Answers to frequently asked questions

How can I support ROKPA?

It is only with your support that ROKPA is able to assist people in need in remote regions of the world. There are many ways you can support us, for example through a one-time donation, or through collecting money for ROKPA at your workplace, or sponsoring a project or mentioning us in your will. Whatever the nature of your support, it is greatly appreciated. ROKPA is a non-profit organization and is therefore tax-exempted, and your contribution is tax-deductible.

There are lots of ways to support ROKPA:

  • financial donation (via payment slip, online banking, Paypal on our website, SMS, direct debit, standing order)
  • taking on the sponsorship of a project
  • leaving us a legacy
  • donation of your own personal time as volunteer (please contact the country representations for more information)
  • through Corporate Social Responsibility
  • buying products from our Women’s Workshop
  • buying calendars, DVDs and cards (e.g. combine gifts and donations with the ROKPA Christmas cards)
  • booking a room at the ROKPA Guest House for your next trip to Kathmandu
  • maybe you don’t yet know what you would like to have as a present for an upcoming birthday or anniversary? Follow the example of many of our donors, and have your family and friends make donations to ROKPA on your behalf
  • The loss of a loved one is a terrible suffering. You can establish a memorial for the deceased by continuing his or her social commitment with a donation of mourning for the benefit of ROKPA projects
  • Tell your friends about ROKPA

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any further questions you might have concerning donations, either by phone 044 262 68 88 or by e-mail info (at) rokpa.org.

What are the core tasks and competences of ROKPA?

With your donations, ROKPA assists children and adults living in poverty – in the Tibetan regions of China, Nepal, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

ROKPA

  • takes care of abandoned street children
  • protects orphans from a life of poverty
  • assists school children and students who live in poverty, or provides access to school education for children, thus giving them a better future
  • helps single-parent mothers to train for work
  • provides warm meals for the homeless
  • pays for life-saving surgery
  • contributes to preventing valuable medicinal plants from becoming extinct
  • preserves valuable Tibetan cultural heritage
  • promotes the maintenance of the Tibetan language and Traditional Tibetan Medicine (TTM)

Without financial support, this would not be possible. This is why we appreciate any donation, big or small.

Do I have a say in where my donation goes?

Our donors decide themselves whom they would like to help:

  • We are in close contact with the persons of our projects and we know where immediate help is needed. You thus enable us to act quickly and flexibly if you make a donation without any purpose limitation.
  • Does a specific project, topic or country appeal to you? Select it and your donation will be used to support in very targeted fashion the beneficiaries indicated by you.
  • ROKPA offers the option of project sponsorship, so that a prolonged commitment will have a greater effect. Select the one area which is particularly important to you.

What is the difference between ROKPA and other aid agencies?

ROKPA attaches great importance to the self-help approach. Education has proven to be the most efficient way of assisting people in need to escape the poverty trap and to protect themselves against being exploited and abused. This is why ROKPA, through our education schemes, prepares disadvantaged children and adults for a self-determined life and contributes to creating an optimum environment by means of social, medical and ecological projects.

As opposed to large aid organizations, ROKPA is not run by externally hired managers, but by the founders themselves – on a volunteer basis and with a great deal of commitment. Every year, ROKPA Vice President Lea Wyler and her team of long-term ROKPA representatives spend several months travelling, evaluating and promoting ROKPA projects. The aid provided by ROKPA is easily understandable. In short: ROKPA is a "hands-on aid organization", as stated by the star harp player and ROKPA ambassador Andreas Vollenweider.

ROKPA has an international network of qualified workers, volunteering their work and their knowledge. A large part of the work of ROKPA is done by volunteers. This allows ROKPA to use donation income directly and efficiently, and to keep administration costs at a low level. 

The commitment of ROKPA is supported by a great number of renowned individuals.

Why does ROKPA not offer any individual sponsorships? What is the difference between individual sponsorships and collective or project sponsorships respectively?

To protect children, ROKPA very deliberately does not offer individual children’s sponsorships, as recommended by ZEWO.

Your donations directly go to projects and theme sponsorships, to benefit not only a single child, but the entire environment.

How can I keep updated on the progress of individual projects?

ROKPA currently manages some 120 projects in the Tibetan regions of China, Nepal, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The main results of ROKPA assistance are published in the magazine ROKPA Times and the annual report – please refer to publications

You can subscribe to ROKPA Times and the annual report free of charge.  

As a project sponsor, you will receive an annual overview of achievements in the areas that you support, and you will be kept updated on the people whom we were able to help thanks to your contribution. Here you can find more information on our project sponsorships.

I would like to volunteer – does ROKPA offer such an opportunity? How do I get started?

There are hundreds of qualified volunteers supporting ROKPA by making available their time and professional knowledge free of charge. Be one of them – write to us!

For all vacancies, please have a look on our volunteering page >

If you haven't found anything there corresponding to your qualifications and wishes, please do write to us at info (at) rokpa.org.

As a volunteer, can I get a work certificate?

Yes. Volunteering promotes and challenges your capabilities and competences. It will open up new perspectives for your own life and work.

ROKPA will thus provide you with a certificate confirming your volunteer work, so that you have proof of your commitment, if you need it for a potential employer.

Does ROKPA have the ZEWO certification?

In 2016, ROKPA has decided to end its 12 year-long cooperation with the ZEWO certification organization. The combination of strategic planning and operative project work through the decades-long tireless dedication of ROKPA’s president and co-founder Lea Wyler is a necessity for our organization; would however no longer be possible under the legal guidelines of ZEWO. The use of donated funds will of course further on be reviewed yearly by external auditors.

Is my donation tax-deductible?

Donations to ROKPA are tax-deductible in many countries, including UK and USA. If you are not sure about your country, please message us.

In Switzerland, donations are tax-deductible with regard to the direct federal tax as well as with regard to the cantonal and community tax declaration, for private individuals and corporations. For this purpose you will receive from us a donation receipt, either upon request or usually by February of the following year.

Will my address be passed on to other aid organizations?

No. Your personal data will be treated confidentially and will not be passed on by us to other aid organizations or corporations. For more information, please have a look at our privacy statement >

Why is ROKPA working in Africa?

Over the years, the students of Dr. Akong Tulku Rinpoche, co-founder of ROKPA, have come to know ROKPA and our work better, and have wished to become part of ROKPA and to assist people under the patronage of ROKPA.

His students in South Africa and Zimbabwe said: "We would also like to work in this fashion, and also help – but abroad, our currency has so little value, that we would hardly be able to collect more than a few dollars to support the existing ROKPA projects. On the other hand, there is so much misery and poverty here, that we would like to help here in our own countries."

Rinpoche encouraged them to start projects in their own countries, which they did and continue to do. In many places they have organized their own fundraising for their own projects. If they cannot gather enough funds, or if a ROKPA representative in another country feels inspired by their work, they can then obtain financial assistance from ROKPA INTERNATIONAL.

The desire for a project stems from those implementing it themselves. They then implement their projects – even though under our patronage – and run it. ROKPA INTERNATIONAL is provided with reports and information, so that we can ensure that all these projects comply with our guidelines.

You have more questions? Please don't hesitate to contact us via info (at) rokpa.org .