40 Years of ROKPA – Come and join us!

In the beginning, it was not about founding an aid organization, it was simply a desire to help people. Forty years ago, Dr. Akong Tulku Rinpoche, Lea Wyler and Dr. Veit Wyler laid the foundations for ROKPA. Everyone who has accompanied us on this path since then carries this motivation and the values of ROKPA within them. We believe that everyone can help someone, and that this is the way out of poverty. Especially now in the Corona crisis, it is important that we stick together and support each other worldwide.

We have planned various events for this year to celebrate our anniversary with you. However, because of the coronavirus, we had to pause those activities. As all people, we currently have only one wish around the world: that the virus be contained and that we all stay healthy. We are very much looking forward to having survived the crisis and to celebrating 40 years of ROKPA with you. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your loyalty over all these years. Stay healthy and see you soon! 

Meanwhile, have a look at some old pictures from the beginnings. Enjoy!

Food distribution in the early day

On the ground, without infrastructure: Food distribution in the early day. Thirty years ago, the Soup Kitchen was created in Boudha, and with it the first project in Nepal – right next to the Stupa, Nepal’s famous landmark. It all started here with the distribution of food to beggars and people with disabilities.

Helping in the beginning

It all started on the pilgrimage to Sikkim (India) in 1979/80: there, Lea Wyler met countless people in need. Back in Switzerland, ROKPA was founded by Dr. Akong Tulku Rinpoche, her father Dr. Veit Wyler and her. Then all efforts were devoted to finding the first donors for the needy. The first sponsorships in Nepal and India, and later in the Tibetan areas of China, came into being. ROKPA has supported around 1,900 people through individual sponsorships in the past.

Dr. Akong Tulku Rinpoche

Dr. Akong Tulku Rinpoche, Co-founder and President of ROKPA, dedicated his whole life to those suffering from poverty and illness.

Due to the Tibetan uprising in China, he was forced to flee to India with a group of 300 or so other Tibetans in 1959. Their escape lasted ten months and was shaped by hunger, great hardship and mortal danger. The group soon had nothing to eat and in their plight resorted to cooking the leather of their shoes to at least find some nourishment. Out of the group of 300 people, there were only 13 survivors.

Touched by these terrible events, Akong Rinpoche decided to help people suffering from poverty, illness, fear and emotional distress. In 1967 together with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, he founded the first Tibetan Buddhist center in
Scotland.

He was involved in ROKPA projects for more than 30 years – especially in the Tibetan areas of China, but also in Nepal and Africa.

Veit Wyler

"In a place where no one is human, you try to be human", said Veit Wyler to his daughter Lea. Thanks to his pronounced sense of justice, coupled with his profession as a lawyer, he repeatedly rescued and helped Jewish refugees during the Second World War. He worked hard for the inclusion and acceptance of persecuted people. Veit Wyler supported his daughter and ROKPA at all times and unconditionally in every respect until the end of his life.