By Vibeke Dahl23. January 2014 10:43
"Rokpa in Tibetan means to 'help' or to 'serve'"
I recently discovered that the President of the Tibetan charity I support- has died. Dr Akong Rinpoche was killed in China in October 2013 just as he was setting off to distribute ROKPA's annual funds to all of the charity's projects. He was killed by individuals who knew him and knew about the money in his possession- Rinpoche gave up his life, rather than hand over the money to his attackers. His death is a tragedy. Rinpoche is not only the founder of ROKPA, but he also set up the first Bhuddist temple in the UK; Scotland's Samye Ling, he pioneered Tara Therapy and dedicated his life to social, environmental and humanitarian projects towards the eradication of poverty in some of the world's most deprived places.
Rokpa aim's is to assist people in need wherever necessary, regardless of religion or culture, most of its work is focused in the hard to reach Tibetan areas of china and nepal. There are also AIDs family support programmes in Zimbabwe and South Africa and soup kitchens that operate as far away as villages in India to Poland, Belgium and Scotland. Rokpa follows a philosophy of; 'help those in need to help themselves', and with that ethos has supported over two hundred projects proposed by local people in some of the worlld's most remote regions. One of Doctor Rinpoche's primary goals was to maintain Tibetan culture and traditions in the country. So Rokpa travelled to some of the poorest areas of Tibet setting up Schools, training teachers and supplying material in order for children to be educated from Primary to University level. Children are taught in the Tibetan language which is sadly under threat as the Chinese government regularly tries to replace it with Mandarin.
After I came back from India, seeing hungry children and poverty all around me, I was moved and inspired to give something back. Buddhist practice and philosophy led me to Rokpa and Dr Rinpoche is someone I have always respected. I also always admired founder Lea Wyler because she gave up a promising acting career to establish ROKPA and help the needy in any way that she could. Rokpa is made up of volunteers who work directly with local communities ensuring all the money raised goes straight to people who need it.
Now that ROKPA's co- founder and leader Dr Akong Rinpoche has died the charity needs support more than ever.
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