NYEMA Projects, Inc.

History of NYEMA

The story of NYEMA begins in Nangchen, eastern Tibet, in 1982, the year  Lama Norlha Rinpoche was asked by the leaders of the monastery in which he received his own monastic training to help them rebuild. Korche, like many other monasteries, had been razed during the Cultural Revolution, and reconstructing it was insurmountably difficult without outside help. Lama Norlha Rinpoche made his first visit to Nangchen from his exile in the United States in 1984.

In the years since, he has worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for Nangchen residents and to help them restore their cultural heritage. Between 1982 and 1995, he rebuilt Korche Monastery (pictured above) and established a monastery for nuns, a rarity in male-dominated Nangchen, at the sacred site of Kala Rongo. In 1996, Lama Norlha Rinpoche and another Nangchen native, Dr. Pema Dorje, obtained permission to establish a primary school for children who would otherwise have grown up illiterate.

Riding the tidal wave of these successes, Lama Norlha Rinpoche and Dr. Dorje together founded the Nangchen Yushu Educational and Medical Association (NYEMA), a non-profit organization with the mission of establishing schools and medical clinics in Nangchen, reviving its cultural and monastic legacy, and improving the standard of living in this impoverished region.

Since its founding 10 years ago, NYEMA has succeeded admirably in these goals, as our timeline illustrates. The next phase of our work will be to help the institutions NYEMA has created to become self-sustaining.

Clearly, none of these remarkable accomplishments could have been achieved without the help of NYEMA's very generous supporters. Once again, on behalf of those people in Nangchen whom all of you are benefiting, "Thank you!"  

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(Updated 2/22/08)