Help a Tibetan college girl

I (Zoe Tribur) am a linguistics graduate student at the University of Oregon. It has been my great fortune to be able to work with the Tibetan language and live and work with wonderful people in the Amdo region in western China. Years ago while preparing for fieldwork I became acquainted with a unique group of high school students at Qinghai Normal University in Xining. These were the hand-picked students of the English Training Program, Tibetans and Mongolian students who were intensively studying English and also learning how to do such amazing things as write and publish books, organize summer schools, film movies and record albums. During this time I met gYu Lha (Chinese name, Yi Na), a young woman from Sichuan who is without a doubt one of the sharpest, most hard-working people I've ever met. English was her fourth language, so with so much linguistic experience under her belt and I shouldn't have been surprised by how facilely she picked it up. Like all of her classmates in this extraordinary program, gYu Lha had aspirations of going to college and doing great things. Sadly, in 2008 the program was re-classified from high school to a BA, the class that was scheduled to graduate that year, gYu Lha's class, were accidentally left without recourse to enter college. gYu Lha continued to work with her teachers on language and enthological projects, as well as continuing to work on her English. Her teachers also worked frantically during this time to find some way for her to move forward with her formal education. While all this was going on, young gYu Lha researched and wrote a book--in English!--about her home community. It is called Warming Your Hands With Moonlight ( A book like this, written from the perspective of an insider with formal training is invaluable. gYu Lha's community speaks a small, endangered language and practices a way of life that is unique and wonderful. In 2013, professors and administrators at the University of Oregon put together a scholarship to bring gYu Lha to Eugene. She just completed her first year at UO's Clark Honors College. This amazing gift that the UO has offered gYu Lha guarantees her education and successful fundraising last year by her friends provided enough money to cover her living expenses and books in Eugene. Now, we, her friends, are fundraising again to make sure that the next three years will be free of financial pressure for gYu Lha so that she can focus all of her energy and intelligence on achieving her goals. Below I've included a statement by her.

"As a young girl, I clearly remember standing in our doorway, seeing our sheep scattered on the mountaintops, and wondering how I could collect them. Luckily, I was clever enough to devise a simple method to do this. I stealthily climbed above the sheep and then jumped out from behind a bush, screaming. The sheep then ran straight home, all by themselves. I also created a shortcut for bringing the yaks home. Observing how the yaks ran to my mother whenever she scattered salt, I picked up handfuls of snow and scattered it, luring the yaks home. Born into this agro-pastoralist family I had experienced the difficult lives of both a nomad and a farmer since my father was taken by a car accident before I could even toddle. When I was three, I could help my mother do such housework as churning milk into butter, kindling the fire, preparing tea, and herding sheep. These experiences equipped me with good problem solving abilities. At the age five, I was betrothed to a neighboring family’s son, since I was the oldest child in the family. Here was one problem I could not solve. Fortunately, the national policy of Nine Years Compulsory Schooling changed my life. I had to attend school, otherwise we would have been charged 5,000 RMB (then about 700$) – an unimaginable amount of money for my impoverished family. I studied harder than my classmates since I knew that my chance of attending school was almost taken away. I was always the best student in my class and therefore was designated the study model, meaning I had to help struggling students with their studies. I therefore developed my leadership qualities of decision-making and interpersonal skills in my early childhood. With the qualifications and recognition I had gained, I was promoted to the English Training Program (ETP) at Qinghai Normal University where I was taught the importance of one’s identity and culture. In particular, I developed an interest in the interface between management and the success of sustainable development. Meanwhile, I had the chance to manage and implement several projects. From 2009 to 2011, I worked on my book Warming Your Hands With Moonlight, about village oral traditions, funded by the World Oral Literature Project at Cambridge University to preserve endangered oral cultures. From the grant application to the final report, I managed the entire project: field research plans; collecting, sorting and analyzing raw data; scheduling drafts and meetings with editors; and so on. I also managed several community service projects, including a second-hand clothing project. Through these projects, I realized the importance of my community and started to think of solving bigger problems than I once did when herding sheep. Today, my community faces many challenges and needs my help. Villagers are impoverished, and our unique local language and culture are endangered. The young generations prefer to leave for the outside world since there is lack of career prospects in the region. The loss of our language and community poverty are related, since villagers currently spend much time outside the village, speaking other languages and learning new habits, in order to earn income. I therefore, hope to earn a BA on linguistic major and an NGO management minor at University of Oregon under Robert D. Clark Honors College. I will establish my own grassroots NGO with the knowledge and skills I will gain from this degree. My organization will focus on sustainable livelihoods that can be pursued in the village, such as handicrafts, so that my community can maintain our unique local traditions, including our language, while also raising our standard of living and protecting the local environment."  --gYu Lha


  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 66 mos
  • Rushton Hurley 
    • $25 
    • 67 mos
  • Dechen Tenzin 
    • $15 
    • 68 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $15 
    • 69 mos
  • Sarah S 
    • $20 
    • 70 mos
See all


Zoe Tribur 
Eugene, OR
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