Today, for Tibetan nomads on the Plateau the Yak is the thread that connects the past to the future. Norlha’s workers all come from nomad families and most of them have lived the life of a herder at one time or other. Today, they see themselves and their children moving away from this livelihood, which has lost its appeal to the youth who inevitably come in touch with the market economy that has transformed the world, and China. 

Around the yak, Norlha employees have learned not only to spin and weave, but taken on managerial positions in production, sales and other areas. Instead of herding the yak, they transform its fibre into a world class product, becoming linked to the world in the process. Young people meet at Norlha and have built their family life around their positions there. They live and thrive in the village of their origin, where they see their future. Their disposable income allows them to invest in better houses and education for their children. The yak is still the source of their livelihood; its continued presence and importance maintains a vital link between past and future.


Norlha’s 130 employees have a far-reaching impact; their disposable income will lead to others in the village earning their livelihood around their needs, establishing restaurants, shops and services, and house improvements and standards will rise for everyone. They will purchase cars and visit other areas, connect to distant friends by smart phones and establish new groups of interest. They will invest in their children’s education and gain more confidence in the future. They will circulate new ideas that will help them grow in a familiar context. In an ever shifting world, it is important to move beyond values that are no longer relevant, and learn to navigate change without losing one’s identity.