Yunnan Mountain Handicraft Center
Shangri La Handicraft Center is a non-profit, community based organization founded to promote projects which support local cultural heritage, handicrafts and eco-tourism in Diqing Prefecture, Yunnan. The Center supports projects in the areas of handicraft development, preservation of cultural heritage, poverty alleviation and sustainable and ecologically balanced development.
The fragile eco-system of small villages, highland wetlands, and snowcapped mountains is home to 250,000 Tibetans as well as another 50,000 members other ethnic groups such as Liso, Dongba, Molimoso, Yi. Most of the population lives in mountain villages. Their livelihood includes agriculture, herding yak and sheep, and harvesting from the bounty of the forests. The region was once part of the tea-horse caravan trade route which stretched from Yunnan, Burma, and India to Tibet. It is home to a culturally diverse and colorful legacy of hand crafted wooden implements, leather goods, decorative architectural detail, pottery, silver jewelry, thankas, weaving and carpet making.
Several important projects were undertaken under the umbrella of the YMHC. In October 2005, the “Gathering of Friends of Diqing in Shangri-La” met to investigate options for projects in eco-tourism and handicraft development. In November 2005 the concept for the Women’s Center was developed. The Center in the old town is now home to a Handicraft Shop, small community library (Thank You Small Library STEP Foundation initiative) crafts training and development, and micro enterprise training initiatives. In January 2006, SHHC along with the Government of Diqing Prefecture hosted a workshop “Planning for Diqing National Park Network and Sustainable Tourism.” A small group of local government officials and international experts shared plans and thoughts on developing a strategy for the future growth in tourism by creating a national park in Shangri-La.
Learn more at www.ymhfshangrila.com.