An advocate for indigenous peoples, the TTF responded immediately to new requests for funding by organizing a donor trip. With the permission of the Bhutanese government, a small group of committed and influential advisors and donors traveled five days to reach the Monpa in the secluded Black Forest. In the evening, we hosted a community meal and served everyone in the tribe. In appreciation, the Monpa entertained the travelers with a cultural performance of traditional songs and dance. Our deeply personal interactions inspired the participants and revitalized the endangered indigenous culture. As the Monpa Lama Dophu stated, “If it wasn’t for the Tribal Trust Foundation, we would have lost our culture by now. But there is still work to do.”
At the request of the Monpa, this year’s trip donation will establish a heritage museum and a pilot activity to domesticate some of the herbs the Traditional Healer, to be used as medicine, with the intention to preserve the indigenous healing tradition in the long run. Next year’s cultural preservation project is already identified - the Monpa have requested funding for an annual event to celebrate their culture. We are pleased to announce that the first Monpa Day is scheduled for December 10, 2019.
Bhutan: Photographing Happiness
For more than thirty years, Barry Shaffer has been a dentist, an educator, an international volunteer, a parent and a photographer. His experiences in all of these areas taught him that most people, whether they are anonymous individuals from the most remote corners of the globe or well-known Hollywood celebrities, share the same needs and have strikingly similar hopes, dreams and desires. With his photography, he strives to convey this human universality. By making his photographs and professional skills available to nonprofit organizations, he hopes to engender better understanding among people, help those struggling for life's basic needs and do his small part to create a better planet. Click here to visit his website.