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 1.5 million. The schools they attend have larger populations than their entire village! At today’s exchange rate it costs approx $1,500. per year. This is a financial impossibility for families in the Upper Dolpo who struggle to make a living through subsistence farming.
We are the primary support for the Karang Hostel. This is one of our largest, and perhaps our most important project. Students from Komang are cared for at the Himalayan Komang Hostel. 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.
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. They will not see their families again until they complete grade 10. These are bright, highly motivated students, many of whom are wanting to return to their villages as teachers, engineers and health care professionals! They are incredibly grateful for your support!
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 returned to the Upper Dolpo to serve 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
‘Our’ student in Kathmandu
Tenzin finished class 6 at Saldang in 2016. There were seven grade 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. The Saldang School coordinator asked if we could pay his fees to attend Srongtsen Bhrikuti Boarding High School, a Tibetan Exile Government school in Kathmandu. 700 students attend this school, 200 live at the school.
Tenzin completed grade 10 last year and was accepted into the vocational civil engineering program at Kumari College. We were thrilled for him, and agreed to fund his three-year diploma program. He loves math and physics, and hands-on design and model building. I had lunch with him and was delighted to see what a fine young man he has become. His dream is to help Dolpo as an assistant engineer.
His father 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”.
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.