Research has shown that more and more charities are in the process of transforming into social enterprises, meaning that they begin to generate income in order to become independent and able to fund themselves. One great example of this development is the Tibetan NGO LOVEQTRA.
The organisation works primarily in the Qinghai Province, which is located on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in Northwest China. They focus on nomadic Tibetan people, who suffer from harsh living conditions and live in isolation. The NGO applies a two-step approach, the first step being intervention, followed by active support.
What LOVEQTRA does
The organisation’s vision is:
“Transforming Generations, Restoring Lives through Transforming Minds, Restoring Hearts. Our mission is to execute justice for the oppressed, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, set free the prisoners, lift up the bowed down, and uphold the fatherless and the widow. LOVEQTRA’s flagship Operation W.O.R.T.H. centers on Women Oppressed by & Redeemed from Traditional Hegemony (W.O.R.T.H.)”
One program they focus on is “Girls at Risk”, where they help girls and women to break free from the vicious cycle of poverty, oppression and desperation. To learn more about “Girls at Risk”, please visit their website >>
A second area of the NGO’s focus is emergency medical relief. They support families and individuals who are unable to pay for emergency medical treatment. This program is co-run by a group of foreign experts who are working in Xining’s Red Cross Hospital and who raised funds and work separately to partner with LOVEQTRA. To learn more about the emergency medical relief program, please visit their website >>
LOVEQTRA’s third focus is on disaster relief. When disasters strike, speed is the key to be able to rescue those who can still be saved. The organisation provides speedy medical care to the injured as well as food, water and shelter to the survivors. LOVEQTRA tries to support disaster stroke communities alongside the government and the Red Cross, aiding them in their relief work and helping to catch at least some of those who fall through the cracks. To learn more about the disaster relief program, please visit their website >>
How LOVEQTRA is trying to become more self-sufficient
In order to wean off 100% reliance on donors, LOVEQTRA decided to expand into a Social Enterprise. They have looked for ways to make themselves more self-sufficient and decided to initially expand into two main directions: becoming a simple youth hostel/guest house as well as a vegetarian restaurant and Tibetan tea house.
In order to run these operations, LOVEQTRA will train and employ some of the girls from the “Girls at Risk” program to oversee and manage the hostel, take care of facilities and keep the tidy. Those who are currently learning to cook will work in the tea house and prepare vegetarian dishes that appeal to those in the Tibetan community who, due to their beliefs, are vegetarian.
These initiatives will provide safe outlets for the older girls who can then begin to use the skills they gained in the vocational training center. Both the hostel and the tea house are in one building and will showcase some of the art works and handicrafts of the girls.
This program is still just a pilot project and will be rolled out in Dari (Darlag) County Town. If reasonably successful, LOVEQTRA plans to duplicate it in other Tibetan areas such as Yushu.
I believe that this is an interesting example of how pure charities begin to establish more self-sufficient operations in order to become more independent from donors. It will be exciting to see how this trend develops in the future!