The traveller who stopped at nothing to help those in need
We’re going to talk for a minute about somebody who loved Krabi very much, who visited Krabi often over the past 2 decades and witnessed its change over time. From a quiet beach community to a thriving destination attracting people from all over the world She watched as Krabi transformed its landscape.
Her name was Tina and her native homeland was Italy, but she left Italy many decades ago in search of adventure, love and a chance to help others.
A lover of nature, she was always planning trips through the globe, from Sub-Saharan Africa and China to South America and South east Asia. Her love for new places and new adventures drove her to continue exploring. Although she loved travel in general and seeing new places she also has a certain reverence for mountains, maybe is because some of worlds most dramatic peaks were a short 4 hour trip from her front door, Maybe it was because she had a connection with mountains raw and absolute power, or maybe it was because she loved the challenge of getting to the top.
Her love of mountains and adventure led her to one of the world’s most iconic and massive mountain ranges; the Himalaya. Nestled deep in the northern reaches of India is a region called Zanskar, one of the highest areas in the world with an average elevation of 6,000 meters (19,600 feet); this was to be Tina’s destination.
Only recently opened for tourism this region of India has long remained an area of isolation for the locals who are mostly of Tibetan origins. The region has begun to change with the influx of tourism as a lot more money has begun to come into the region funding hotels, school infrastructure development and a significant amount of job growth. Human relics and artifacts found in the area date human activity in the area to sometime around 2,000 BCE.
Tina traveled to the Zanskar region for the first time in 2002 in search of untouched land and truly local people and she found this in Zanskar. With a total landmass stretching over 7,000 sq. meters and with a population of just under 14,000 inhabitants making it one of the most sparsely populated regions of the globe. This made communication difficult throughout the region and many towns throughout had their own unique feeling and style.
Many of the children Tina met in Zanskar had to travel an upwards of 3 hours each way by foot just to go to school. Many of the families were farmers or raised livestock, the locals were a simple yet kind and welcoming one.
Once Tina arrived in Zanskar a certain energy came over her, she felt something compelling her to help the children of the region. Not blessed with copious amounts of money she was unable to buy goods and supplies to make their lives better, but she did have the gift of her camera, and this camera travelled with her everywhere she went.
Her travels had taken her throughout the globe and her camera has accompanied her to all of these places, she had therefore collected a wide range of photos of both locations as well as people from these places.
She decided to make a calendar featuring images of Zanskar which her friends and family could buy, the profits from this calendar would go directly to supporting the children of Zanskar and in particular the Lamdon school where she worked as a volunteer. Tina was indeed a great supporter of children schooling and was committed to the project of the Lamdon school, aimed at promoting and preserving traditions and culture of the Tibetan minority in Zanskar.
The calendar would feature scenes from throughout the region, from the rivers and mountains to the kids playing and working together.
Starting her calendar charity some 15 years ago when there we’re only a few people who supported her, now in 2017 hundreds of calendars are sold every year, the profits from these calendars have paid for a new school bus, expanded the current school and supply it with pencils, notebooks and desks as well as paying for many students school uniforms and student conchs? (who need this).
In addition to raising money with her calendars Tina also held regular conferences around Italy to raise money and awareness for the children and people of Zanskar. Her talks would focus not only on the culture of the Zanskar people but also on their real life problems, such health education and getting to and from school and work daily which can take hours as many people don’t have cars or trucks and there is no public transportation service. Her talks given over the years brought awareness to the region and have paved the way for further travellers to travel to this remote beautiful land supporting the region directly by their travels or simply by donating to Tina’s cause.
Tina’s support for the region also included Christmas time activities, where she would setup outdoor markets which would feature gifts and items made in Zanskar, the money from these markets would also go towards the above stated goals.
Tina’s actions have changed the lives of many children in the region. She has cared for the children by not only giving them more supplies and better opportunities but she has also offered to teach a number of children to speak English.
As many of the great people of this world Tina was taken too soon, at the young age of 57 years old on her way to the school she worked so hard to improve she was struck by a surprise heart attack in August 2014 and past away.
If you are interested in donating to the people of Zanskar please visit www.aazanskar.org and select “contatti” from the drop-down menu.
Tina’s spirit lives on through the many lives she changed in both Zanskar and Krabi.