Mosuo People

Planned Project – Education for the “Mosuo” People

Our club is currently considering and planning a new project to support education among the Mosuo ethnic minority in the mountains of southwestern China. The Mosuo are a minority group who live in a mountain area straddling Yunnan and Sichuan provinces close to Tibet. Although officially classified as part of China’s Naxi ethnic minority, they are actually a very different group, with quite another language and culture and set of religious beliefs.

The Mosuo culture is most frequently described as a matriarchal culture. In fact, the Mosuo themselves frequently use this description to attract tourism and to kindle interest in their culture. Sometimes, the Mosuo will be described instead as “matrilineal”, which is probably a more accurate social anthropological label.
Most people who know about the Mosuo tend to identify them with the picturesque Lugu Lake close to the so-called “Shangrila” region near Lijiang, in Yunnan Province, southwestern China. However, the majority of Mosuo do not live by the lake, but in small towns and villages scattered among the mountains. Estimates as to their numbers are in the area of 40,000 souls.

The average annual income for most Mosuo families would be around US$150-200, which is quite a low level even by Chinese standards. This does not mean that the Mosuo are starving to death – most are quite able to provide for their basic survival needs. However, this does not necessarily include all their education, getting transport to find work, etc, which can be prohibitively expensive.

A primary goal that we wish to work for is to provide scholarships to promising students, in order to encourage them to continue in their education, and to offset the financial burden on their families. Specific amounts will vary, and will be determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the specific situation of each student.
We would set targets: In order to qualify, students should have and maintain a minimum 75% grade average (80% for senior high school). Scholarships, depending on the situation, may include funds to cover:

  • tuition fees
  • room & board
  • transportation
  • books
  • stipend

The scholarships would entail no requirement for reimbursement but would be subject to twice-annual review to ensure students are maintaining minimum requirements for sponsorship. We would report regularly on their progress, with biographical information, academic results, photos and correspondence with the beneficiary students.

Some of our members have already donated significant sums of money towards this project, and we hope to expand it by gathering further grants and donations.

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Rotary Club of Beijing

Regular Meetings
Tuesday 12.30~14.00
Kempinski Hotel
Celine Lin
Club Administrator
+86 159 0121 4070