Information technology is the strongest means
to propagate the Tibetan cause to the outside world.

— Tibetan student

Effects come from actions, not mere talk
His Holiness Dalai Lama

  མདུན་ངོས།   ལག་ཆ།   ཕབ་ལེན།   ཟབ་སྦྱོང་།  

In this section: [ walker: won't help you | will build with you ] [ Agreements: basic programs and privacy ]

walker » Why James won't help you

Nope. Sorry. I am not here to help

You cannot help people permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for them selves. -- Lincoln

I am not here to "help" anyone. I am only here for one thing: to teach people how to make websites, in the most professional and quality manner possible. I do this by request only, and have enough requests that it is a full-time job. (Even when i was stuck back in the US for a year, i was teaching people full-time online.)

Things have changed

10-15 years ago, yes — help was needed. Hosting was really hard to get and expensive. There were no Tibetan programmers or web builders.
Now — none of the above is true.

  • India has PayPal now. Dhasa organizations have (or should have) bank accounts and credit cards. Registration and hosting are cheap and easy to get online.
  • I have a list of almost 50 Tibetan-built websites, mostly from McLeod, as well as others all over the world. This list has exploded in the last 3 years. Of course there must be more that i don't know about!
  • There are several Tibetan web design companies.
  • I teach and work with, daily, hard-working Tibetan programmers and web-builders right here in McLeod Ganj.
    A partial list is at and some Tibetan web design companies are here: I'm sure there are many more.

Why "help" is bad

The down side of "helping" Tibetans in Dharamshala by building websites for them:

  • It perpetuates a many-years-old mindset of depending on the all-powerful, all-knowing westerners.
  • It perpetuates a many-years-old mindset that hosting and site work should be free. Well -- you get what you pay for.
  • It perpetuates a many-years-old mindset that only "Injies" know how to do things.
  • It perpetuates a many-years-old mindset that websites (and other IT things) are some strange foreign thing that Tibetans aren't smart enough do.
  • It deprives local Tibetan (and Indian) web-buiders of a job — much-needed experience as well as money to live on.
  • It perpetuates the habit of Tibetans to get their education and then flee to the west, because there are no opportunities here for IT work.
  • And the biggest downside, from my personal selfish point of view: I often get the phone call, when the Injie leaves ...
    and/or staff changes, and nobody knows how to work on the website. Or when the website gets accidentally damaged, or purposely hacked.

    I have worked with most of the organizations here in McLeod and many departments at CTA. In almost every case, i got to know them because they got new staff (for a couple of them, in every single changeover of staff since 2001!), or because the website was hacked or needed something, and they had no one to do it — and they heard the magic words "James Walker" from someone. In many cases they were sadly disappointed when they heard the traditional mantra:

    "i won't fix it for you, but i will teach you how to do it."

When your westerner leaves ...

  • Who will make changes in the site you might want later? (like design, adding new features, etc.)
  • Who will teach the new staff to update the site when the old staff leaves?
  • What security measures are in place to protect the site?
  • Who will restore the site when it gets hacked? (notice i don't say "if". Every website gets hacked, sooner or later.)
  • If a CMS (WordPress, Joomla) who will do core and plugin updates? (these come out every few weeks.)
  • Who will make backups? Optimise the database and watch for problems in it? Take care of any issues of bandwidth, disk space, unsual activity on the site? ... ?

A website is alive

A website is not a publication, or a brochure. A website is never "fnished".

A website is a fantastically powerful, living breathing entity that needs daily care and feeding.

Information is power, and these days the web is the distributor of that power. The Chinese government values *your* website so much that it is spending *billions!* of dollars to block it and others. If an organisation does not value their own website equally to that, it is such a tremendous waste it makes me cry.

Please take this not as a judgment or criticism, but as a sign that i care -- otherwise i wouldn't have bothered to take the time to write it at all. I hate chili! Hindi pop! Hot weather! Heck, why am i here anyway?!

Please know that i will be more than happy to teach any of the things mentioned above — and more. To any Tibetan. Whenever you need, for as long as you need. But my fingers do not touch keyboard. Tibetans can do it, and they DO do it, every day!