Lokunphen Newsletter Spring-2008 ISSUE-4

Once again, the Lo Kunphen annual school newsletter contains a mixture of news, photographs and selected pieces of writing and artwork from the students. A few of the highlights for this year are:

Film: Lo Kunphen was included in a film made by the UK company, Keo films, shown on BBC Channel four. It was based on the travels of twin British doctors around the world and their exploration of different forms of medicine. As a thank you for the time and effort contributed by Lo Kunphen, Keo films gave a donation for building a modern suite of toilets at the school.

Conservation: Lo Kunphen has become involved with the Sowa Rigpa Conservation Project, funded by UNDP under the Global Environment Fund (GEF) Small Grants Programme, in partnership with the Himalayan Amchi Association (HAA), of which Amchis Tenzin and Gyatso are active members. The project runs from April 2007 to February 2010, focusing on conservation of mountain plants and promoting:
• Plant cultivation, conservation and research
• Health care and education for local people
• Marketing and income generation for local people
The school is overseeing new medicinal plant cultivation plots as part of the project, expanding the conservation work they began in a small way some years ago, with the help of Professor Watanabe from Japan.

Foreign travel: Amchi Tenzin visited the UK to fundraise for the school, and was invited to give two lectures on amchi medicine, one at Oxford University to an audience of interested anthropology academics. The visit was coordinated by Charles Ramble, renowned anthropologist and Tibet expert based at Oxford University. Amchi Tenzin also had the privilege of meeting His Holiness the Dalai Lama on a recent visit to India.

Clinical services: The three village clinics, opened in May 2004 to supplement the main Lo Kunphen clinic, with funding from Drokpa (USA), have continued to provide services to village people and an opportunity for clinical practice for the senior students. The three clinics see approximately 1,500 patients per year between them, from a wide geographic area within Mustang and across the border in Tibet. Only a minimal fee is charged for medicines, enough to enable Lo Kunphen to replenish supplies but not to generate a profit or pay for thetime of the amchi. Sienna Craig, professor in the Department
of Anthropology at Dartmouth College, USA, is working on a research project to analyse use of medicines. Sienna is also a
founder member of Drokpa and has visited Nepal twice during the year for meetings with Amchis Gyatso and Tenzin and the HAA to support her research and help Lo Kunphen and the HAA plan and develop their clinical work.

Amchi study: The first group of students have completed the academic part of the new kangjinpa (or Community Medical Assistant, CMA) course, sitting the exam in March. They now have to complete nine months of clinical practice before their for himself, just for us Kunsang Lodoe Gurung, Class 8 He was Prince of Shudhodhan Who went out to learn The knowledge of spiritualism Not just for himself but for us He wanted us to be free From sorrow and pain Could you just agree For truth's gain? final graduation. Curriculum and text books are being developed for the next level of study , the durapa course.

Restructuring: The school still has around 30 students, ranging in age from around 11 to 21 years, but has restructured slightly. It is now divided into two sections, one for the junior classes, studying the mainstream Nepali curriculum, from grades one to eight, with Tibetan and an introduction to amchi medicine for the older groups; and the other for those studying the registered kangjinpa amchi medicine course in grades nine and ten. To study the kangjinpa course students must have passed the standard grade 8 examination and the kangjinpa entrance examination.


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We believe amchi medicine emphasises disorders as they
manifest in the relationship between body, mind and soul, especially on the mind aspect of disorders. For Sowa Rigpa practitioners and followers of Buddhism, ignorance is the root cause of all diseases.
Lo Kunphen aims to provide a culturally appropriate free education and professional opportunities to children from poor families in mountain communities, and in particular to maintain and develop the tradition of amchi (Tibetan) medicine. Donations are welcome.