The Aid-Tibet Development Foundation is the first charitable organization on the Roof of the World. It is also the first nationwide public fundraising charitable organization in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region with the purpose of promoting development of Tibet and in Tibetan-inhabited areas. Its advocators and founders were the 10th Panchen Lama and Comrade Ngabo Ngawang Jigme. The foundation established a Preparatory Committee on April 15, 1987 and was formally established in 1992.
In early 1987, the 10th Panchen Lama discussed with Comrade Ngabo Ngawang Jigme and proposed the idea of creating an Aid-Tibet Development Foundation. The Panchen Lama formulated a very detailed plan on how the institution should be launched, operated, and developed, and he came up with a three year plan and objective.
As they started the preparatory work for the foundation, the 10th Panchen Lama designed its logo: a snow mountain symbolizing the snow-covered plateau, the world's third pole; a sword, which symbolizes the diligence, bravery, and wisdom of the Tibetan people; a handshake, which symbolizes great ethnic unity; a symbol of science and technology to symbolize the construction of a modernized new Tibet; a torch, which symbolizes the inheritance of Tibetan culture and rapid advance of its economy; and two olive branches on either side to symbolize peace and harmony.
The inaugural meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the Aid-Tibet Development Foundation was held successfully on April 15, 1987 in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. At the end of the meeting, the 10th Panchen Lama and Comrade Ngabo Ngawang Jigme led 45 committee members in worshipping a stupa of the Buddha's tooth and then hurried to Tianjin to conduct surveys. Over three days, committee members visited the Port of Tianjin, bicycle factories, household chemicals factories, carpet factories, large-scale shopping mall complexes, Nanshi Food Street, and the Tianjin Tibet Middle School.
The most vivid feelings of being near the 10th Panchen Lama throughout the year were of his consistent and firm patriotism, his look of determination, and his keen judgment. The staff who spent time around the master were often filled with admiration for his exuberant energy, vision, and clear thinking.
The 10th Panchen Lama attached great importance to the spread and promotion of Tibet's outstanding ethnic culture. In early 1988, the Aid-Tibet Development Foundation made preparations for a Tibetan culture performance group and organized rehearsals in Lhoka, Tibet. 31 Tibetan actors performed in Chengdu, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Hong Kong. The 10th Panchen Lama cared deeply about each actor's life, health, and even the costumes of each actor, and he also clearly remembered each of their names and their difficulties at home.
On January 9, 1989, the 10th Panchen Lama flew back to Tibet to make preparations for the Lhasa office of the Aid-Tibet Development Foundation.
On the morning of January 28, the 10th Panchen Lama died of a heart attack as a result of overwork.
Today, the Aid-Tibet Development Foundation is moving forward under the leadership of the 11th Panchen Lama. The logo designed by the 10th Panchen Lama has been with the foundation for 32 years.
Editor: Tommy Tan.