Warmth for the Winter
LWB has been providing warmth to children on the Tibetan plateau for over a decade, bringing new coats, blankets, and mattresses to thousands of children there. For our most recent project, LWB director Cindy Wu made the long journey to Zeku County, which is part of the Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous region in Qinghai province. Vast grasslands and pastures stretch as far as the eye can see, and earthen houses dot the villages.
While Denver might be known as the “mile high” city in the US, Zeku County can double that claim, as the primary and middle schools here are at a staggering 3700 meters or 12,139 feet! Snow falls even in the summer months at times, and in winter the temperatures reach a frigid minus 30.
Snow beginning to fall in August
Because of the hazardous conditions and long distances between homes, the majority of children in this region attend boarding schools. Many of them arrive with just the clothing on their backs as their families are unable to afford the essential supplies they need.
Thanks to Alternative Gifts International, whose annual catalog allows people to gift life-impacting items around the world, we were able to provide new coats and warm bedding to all the children at two Zeku County schools. 560 kids in total!
It is very important to us that these projects benefit not only the children in the region but also the local economy as well, so each year we partner with local sheepherders, wool makers, and tailors to make the bedding by hand. We thought you might like to see the process, as to make that many mattresses takes a whole lot of work.
First, we buy raw wool from the shepherds in the region.
Then the wool is bundled and loaded up on trucks.
Next it is time to clean the wool. The villagers start by digging a large hole in the ground.
The hole is lined with sheets of plastic to hold water and soap.
The wool is then divided and put into the water, and everyone walks around on it to get it washed.
The wet wool is then hung and spread at the roadside to dry. We made so many mattresses this year that the wool was even spread out at the school for drying.
Once the wool has dried, a village machine is used to process it into a usable form for mattresses
While the machine is rolling the wool, local cloth is purchased and the tailors get started making over 500 mattress covers.
Finally it’s time to distribute the mattresses and coats to the waiting students. That’s always a wonderful day.
The girls got right to work getting their dormitory beds all organized and arranged.
We send our deepest thanks to Alternative Gifts International for making this year’s coat and mattress project possible. Giving warmth sure is a wonderful thing when winter is on its way. We think this smile says it all!