Chungba is a rural Tibetan township that spans a narrow alpine valley in the southeastern corner of the Tibetan Plateau. The 5000 residents who live here are tied to a predominantly subsistence economy, and survive by growing tsampa (barley) and herding livestock in the high pastures.  Until a few years ago, Chungba was a typical rural Tibetan community with no electricity, running water, telephone service, or secondary roads. There were few educational opportunities and most of the residents were illiterate. But in 2002 things began to change, when Machik opened the doors of the Ruth Walter Chungba Primary School. The school has become a fixture of the township and the core of a broad-based effort to revitalize the community through education and capacity building.

The short films below were planned and filmed by students of the Ruth Walter Chungba Primary School. They were edited on-site by project facilitator Cecil Esquivel-Obregón with input from the students.

Made possible with the collaboration of Machik and generous support from The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation and Columbia University School of the Arts - Film Division


Body Maps

  • Sonam Tendzin 
  • Gelek Tseten 
  • Chime Lhamo 
  • Kelsang Drandul 
  • Tsering Drolkar 
  • Tsering Nyima
  • Commentary

Community Maps

  • Wuhu Community Map
  • Zhabdrong Community Map

Short Film

  • Making Good Choices

Credits & Thanks

Participant Filmmakers
Chimé Lhamo
Gelek Tseten
Kelsang Drandul
Sönam Tendzin
Tsering Drolkar
Tsering Nyima
Sönam Chödrön
Yangcen Lhamo
Tsering Yangdzom
Tempa Dorjé
Wangchen Dorjé
Dorjé Tashi
Dugar Gonbo
JiangYang Tendzin
Tsering Lhamo


Cecil Matthai Esquivel-Obregón

Photography Facilitator
Francisca Altamirano

Series Producers
Lynn True
Nelson Walker III


Onsite Translator
Tashi Dekyi

Chelsea Hall
William McGrath
Tsering Perlo

Special Thanks
David Germano
University of Virginia
Columbia University
Chungba Primary School

Chungba participant filmmakers

Behind the scenes

More Info

For more information about Chungba and the Ruth Walter Chungba Primary School, please visit Machik's website. 
Click HERE.