The orphanage at Chodrak Monastery was founded by Khenpo Dam Cho Dawa Rinpoche, a senior teacher at Chodrak Monastery, in response to the growing numbers of young children who were orphaned or whose parents were unable to provide for them.
The majority of the people of Kham province are traditionally farmers and nomads. Farmers were able to grow enough food to feed their families and a little more that could be traded for necessities such as tea. Nomads grazed yaks, sheep and goats, and raised horses that could also be traded. Most of the farmers and nomads dont earn a cash income; rather they exchange goods as needed. The land reforms introduced by the government over the last forty years, greatly restricting grazing areas, has had a very adverse effect on the Khampas ability to maintain their lifestyle. The problems created by the harsh conditions in Eastern Tibet, which had historically contributed to an early mortality rate, have been compounded by government policies such as resettlement and the change from a barter to cash economy. Even those who have a chance to earn a cash income have great difficulty paying for necessities such as medical fees and often forego medical treatment for lack of money. Khenpo Dam Cho Dawa built Chodrak orphanage to provide food, accommodation and an education for children who would otherwise be forced to beg for survival in a poor and remote part of Tibet.