Yushu orphans

Wangdrak Rinpoche with orphan in April 2010.

An earthquake of magnitude 6.9 struck Yushu County in southern Qinghai province on April 14, 2010. The capital of Yushu (Tibetan: Jyekundo) was flattened by its overwhelming force. According to the Xinhua News Agency, 2,698 people were confirmed dead and over 12,000 were injured in the area.

In the days after the earthquake people requested Wangdrak Rinpoche to take care of the orphaned children left behind. In total, Rinpoche pledged his guardianship of over 30 young orphans between the ages of 6 months and 12. Some children have since been absorbed back into their extended families, so that today there are 21 children under Rinpoche’s care.

Awang serving lunch in the orphans’ home.

Today 17 of these children live in a rented apartment in Yushu and are cared for by Awang and Choden, a Tibetan couple who have been at their sides since 2010. Four live in school dormitories. Wangdrak Rinpoche provides for their material needs with the help of people like you.

Seven years after the Yushu earthquake the small city has been rebuilt as a dazzling hub of tourism and Tibetan modernity, but the character of the Tibetan trading town that it used to be will never be the same. Tibetans are now pursuing modern livelihoods and social roles in the rapidly developing economy. Amidst these changes, our orphans are regularly attending government schools and adjusting to the new direction of their own futures.

The crucial need: scholarships

When the children reach year 10 of their education, they move away from home to a dormitory at the higher secondary school in Yushu. After 3 years there, they move to universities in the provincial capital of Xining where they study for 4 more years. After that they will find independence by working in the government, schools or businesses. It is thus our mission to see the children through these two levels of higher education, all the while nurturing them in their home Tibetan culture.

Orphans’ picnic, Aug 2017. Photo: Diane Barker.

Each year a handful of our children graduate to higher secondary school and need scholarships to continue. A scholarship covers all the needs of the child for a year: tuition & fees, room & board, medicine, clothing and transport.

Higher Secondary scholarship per year:
AUD $1300 / US$1000 / £750
University scholarship per year:
AUD $3000 / US$2350 / £1700

No donation is too small towards a scholarship. Where a donation does not match the full cost of a scholarship, it will be put together with others to cover one child. Please email info@gebchakgonpa.org with any questions you may have.

To the future. Photo: Diane Barker

Thank you to all the supporters around the world who have reached out over the years with prayers and vital ongoing donations to foster these orphans!

Online donations of any amount for the Yushu orphans’ scholarships can be made below via PayPal.com using your PayPal account, or with a regular credit or debit card. (For cards, look for the small credit card logo on the left hand side after after clicking the yellow Donate button.) Australian and US donors, please see below.


Australian donors: for donations in $AUD please visit www.gebchakrigpaharsey.org.


USA donors: for tax deductible donations please go here.