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Lokunphen Newsletter Spring-2007 ISSUE-3

After an immense amount of bureaucracy and effort, this year has finally seen the establishment of Lo Kunphen as a registered vocational school under the national Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT). Lo Kunphen is now the only institution in Nepal offering the formal qualifications known as Kanjinpa (equivalent to an Assistant Health Worker) and Durapa (equivalent to a Community Medical Assistant - the nearest thing to a doctor that most rural villages have immediate access to).For the students this means that their studies will now give them recognised status alongside government community health workers. The school also takes every opportunity to enable the students to learn additional skills to complement their knowledge of amchi medicine. For example, some of the senior girls undertook an intensive three-day informal course on safe motherhood, learning the basics of safe pregnancy and childbirth (nutrition and hygiene), how to recognise the danger signs that indicate a pregnant woman needs specialised help, and how to access that help. This is important as many mothers die in childbirth in these remote areas. Another group studied massage therapies with a practitioner in Kathmandu. These skills can be combined with use of herbal medicines. In March the first group of students will take the first year CTEVT exams, along with the mainstream class 10 exam. This senior group of nine students has already been doing clinical practice for two years at three village clinics established with funding from Drokpa, a US based charity. Lo Kunphen is concerned about conservation issues, and is working to raise awareness locally about sustainable management and harvesting of the medicinal herbs, and to introduce and plant more herbs. They have established a small museum at the school and a greenhouse. The theme for this third Lo Kunphen newsletter is the environment, with students of the top classes, who are nearing the end of their studies, writing something about the medicinal plants of Mustang and the environment of Pokhara, the lowland town where they have their winter school when it is too cold to study in upper Mustang.

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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.