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On to Kathmandu

In order to continue education beyond Class 6, students must move to Kathmandu where they can attend a Tibetan high school.  At today’s exchange rate it costs approx $1,200. per year. This is a financial impossibility for families in the Upper Dolpo who struggle to make a living through subsistence farming.

Shelter108 accepts students with qualifying grades from throughout the Upper Dolpo and Tibet. It has space for up to four students from Saldang each year. When there are more qualifying students wanting to continue their studies alternate arrangements for accommodation have to be made. Students from Komas are cared for at the Himalayan Komang Hostel. 

Education is not taken for granted here on the Dolpo. It is a long journey to Kathmandu, a week by yak to the nearest roadhead, and then another week by local buses to Kathmandu. These are bright, highly motivated students, many of whom are wanting to return to their villages as teachers, engineers and health care professionals!

‘Our’ student in Kathmandu

Altitude Project is supporting Tenzin Norbu from Saldang. He is living and studying at the Srongtsen Bhrikuti Boarding High School, it is a Tibetan Boarding School of the Tibetan Exile Government. For a mere $1,200 US, he is provided with accommodation, food and education, and health and dental care. Dentists from abroad come once a year to provide care for the students. 700 students attend this school, of which 200 live at the school. His dream is to become a doctor, then to return home to serve his community, and to work to protect and support the Tibetan culture. His father shares that dream and sent us a message saying that he “is very much happy and blessed with the support from Altitude Project and wishes to convey his warm gratitude and appreciation for the help”.

This is Tenzin, his father and his school.

Tenzin finished class 6 at Saldang in 2016. There were seven class 6 graduates in 2016, which was terrific news, but there was a need to make alternate arrangements for three of the students that could not be accommodated at Shelter108.  Altitude Project was asked if we could support Tenzin.

He is entering class 8 this year.  I visited his school in November and was extremely impressed. It is very clean and well organized with plenty of room for sporting activities like football and basketball! I will continue to follow Tenzin’s progress during my annual trips to Nepal.

If anyone is interested in private sponsorship of a student please contact us. This type of sponsorship is not for only one year – these students need support for several years to finish their high school education, and then university education, to gain the credentials needed for their chosen professions.

The Himalayan Komang Hostel in Kathmandu

This is the hostel in Kathmandu for students from the village of Komas. Altitude Project is helping support the school there. Also a picture of me, David, with the hostel manager, Nyima Bhuti from Komas.

Nyima Bhuti graduated from the very first class at Saldang and later finished her higher education in Kathmandu. She wrote, “Saldang School is very, very important, it opened the light in my life. I am very grateful to the people who supported my studies. The only way I could give back to those supporters was to work as a teacher in Komas, my village in the remote mountains of the Upper Dolpo, a full days walk east of Saldang.”

The children graduating from her class 5 could not afford to continue their education in Kathmandu so her father, Tulku Lama, with generous help from donors in Spain, set up a hostel for them in Kathmandu. Unfortunately, there was not enough money to pay anyone to care for the children so her father asked her to volunteer. She currently cares for 26 students, her first group of students are now in class 10. She also teaches Tibetan language and culture to the students early each day before school begins as it is not taught in the school they attend. She is still doing all this as a volunteer. Altitude Project would like to pay her a small honorarium.