Newsletter Summer 2006
Grand Opening: Shangri-La Women’s Development Center 2006
Building funds provided by Hong Kong Federation of Women and Ms. Pansy Ho
25 members of the Hong Kong Federation of Women came to Shangri-La to celebrate the opening of the “Shangri-La Women’s Development Center” in August 2006. Mrs. Peggy Lam, chairperson of the HKFW and Mrs. Betty Tung (wife of former Chief Executive of Hong Kong, chairwoman of “Good Citizens Committee” and several important NGO’s in Hong Kong and well known for her charitable community service activities) lead the Hong Kong team on this ground breaking trip. The generous donation made by Ms. Pansy Ho through the HKFW to rent and renovate a facility dedicated to women’s handicraft training was celebrated with great ceremony and warm speeches by Shangri-La’s Governor Qi Zhala, Mrs. Lam, Mrs. Tung, Carter Malik and Pansy Ho. Friends of Yunnan Mountain Heritage Foundation from Shangri-La were also present for the ceremony. Tibetan folk artist, Cairan Dan and his accompanist Neema, as well as female vocalists from the A Bing dance troupe performed traditional Tibetan songs. Women artisans from Hamagu and Kanzisie villages brought hand made yak and sheep wool handicrafts for exhibition. A Yi artisan sold her traditional lacquer tableware. Three local Tibetan women artisans brought hand made goods from the collection of clothing and accessories they are developing. Yunnan Mountain Heritage Foundation also featured Tibetan pottery and hand woven table runners designed by Mrs. Malik and other crafts made to order from nearby villages to promote work of local artisans. The generous donation to YMHF which allowed Mrs. Malik to rent and renovate of the lovely traditional Tibetan house in the heart of the Dukezhong Old Town was met with enthusiasm by all. Yunnan Mountain Heritage Foundation will be responsible for administration, project development and management in this new home for women’s activities and Mrs. Malik took the opportunity to express her thanks to all who helped her during the previous weeks prepare for the opening. She also warmly thanked the Hong Kong Federation of Women and Ms. Pansy Ho for the donation.
Interns Spend the Summer 2006 in Shangri-La
Polytechnic University Interns
June, July and August were busy months in Shangri-La for YMHF. Hong Kong PolyTechnic University sent six interns from the Department of Social Work and their supervisor to Shangri-La this summer. They spent 10 weeks investigating lifestyles and tourism impact in the area. One team worked in and around the Old Town interviewing tourists, local businesses and shop keepers, and residents. The second team went out to meet rural women in nearby villages to take oral histories and explore lifestyle of residents in Shangri-La and near-by towns. The reports that these students compiled during their stay in Shangri-La will be used as background research to help develop YMHF projects in the coming months. Their personal experiences and academic understanding provided lots of interesting insights. Many thanks to Mavis, Phoebe, Shan, Rebecca, Joyce and Jackie for a job well done! And especially to Fanny whose guidance and supervision gave the students courage to carry on in sometimes trying circumstances and made the final reporting an academic success.
YMHF Interns Natalie and Eric
Natalie Kwan and Eric Cheng spent the summer in Shangri-La Dukezhong working on projects for Yunnan Mountain Heritage Foundation. Natalie graduated in May 2006 from The French International School, Hong Kong, with a International Baccalaureate degree, and Eric Cheng had just completed his third year at University of Toronto, when they joined Mrs. Malik and the Poly U students in Shangri-La. Natalie spent the first weeks of her stay teaching English and sports activities in local elementary schools. She also joined the Poly U students in their town and village activities learning much about the local lifestyle and making friends in Shangri-La. Eric joined the team a couple of weeks later and jumped in feet first to work on the renovation plans and interviewing contractors for the work on the Women’s Center building. Mrs. Malik commended the two saying, “We remember only too well what a shambles the building housing the Center was in when you first arrived in Shangri-La. That we could successfully open the Center, within budget and on time for the opening ceremony to be officiated by Mrs. Betty Tung, Ms. Pansy Ho and delegates from Hong Kong Federation of Women, was itself both a miracle and a testament to our team’s ability and commitment. It was no easy feat to rush to complete the building renovations and to organize the official opening within a fortnight after the much-needed funds arrived.” These two talented and energetic students contributed much to the summer’s successes: from taking the measurements for the floor plan to collecting and setting out the handicraft items for the Opening; from scrubbing floors and moving furniture to mobilizing the craftswomen to demonstrate their skills at the Opening, assisting with necessary translations in liaising with local Government and contributing to the design, writing and production of the official YMHF brochure to introduce our new Center. Eric and Natalie lived in the old town in Hazel’s Guesthouse, a local backpacker’s lodge. They made many friends in the community including visiting students, villagers, school children and of course with the crew at the Women’s Center.