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Shree Samtem Basic School, Mushi

Mushi Primary School

photo by Jerry Jansson, Tripod of Koma

Mushi village is in a remote area of Dolpo between Shimen village and Nyisal village. It is a one hour walk to the Tibetan border. Last year there were 64 residents in seventeen households. There is a small monastery with a few monks at the edge of the village.

The locals call their village Moe village. They are farmers and semi-nomadic herders. It is slightly warmer here and they can grow white radishes which they sell throughout the  Upper Dolpo.

The Story of the School

Until recently the nearest school was in Nyisal, a hazardous 3 hour walk away. Summer floods washed out the trail so frequently that only 7 Mushi children ever made the trek to Nyisal School. Chime was one of them.

“I still remember that we were running and crying and praying in front of flood on way to Nyisal School. I lost my shoes and my food crossing the flood. I was hand in hand with my friend.” – Chime

The monsoon rain in the summer makes the Dolpo rivers treacherous to cross. They do not have strong bridges. The rivers get really high and wild and many animals, and people too, get washed away. The heavy rain also causes landslides and children have been caught in falling rocks and dirt. The steep ravines fill with water and the paths above them become dangerously slippery. The dangers the children brave just to get to school is incredible.
– Dorje Dolma/Yak Girl

Mushi Primary School

photo by Jerry Jansson, Tripod of Koma


Late in 2017 Tulku Lama, a revered Rinpoche and the founder of Komang School, sent one of his monk disciples to Mushi village to teach grades K to 4. Tulku Lama shared Komang School’s books and food with the students. At first they were taught in a villager’s home, then in 2020 the villagers built a classroom.

In 2021 my dear friend Nyima Bhuti, who co-coordinates Komang School, asked for our help. Together with funding from Tripod of Koma (Sweden) and Ward chairman Jigme Choeying Norbu Lama, 2 rooms and a small greenhouse were built.

The annual budget for this school, $4500, covers the teacher’s salary and food, school uniforms, books, some sports equipment, and transport. Food is quite expensive, the villagers provide potatoes but we need to buy kitchen supplies and rice, wheat flour, oil etc. Transport costs are huge. The Tibetan seasonal market has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic, and everything must be carried from Lower Dolpo by mules.
We are responsible for 1/3 of the budget. Tripod of Koma also covers 1/3, and several smaller donors cover the remainder.

Pema, a Teacher’s Story

I was born in Upper Dolpo village called Namdo. I studied there at Namdo School and I finished my study in Kathmandu at Namdo Hostel with kind support from Schulverein Lo-Manthang specially mom Sonngard.

I always wanted to give back by being a teacher so I returned to Upper Dolpo but due to my health problem (which I have since childhood) I don’t get job.

Luckily I met Komang Tulku and I told him I have completed my studies and I am in search of job, I talked to him about my health and his thoughts are completely different from others. He told me you are perfect teacher for Moe School and he was happy to give me job in Moe School so I am still here at Moe village.

Mushi Primary School

I have 10 students, ages 5 to 15, in K through grade 4. Two of the students cannot attend regularly as their families need their help at home and in the fields.

The students have to walk to Nyisal School for grades 5 and 6. They walk home once a month to visit their families. 

There are some girls my age who did not get an education and they tell me how lucky I am. They wish they had a school here before so they could have learned how to read and write.

They come to the school when they can and they are so excited and happy to learn especially numbers like counting 1, 2, 3 … most of them can now recognize numbers, alphabets, and know how to write their names. I am so happy to be able to help them.

I like all the villagers because they are kind to each other and helpful too. At the beginning, I don’t know any of them and they are so kind to me and the children are very nice so I am able to stay there for long time. Now they are like family to me. 

Mushi Primary School

photo by Jerry Jansson, Tripod of Koma

Two Student’s Stories

Tsering is 11 years old and in class 3. She lives with her Uncle Dhargyal and brother Jigme. Her uncle makes herbs medicine and gives to the villagers, and her brother works in fields. Tsering is very hardworking girl who always helps her uncle to collect herbs during the weekend after her school dress washed. And always helps her brother to work in field as much as she can. She is very active and works like elder people does. Tsering loves to dance and sing too and she is very good student. Tsering wants to study much and become a helper to her village in future. Tsering loves drawing too.

Mushi Primary School

Tsomo is 9 years old and in class one . Tsomo lives with her parents. Tsomo comes late to school always because she goes to bring water for her family and it is 15 minutes aways from her home so she always goes to bring water before school in morning and after school in evening. She is very funny girl that tells lots of jokes and make every one smiles at school. Like, “Today I was coming home with water bottle on my back and on ways Tsering’s Cow is talking me … ooooohhhh you are late Tsomo…. Everyone is in school studying and they will become educated person in future but you…. Staying with me???……
She tells jokes every times … she is good singer and she always sings when she is walking, working, or drawing.

‘Moe Village’ by Chime and Dolma

“Half of the village on right side and half of the village on left side. Between these there is rivers. On one part there is school which is 5 minute from village. The village is surrounded by mountains. A beautiful one. The villagers are working in fields. The old age people are going round small stupa as prayers to all beings. And some are resting and talking with each other. In the school, children are playing football, skipping, which they mostly play.”
– Chime and Dolma

“Something that is not in picture is, our village is very remote and it’s inside many mountains so lots of snow leopard. Once a snow leopard jumped into our house boundary where all the animals are kept and killed 12 of our sheep and goat. In the morning my mother calling all the villagers in big sound ‘Please help’ in sad voice. Villagers are so afraid. The leopard was roaring at us, people are running and some are crying. I cried a lot. A group of man try to push aways the leopard and it went slowly away, still I remember that it is going slowly and looking back at us. This moment… I still remember and I still feel afraid. That is why it is not in the picture.”
– Chime


Thank You

Chime and Dolma are students who had been walking to school in Nyisal. They said,
“We are so so happy to get school in own village. We are so happy to see family every day. The best part of having school in Moe is that no need to worry and fear of the walk to Nyisal School. No need to stay at other family’s house. We can go to school happily in own village.

One thing we remember walking from Moe to Nyisal is that it takes longer time to reach there because we walk slowly as we don’t like leaving family behind, we feel afraid of flood, rain, snow leopards, etc. We reached home from Nyisal faster, it is because of family, we run as much as we could even it’s raining. We always fell asleep when we reached home. It’s happy feelings.”
– Chime and Dolma


The opportunity to go to school means a lot to these kids and they work incredibly hard at their studies. This is in addition to work they do to help their families survive. Dolma shared her school day chores with us…
“My parents passed away when I am child and my uncle takes care of me and my elder brother. I wake up early in the morning, clean our home, and cook food for my uncle and brother. They work a lot and I am taking care of our home early in the morning till school timing and even in the evening after school. I also take care of water for cooking and drinking, wood for cooking, and give grass to our horse. I am used to do this since I am 9 years old. Taking care of water and wood I did start when I am 6 years old.

I am very grateful to all the kind people who make this school able in my village. Because of you I am able to learn new things, I am able to know more things. I really want to study well and help my villagers and my uncle as a Teacher. I like to become a teacher.”
– Dolma

Mushi School Gallery

photos by Pema Sangmo and Ward Chairman Jigme Choeying Norbu