Karang Ghangjion Rikshung Primary School
Thanks to many kind and generous supporters, Altitude Project has assumed the role as primary sponsor for the school at Karang. The school has approximately 65 students in classes from nursery to grade 5.
We support this school at a much greater level than the other schools we work with.
I first met the school coordinator, Pema Gojor Gurung during our trek to the Upper Dolpo in October of 2017. He is a highly educated person of great integrity who returned home to help the children of his village.
His stated mission is ‘to provide education to the rural children by inspiring them to learn, grow so that every child gets equal opportunity in education’.
His stated vision is ‘to understand and solve the social inequality through education in an inclusive approach.’
Pema was born to a peasant family in Karang. His parents separated when he was six and he moved to Tibet where he was educated for six years at the Jangchup Gephel Monastery. When he was fourteen he returned to Karang to assist his father and sister with their animals and their crops, and to work as a porter transporting wood from lower elevation forests near Phoksundo Lake. At age eighteen he began studies of advanced Buddhist philosophy, Tibetan language and literature at Serajey Monastic University. He has published more than fifty articles in journals, magazines and newspapers and he published his first book in 2014.
He was asked to assume responsibility as the school coordinator for Karang School in 2017 and continues there today.
The infrastructure of this school is in good condition. A greenhouse was built with funding provided by Sumchog Kersbergen. She is Yak Girl Dorje Dolma’s sister. Sumchog was born in Karang and now lives in the Netherlands. The greenhouse provides greens and vegetables for lunches for the students and their teachers.
In 2019 the school opened a small library. The books range from fairy tales to modern science, in three different languages, Tibetan, English and Nepali. The children love it!
Villagers are taught basic literacy and numeracy skills in after school classes. 20 years ago there were no schools in the Upper Dolpo and the adult students are eager to learn to read and to write. Other schools we support offer the same classes for villagers.
The school has a few other NGO sponsors and private donors that we work with. They are responsible for some great new infrastructure projects like this school wall and gate, designed to help every child feel safe in the school environment.
The school was founded in 2003 by Boris Paulmann, a doctoral student from Cologne. After a trek through the Upper Dolpo he founded “Dolpohilfe” with a handful of friends and together they raised enough money to found three schools, all of which are still in operation. Two fellow students even travelled to Nepal to help teach Dolpo students.
A marriage and a career left Boris without enough time to actively support the schools. In 2009 he asked a Swiss group “Schulverein Lo-Manthang” to administer the funds but by 2016 the funds were so depleted that they could only help with the school at Namdo.
The funding situation in 2017 was desperate but, with donations cobbled together from a variety of sources, (including Altitude Project), the school managed to continue. Going forward, Altitude Project will be the primary sponsor for this school.