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Lokunphen Newsletter Spring-2009 ISSUE-5

This has been another busy year for Lo Kunphen. The eight students in class 10 have been studying very hard for the end of course kangjinpa theory examination and their School Leaving Certificate (SLC), which they will sit in March/ April. After this they will undertake supervised clinical practice and sit the final kangjnpa examination, to qualify as amchis at the first level (equivalent to a Community Medical Assistant).

Conservation conference: Lo Kunphen has continued to work with the UNDP Global Environment Fund project for conservation of medicinal herbs, which is an important part of the school's work. This year, with UNDP support, Amchis Gyatso and Tenzin organised a conference and training session on growing and conserving medicinal plants in Upper Mustang. People from all the villages attended, and some of the senior Lo Kunphen students. The project complements Lo Kunphen's work as a school and provider of amchi services and medicines. It has raised local awareness about the need for conservation of medicinal plants and helped Lo Kunphen to increase the amount of medicine they make for thefour clinics. Currently they produce around 50 different types of medicine..

Visiting amchi: An experienced amchi from Dharamsala Mentshikhang came to the Global Environment conference and stayed in Mustang for four months, providing additional medical teaching to the kangjinpa students at Lo Kunphen. Research work: Sienna Craig, Assistant Professor at the Department of Anthropology, Dartmouth College, USA, visited the school and clinic in Lo Monthang and the three village clinics. This was part of her academic research work in amchi medicine and the support provided for the village clinics by Drokpa, the charity of which she is a founder member. Dream Flags Project: Lo Kunphen students took part in this international project, which is operated from the Agnes Irwin School in Rosemont, USA. It was inspired by the poetry of Langston Hughes and initiated in 2003. Students from all over the world study the Langston Hughes poem, Dream Keeper, write their own poems about their dreams for the future and print them on a piece of cloth with decorations. All the poems are displayed as flags, in the same way as Buddhist prayer flags, so that their hopes and dreams can fly out into the world. For more information visit the website www.dreamflags.org Dream Keeper by Langston Hughes Bring me your dreams and By bringing me your heart songs I'll roll them up in cloth of blue clouds, Stainless dreams, free from the rough fingers of the conditioned world I'll keep them well!

India: With representatives from HAA, Amchi Gyatso visited mentsikhangs in India to discuss new methods of making amchi medicines, using more local herbs instead of some of the imported products currently used. Possible registration of Lo Kunphen under the Central Council for Tibetan Medicine in India was also discussed.

USA: At the invitation of Sienna Craig, Amchi Tenzin visited the USA, where he gave lectures on Tibetan medicine, provided medical treatments and met a number of Tibetan and Nepali expatriates. It was a successful fundraising trip and the money raised will be used mainly for further development and support of the village amchi clinics.

Website: The Lo Kunphen website was completed (www.lokunphen.org.np) with links to donor/ partner websites. It is available as a resource for anyone in Nepal or abroad, making it easier for overseas supporters and potential donors to obtain information. German partnership: A new partnership has been established between Lo Kunphen and ARAGUA, a German organisation founded by Joerg Mangold, who has been sponsoring a student since he visited Mustang two years ago. ARAGUA plans to sponsor ten students next year as part of a long term partnership with Lo Kunphen.

Centre in Pokhara: A French donor has given money for building a centre in Pokhara, which is almost completed. It will become a permanent base for the winter school, and eventually for students at the next level of study, known as durrappa, which Lo Kunphen is working to establish within the next two years. Students who successfully achieve the kangjinpa qualification will then be able to study amchi medicine to diploma level.

UK: Amchi Tenzin visited the UK, as a guest of Professor Charles Ramble. He gave a lecture at Oxford University and SOAS and met with donors, KINOE trustees and others interested in amchi medicine.

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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.