On to Kathmandu
Schools in the Upper Dolpo only teach to grade 5 or 6. Children wanting further education must move to Kathmandu. Each village has a hostel in Kathmandu where the students live and study with other children from their village. They are supported by hostel staff, who are also from their village. This helps to maintain a sense of community and culture – a critical factor when they move from a village of a few hundred to the unfamiliar and chaotic environment of Kathmandu, population 1.4 million. 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 Komang are cared for at the Himalayan Komang Hostel. The village of Karang recently opened a hostel for its grade 5 graduates.
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!
2 Recent Graduates Return Home
Tsering Wangmo (left) and Pema Bhuti (right) are Shelter108 girls who completed their nursing studies and received licenses from the Nepal Nursing Council in late 2019 and have returned to the Upper Dolpo to serve the community there.
Tsering Wangmo was hired by Schulverein Lo-Mangthang and is responsible for the health care needs of Namdo and its neighbouring villages. Pema Bhuti was hired by Shey Phuksundo Rural Municipality. She is based in Nyisal village and is caring for the people of Komang and Ku villages.
image courtesy of Shelter108
In Fact, More Than Half of the Graduates Return Home
‘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 10 this year. I have visited his school and am extremely impressed. It is very clean and well organized with plenty of room for sporting activities like football and basketball! I have followed, and 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.