, supplemented by yogurt and milk.

yaksAs previously mentioned, these dri will all be tagged as “never to be slaughtered,” part of the ancient practice of life saving that is done all over the world by Buddhists and especially practiced in Tibet with domestic animals. This herd will stay in Dzachuka, tended by Kilung families. When the earthquake milk deliveries are finished in 2012 or 2013, the herd will remain with Kilung community, either filling out herds that were devastated by the snow disaster of 2008, or they will go to the Kilung Monastery-community “life release farms.” You can read more about this on the animal release page.

This concludes the fundraising drive for this yak herd, and we’ve been asked, why a deadline in this case. Answer: The first milk delivery will happen at the end of July, and the second delivery in September. This is normal for this part of the world where winters are acutely frigid, slowing milk production down to nil. Therefore the butter and cheese that is produced each summer is stored and consumed throughout the winter and into spring. Right now this herd is still incorporating the newest members, who are getting used to each other, not to mention their herder-milkers. Cheese and butter is being produced from the twice-daily milkings, and stored for delivery. So, creating a new herd from scratch needed as much time as possible to stabilize, in order to make that first delivery—in just a few weeks.

From the bottom of everyone’s hearts in Kyegundo, and also in Kilung community, grateful thanks have gone to all of you who gave so generously and spontaneously.

April 28, 2010: YAKS NEEDED for Earthquake Relief!

Kilung Foundation is extending the relief effort to needy Kyegundo earthquake victims

for the next two to three years.

Our plan: To provide essential, nutritious milk products from Dzachuka to 50 Kyegu families for the next two to three years. We will do this in a sustainable way: by buying 100 yaks, grazing them on land provided by Kilung Monastery, cared for by several Kilung nomad families. Milk products will be trucked over to Kyegu twice a year, and delivered to the 50 families that our monastery team has identified as most needy, with the advice of Kyegu community leaders and elders. Two yaks needed for each family.

How you can help: Buy a yak!

Two yaks = $880

One yak = $440

1/2 share in a yak = $220

1/4 share in a yak = $110

Send a tax-deductible donation now for a yak, or for a

yak-share for earthquake relief that will sustain families through this difficult period…


The purchase of yaks to begin in early June before start of the summer milking season.

First dairy delivery to Kyegu: July 2010!

We already have funds for 11 Yaks!

Still needed: 89 yaks.

To sponsor a yak:

  1. Send a check to Kilung Foundation, PO Box 622, Langley, WA 98260. See form below.
  2. Or, click here to use your credit card —

Email us for more information: tibet@kilung.org

All donations tax-deductible. We will send a tax receipt.

Kilung Foundation

360-341-4184 • PO Box 622, Langley, WA 98260

More about Yaks for Earthquake Relief

Rich nourishment. Dairy products from the high grasslands of Dzachuka, where Kilung is located, are famous for being extra-nutritious and rich. The yaks there graze on an amazing amalgum of fragrant medicinal and flowering herbs at an altitude of 14,000 feet. Kyegu, on the other hand, is located at 12,000 feet, in a different climate and growing zone. Bringing the cheese, butter, milk, and yogurt from Dzachuka is a high-essence and nourishing gift indeed!

Benefiting Kilung community, too. In addition to helping the earthquake families, our plan will benefit Kilung nomads in several ways—helping to restock the yak population which is still recovering from the snowstorm of 2008; encouraging the traditional Tibetan way of life; after Kyegu families are on their feet again, the milk products will go to Kilung community and monastery; as backup resource for future emergencies in the area.

Animal Saving. When you donate toward these yaks, you are also saving their lives. All yaks purchased for Kyegu earthquake survivors will be tagged with a special marker that lets everyone know they will never be killed. This is an ancient Tibetan and Buddhist practice of releasing animals from harm. Throughout Tibet, it is known that tagged animals, even if found accidentally wandering about, have been saved in this way. Great merit and positive karma are believed to result from this practice. Dedicating this action toward someone’s difficult life circumstances, shared with all beings, results in positive effect.

Form if sending donation by post mail:

Yaks for Earthquake Relief

Name _________________________________________________

Address ______________________________________________________________________

E-mail and/or Phone ___________________________________________________________

I would like to help provide nourishing dairy products with:

□ $880 for 2 yaks for one needy Kyegu earthquake family

□ $440 for 1 yak

□ $220 for 1/2 yak share

□ $110 for 1/4 yak share

□ $ ________ toward the yak purchase of the 100 milking yaks (any amount)

My check is enclosed □ (send to Kilung Foundation, PO Box 622, Langley, WA 98260)

Please dedicate saving this yak’s life for _______________________________________________

(name of person or other purpose)


April 25, 2010

SUCCESS! Kilung Earthquake Relief Effort

Thank you one and all!

reliefThe outpouring from around the world was tremendous. Kilung Rinpoche’s vision fulfilled: Our friends in the wide world did become one warm heart to help raise the hopes of the devastated people of Kyekudo for their future. We exceeded our goal! (see below)

Our team of Kilung monks, community members, and friends from Chinese cities tirelessly brought Tibetan food and goods to Kyeku (Yushu), distributing relief in three days to over 2,000 striken individuals, including Tibetans, Chinese, and Muslims. The milk products, tsampa, and tea were enough to feed each person for 12 days. We also gave out ceramic bowls, lighters, candles, water, teakettles, soap, and first aid supplies.

The recipients were more than thrilled to receive healthy Tibetan food. Many of them pleaded for extra packages for those who couldn’t leave their tents. There were many grateful reports that our trucks were the only going to the far corners of the encampment grounds, serving folks who had previously received fewer supplies and food than others in the camp. While there was some other tsampa being distributed in Kyeku, we heard there were no other milk products, and so ours were received with resounding joy. When other NGOs heard about our butter and cheese packages, they were inspired.

See more compelling photos by team member Trindar Getse showing the process from packing up food in Dzachuka, to delivery to outstretched hands and hearts in Kyeku.

reliefThe day after the earthquake, as Kilung Rinpoche and i were conceiving this plan, we gulped at the thought of raising the $32,000 needed, wondering if enough donors would answer the call. But the emergency nature of the situation required us to take a leap of faith…and did you ever deliver! In one week, we not only made the goal, but exceeded it: Over $38,000 was sent or pledged. We just can’t thank you enough!

Some of the surplus money will make possible a second trip to Kyeku with additional tsampa (barley flour), already ordered and milled for us. Another buying trip is needed to Ganze for the small camping stoves on our original delivery list.

Deep gratitude to everyone, for the myriad of ways that you have made a difference for the people of Kyeku in time of dire need.


Diane Berger

Kilung Foundation

Whidbey Island, Washington

On Facebook: Kilung Foundation Earthquake Relief Effort on FACEBOOK

April19th 2010

Kyeku Earthquake Relief Update: Nearly accomplished!

Dear Friends,

Thanks to you, the response has been absolutely tremendous and unprecedented! Donors from near and far have sent or pledged $25,700 to help the devastated people of Kyekudo, Kham. We’re getting very close to our goal of $32,000 for local Tibetan food and supplies. Only $6,300 still needed. Please continue to spread the word about our relief action. See below for Facebook, website, and photos links.

The Kilung trucks full of rescue help left Dzachuka for Kyeku, last night, a day later than originally planned. A crew of 15 most-capable monks and laypeople worked without stopping for three days and all through the last night to procure food and supplies from Dzachuka, cut and package butter and cheese, and organize details. They all drove together in two large rented trucks and other jeeps. Word as of now, after the 5-hour drive and a short sleep outside town, they entered very early this morning. They were able to get past the restricted access area, and within two hours, they began distributing the food packages and goods. While Kilung Rinpoche was speaking by phone from across the world to one of his monks, Gonpo, he could hear the crowd in the background. One of our crew asked them if they had received any Tibetan food yet. There was a resounding group answer: No! Rinpoche could hear the enthusiasm in their voices to receive this food, and one woman asking for extra tsampa.

Our team has been driving around the area to find people in the greatest need, those who were stuck in a spot inconvenient from the center where most food was being distributed. To distribute all the food and items, at least two days will be needed. Afterwards, they’ll be returning to Dzachuka to pick up more freshly milled tsampa; the camping stoves will need to come from Xining, and research is being done to locate those.

Additional crew members from China who are Kilung supporters will be meeting our team in Kyeku. They have traveled from all areas to Xining, and are driving the two days to Kyeku to help with the distribution of food and goods, in addition to other items they are personally bringing, such as clothing, blankets, and more food. Others working with us include: one Kyekupa army soldier, a distant relative of Rinpoche’s, is giving local advice and help; and two local Kyeku friends volunteered to join the crew.

Not only is the food we’re providing Tibetan, but it was purchased (or donated) locally from Tibetans. So, the economy of the relief food purchases stayed local, reflecting the benefit back to Tibetan families. The butter and cheese came from local yaks, and the tsampa from Tibetan barley (at a somewhat lower elevation than Dzachuka). Tsampa is a nutritious whole grain (roasted barley flour) and is traditionally eaten mixed with hot tea, butter, and dried cheese. So, the food being delivered at this moment (as i write), is a nutritious package deal, and very much Tibetan comfort food.
On Facebook: Kilung Foundation Earthquake Relief Effort on FACEBOOK

Some very affecting photos of Kyeku people and town after the earthquake can be found at these two links. These photos will bring the experience much, much closer.

Click here to donate by PayPal. Or, send check to Kilung Foundation, PO Box 622, Langley, WA 98260.
For quick updates, check the Facebook page.

Multitudes of thanks, from Kilung Rinpoche and everyone associated with Kilung Foundation, Kilung Monastery, and the people of Kyeku,

Diane Berger

Managing Director

April15th 2010

Kyeku Earthquake

Dear Friends,

As you know, Tibet had a devastating earthquake yesterday, in a place called Kyekudo [Kyeku, Yushu]. As this place is quite close to Dzachuka, Kilung Monastery and Kilung Foundation are launching a relief effort to help. We would like to ask you to join us.

Kilung Rinpoche has been in close contact with friends in Kyeku, almost from the moment the 6.9 quake struck. Local word has it that over a thousand have lost their lives. Also, according to official reports, 10,000 were injured, and 90 percent of buildings collapsed, including schools, the main hospital, and some monasteries. The temps are around freezing, normal for this time of year in Kyeku at around 12,000 ft. altitude.

Here is a message from Kilung Rinpoche:

Last night i talked to families in Kyeku. It is a very challenging moment for them. So many people are in emergency and sad situations. They’ve been without enough warm food for long enough so that particularly many children and elders are already feeling weak and sick. There are supplies coming from individuals, organizations, and government agencies. But what they really need is the wholesome Tibetan food that they are accustomed to eating, and that makes them feel better, gives some comfort and strength for their life, to help them survive.

I really want to do something about this situation and lighten such a difficult moment in their lives. I hope our friends in the wide world can became one warm heart to help raise the hopes of these people for their future. Please help and work together.

Will you help? Here is our plan:

Feeding 2,000 people for 12 days with familiar Tibetan staples, and providing some basics for cooking:

  • butter, cheese, tsampa, tea
  • tea kettles, small camping stoves, bowls
  • flashlights, candles, lighters
  • soap, first aid

Delivery Time Goal: Sunday, April 18, 2010…three days from this writing, to deliver food and supplies to Kyeku.

Dzachuka community members, including Kilung monks and nomads, are onboard for preparing packages of the food, procuring food and other items from Dzachuka, Golok and Ganze.

Funds required: $32,000

  • Kilung Foundation has earmarked $2,000 from its Victorious Mountain Retreat Campaign fund as a start.
  • Rinpoche is contacting his friends and students worldwide to contribute.
  • Local Dzachukans will also contribute: with money, food, labor, transportation, and in some cases, by bringing displaced Kyerku folks into their homes.Please join us in helping with the relief effort by swiftly contributing to this emergency fund.

Ways to send funds:

  1. Send a check to Kilung Foundation, PO Box 622, Langley, WA 98260
  2. Go to our website to use your credit card.
  3. Email us your pledge, and send money later.

More details and reports:

For some of us who have been to Tibet with Rinpoche, this story is more immediate. Many of us have been to this town, for shopping and staying overnight while enroute elsewhere. I’ve spent time in two hospitals there, and know the one that collapsed: a huge building many stories high, fairly modern. Even the beautiful modern hotel was flattened. Imagine only 10 percent of buildings still standing.

Good news: Tsele Khandro Ani Gonpa (nunnery) is just fine, and no one with serious injuries. This is quite tremendous. A large group of us visited it in 2007, and it sits on the most amazingly spectacular cliffside, views of snow mountains…if ever there was “precarious,” this is it!

Terrible news: Thrangu Monastery was destroyed, with many monks killed. Their monastery was being rebuilt through the efforts of Thrangu Rinpoche, whose seat has been in Nepal for many years. He is a very well-known Kagyu lama, with large numbers of students and centers throughout the world. This is a great sadness for many.

Rinpoche heard some dramatic stories. One family distantly related to Kilung Rinpoche was in their home when the earthquake hit. After the house collapsed on top of them, the middle-aged son, still conscious, noticed a hole above his head. He shouted for help; people responded and began digging them out. During the one hour or so of that, he yelled to his elderly mother to hold on, that help was on its way. They were able to pull out his father, and himself, but by the time they got to his mom, she had already died of injuries or lack of oxygen. Their two children were still on their way to school, and so were unscathed. Rinpoche’s brother brought the kids to stay with his family in Sershul while their father, though injured, attends to the situation in Kyeku.

One young Kilung couple was at the above-mentioned hospital with their child. When the quake struck, they were lucky enough to run out of the building, all three of them making it out alive. The mom ran out carrying her IV drip! Another young family from Ponru community was in the same hospital, and not so lucky. They were buried by the collapse. The young woman was dug out still alive, terribly injured, while her husband and child died. Another young Dzachuka couple from Gegung had come to the hospital because of a complicated childbirth. The mother was crushed by the hospital’s collapse, and they haven’t been able yet to find the father and newborn baby.

Sincere thanks for your kind participation in helping Tibetans recover from this terrible disaster,

Diane Berger

Managing Director

Kilung Foundation

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