Panchen Ötrul Rinpoche was born in Eastern Tibet in 1939 to nomadic parents. In 1961 he received a monk’s full ordination from His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. He completed his formal studies in India, being awarded the highest degree of Geshe Lharampa, equivalent of a Doctorate in Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy.
In 1987, on behalf of the His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Panchen Ötrul Rinpoche travelled to the U.K. to work on interfaith dialogue. In 1995, His Holiness asked him to teach Buddhist philosophy to the Mongolian people. He immediately set about finding ways to overcome the high levels of poverty he encountered there and formally established Asral NGO in 2001. Asral is Mongolian for ‘care.’
Asral’s core mission is to prevent children from going onto the streets, preserving the integrity of the family and creating sustainable futures. Priority is given to the welfare of children and their mothers.
Consultation with local Governors and community representatives led to strategies of developing self-sustaining employment projects, to prevent the disintegration of families. Access to education, skills training, and organic farming, medical and family support are all a high priority.
A new Community Centre was built in the 9th Khoroo, Bayangol District, at the heart of one of the shanty areas of Ulaanbaatar, providing a multipurpose building for the local community. There are approximately 11,150 people living in this district.
At the invitation of local Governors, Asral NGO established two smaller centres, one in the rural area of Gachuurt, an hour west of Ulaanbaatar, and one in Ondershill, in the Gobi Desert region.
The core aim of Asral NGO is to keep children off the streets.