Hidden away in an alley, this center is incredible! Upon arrival you will be greeted by one of many volunteer staff and taken in to the handicrafts showcase. You are not pressured... read more
Who We Are
The YMHC Shangrila Handicraft Center is a community based...
Who We Are
The YMHC Shangrila Handicraft Center is a community based organization founded to support local cultural heritage, handicrafts and eco-tourism in Diqing Prefecture, Yunnan. The Center projects include 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. Most of the population lives in mountain villages. Their traditional livelihood includes agriculture, herding yak and sheep, craft production and harvesting and selling herbs and mushrooms from the nearby forests. The region was once part of the tea-horse caravan trade route stretching from Yunnan, Burma, and India to Tibet. It is home to a colorful legacy of Tibetan hand crafted wooden implements, leather goods, decorative architectural detail, pottery, silver jewelry, Tangkas, weaving and carpet making. Many of these products gained fame on this ancient trade transit corridor. Our mission is to support this community of artisans, students, and friends to popularize local tradition and culture as tourism grows and to encourage heritage crafts and lifestyle based business so that this the flavor of the Tibetan highlands in this corner of Yunnan can become a prominent feature of the tourist markets.
What We Do
YMHC Handicraft Store opened in 2006 in the heart of the Old Town of Shangrila features iconic crafts from Nixi potters, Benzilan wood carvers, Naxi Dongba paper makers, weavers in the Shangrila valley and local silversmiths. We source the work of local artisans to sell to visitors from China and abroad, the artisans often live in small remote mountain villages. We help the artisans network into larger markets and buyers outside the area.
Shangrila Library and Learning Center was founded in 2008 and houses our 5000 volume library for children, middle and high school students and adults. It is open to the public and contains Chinese, English and Tibetan volumes. English Conversation classes are offered free of charge to students and entrepreneurs throughout the year. We organize free lectures and workshops to the community on a variety of topics including health care, developing business skills, beekeeping, marketing and branding, tourism development and Tangka Painting
Beekeeping as Family-based Micro Enterprise: Training farmers in bee keeping provides a new source of income in the villages. Started in Shangrila in 2008, the beekeeping program has become well established in Weixi and Dongwang counties. We work with professional Chinese and international beekeepers who train Shangrila farms in the art of hive management with the goal of producing honey to sell locally.
YMHF Volunteers National and international volunteers participate in our year round program activities in Beijing and Shangri La. Teaching English, helping in the Shangri La Handicraft Shop and Library, marketing and designing crafts, helping in village based projects