The official name of the school is “Shelri Drugdra Lower Secondary School”. Shelri is the holy Crystal Mountain near Shey Gompa, of Snow Leopard fame, and Drugdra refers to the roar of the dragon. Crystal Mountain of the Dragon’s Roar Lower Secondary School!
The school has ~ 75 students and is operated by 9 teachers with a support staff of 3; a cook, a nanny for the young children, and a maintenance worker. Most of the staff lives at the school during the school year. The annual operating cost of the school is $25,000 US ($33,000 CAD).
They learn three languages; Tibetan – their primary language and Nepali and English. Science, Mathematics, Socials and Health are taught as well.
The school is run in cooperation with the Nepalese authorities and the local School Management Committee. The local population supports the school through manual work or by providing fire wood.
Each year, students graduating from Class 6 are able to go to Kathmandu (Nepal’s capital city) to finish their education. Several former students who have graduated from school in Kathmandu have returned as teachers to to Saldang School. One has returned as a nurse to start a health clinic.
The school uniforms are traditional Tibetan chupas. The school works to help ensure the continuation of the Tibetan way of life. The Tibetan culture has survived in relatively pure form in the Upper Dolpo because of its extreme remoteness.
Saldang School Gallery
From Nyima Bhuti – first graduating class of Saldang School and daughter of Tulku – great Lama at Komas.
“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, a full days walk east of Saldang.”
Update – Nyima finished her bachelor degree in social work in 2016 and is planning to start her masters level in 2017.
She is helping support the 23 students from Komas who are currently finishing their higher education in Kathmandu.