My village by Tsering Choedron
News about our work, and heart-lifting stories from the kids
Randy with Dorje Dolma’s sister, Chunzombuty
November 2022 — Trek Report
This beautiful newsletter was guest written by one of our donors, Randy Terise, who trekked to the Upper Dolpo in October. He writes about the challenges of the trek, and about about the challenges of the people who make their home in this high altitude world. He was so moved by their incredible resilience and work ethic, by their determination to keep their ancient Dolpo culture alive, by their generosity and welcoming spirit, and by their heartfelt appreciation of Altitude Project and its donors. If you only read one newsletter, read this one.
Students at Karang Hostel
October 2022 — My visit to the Dolpo school hostels in Kathmandu
The schools in the Upper Dolpo only teach to grade 5 or 6. Children must move to Kathmandu to continue their education. I visited students in 4 of the hostels, here are some of their moving stories. They are all superstars! Some are the first kids in their village to continue beyond grade 5. They have left a high altitude world of subsistence farming and herding, for a modern city of 1.5 million. Most of them have never seen a bike, or a car. They will not return home for 5 years. Most of their parents are illiterate, and all of these kids dream of returning to their village with new skills that will help improve the lives of their people.
image credit – Pema Gogor – Karang School
September 2022— Our trek plans, visiting the hostels, the schools, and the projects that we support
Getting to the villages in the region is very challenging but it is critical that we visit all of our projects every two years, at minimum, to mark their progress, and to understand the changing needs and challenges of each school and village.
August 2022 — Our teacher training programme, stories from an attendee, and a student with a BIG dream
Education is the primary mission of Altitude Project’s work in the Upper Dolpo. Most of the teachers here are not trained as teachers. We, along with other NGOs, are working to support them and to improve the quality of education. This is the story of one of the teachers.
It is also the amazing story of Pema Mingdi from Komang village. She grew up with severe hip issues in a land with no modern medical care. She had to be carried everywhere. She dreamt of becoming an orthopedic doctor and returning home to help her people. Thanks to you, she is starting her first year of medical school!
image credit: Jigme Norbu, Tiling School
June 2022 — Tiling School update
This newsletter is about the small school at Tiling, which has classes from nursery to grade 3. After grade three, they go to the school in Karang. The walk from Tiling to Karang takes the kids about an hour. The little ones are just too young for this walk. Having a small school in the village lets them start school at an earlier age, and improves the odds that they will continue their education beyond elementary school.
Stories from the students and big news about the arrival of desks! Previously the kids worked on the floor, or outside on the ground. We have been supporting the school for 3 years.
image credit: Pema Tsering Gurung, Ku School
May 2022 — In honour of the mothers of the Upper Dolpo
The hard work they do every day holds their villages together, and, thanks to you, many are now learning to read and to write. Very few adults here had the opportunity to attend school. The first school was not built here until 1999. The few women who were able to attend it have returned as teachers and nurses. This newsletter tells the stories of two of these women. It also tells the stories of two women who were not able to attend school, one is attending after school literacy classes, the other is not.
image credit – David R. Gluns
March 2022 — News about the supplies for the more than 300 children who are attending school, thanks to you
Everything is purchased in Kathmandu. It takes the supplies almost 10 days to reach the end of the road, when the road ends, the bags are loaded on to mules. The mules are owned by Dolpo villagers. In good weather it is a week long walk to their villages. The passes are 5,000 + metres. The mules are also bringing materials for more greenhouses. The mules arrive to much celebration and gratitude!
February 2022 — Komang School and Hostel update
Komang is home to ~ 200 people. The school has 34 students in nursery through grade 5. After grade 5 the students must move to Kathmandu. They will stay in the Komang Hostel though grade 12. They will not see their parents again until they complete grade 10. This is the story of the Covid inspired emergency return of the students to their village, and the villagers delight to see the changes education had wrought. It transformed many parents perception of education! It also features the stories of 3 of the students who graduated grade 5 and their journey to the hostel in Kathmandu, a world away.
December 2021 — A Happy New Year, and a BIG thank you for a successful old year!
It has been a hard year, but thanks to you, incredible things were accomplished! More than 300 children in five village schools are attending primary school. Their parents are being taught basic literacy skills. We have 14 students in our new, larger hostel in Kathmandu. 250 Days for Girls reusable Menstrual Hygiene Kits and 250 LuminAID portable solar lights were delivered. 46 greenhouses were completed. We were able to contribute $5000 to an emergency covid relief program for the health posts. We also contributed $9000 to an emergency food assistance project that brought 16,650 kg of rice and 6,000 kg of flour to 755 families in critical need of food aid.
December 2021 — Nyisal School update
Nyisal is a village of about 180 people. It is on the Tibetan border, a little north of the other schools we work with, and a little lower, at 3800 metres. It is one of the northernmost villages in Dolpa. Last year this school lost all of its funding. We were able to offer them a one-time grant. The school teaches to grade 5. It has 49 enthusiastic students, ages 4 -16. Many are the first in their family to receive an education, and they hold tremendous promise for their family, and for their community. This is their story.
image credit – Pema Gogor – Karang School
November 2021 — Karang School update
Karang is a village of about 500 people in the remote Upper Dolpo region of Nepal. Their school lost all support in 2017. Thanks to you we were able to help keep it open. We are now the primary sponsor of both the school and its hostel in Kathmandu. This newsletter is long, but we have had several people ask to know more about the world of these amazing kids. It includes: a gift of computers, adult literacy classes, the school water supply, the willow tree project, a harvest update, the new greenhouse, the emergency food support program, the health post, winter in the village, the shop and tea house, and the summer festival at the monastery.
October 2021 — Karang Hotel appeal for help
This fall, 6 Karang students are graduating from grade 5. They will live at the Karang Hostel until they complete grade 10. They will not see their parents during those 5 years. The hostel had to move to a larger space to accommodate them. It has been a long and expensive process, but if there had been no room for them, it would have been the end of their dreams of an education. Most of the children forced to abandon their education marry early, and have children when they are barely past childhood themselves. A few may enter a monastery. This newsletter will share some of their stories.
September 2021 — Summer update
A delivery update — We coordinated with Dolpo nurses and Nomads Clinic to purchase Covid supplies for the health posts. We coordinated with several other NGO’s in an emergency food aid programme initiated by the Dolpo Tulku Charitable Foundation. 16,650 kg of rice for 555 families, and 6000 kg of flour for 200 families, was delivered by mules to central points in the Upper Dolpo. Some people walked a full day to pick up their rice and flour.
Also news about delivery and distribution of solar lights, menstrual health kits, and greenhouse materials.
June 2021 — An emergency appeal
The people of the Dolpo are desperately short of food. Covid restrictions have had a devastating effect on their already perilous food security, and urgent food assistance is needed. We are coordinating with several NGO’s; the Dolpo Tulku Charitable Foundation, Freunde Nepal, Human Stiftung, Shulverein Lo-Manthang and Chay-Ya Nepal to deliver emergency food aid. It is anticipated that the total requirement will be ~$60,000. Our portion will be ~$15,000. Every donation will make a tremendous difference!
May 2021 — dedicated to the mothers of the Dolpo, and to the nurses who are dedicated to improving their lives
Dolpo storyteller Dorje Dolma/Yak Girl interviews her mother. Then, some stories and images from the amazing Dolpo nurses. It ends with news of our dear friend, nurse Tsering Wangmo, and Nomad’s Clinic, and one of their favourite projects, the re-usable menstrual hygiene kits.
April 2021 — Introducing Nyisal School
We were asked by the Himalayan Development Initiative for emergency help when this school lost all funding. The school has 40 students. The youngest are 3 years old, the oldest are 15. It teaches to grade 5. The school also teaches older students from Mushi, a village of about 15 households, a 3 hour walk from Nyisal village. These students stay at the Nyisal school and return home once a month to visit their families. The lead teacher gave us some amazing stories.
image credit: Pema Tsering Gurung, Ku School
February 2021 — Ku School
Ku is even more remote than most villages in the Upper Dolpo. It is near the Tibet border and is rarely visited by westerners. In 2011 villagers built the school with no outside support. It teaches up to grade 4, and it has about 43 regular students. The number fluctuates as the kids are often needed at home. These are the students standing in front of their school. Lots of great stories about the school and the village.
January 2021 — Tiling School
Tiling is a village of 192 people between Saldang and Karang. This school is struggling, with parents who can barely feed their families stepping up to feed the teachers and help with their wages. It’s a small school of about 30 kids, nursery to class 3.
photo courtesy of David Powell
It always seems impossible, until it’s done.
– Nelson Mandela.