Project 2010

The Swedish Tibetan Society for School & Culture

The Society's founder, Soenam Jamyangling, with children at the site of the first school in 1991The Society's founder, Soenam Jamyangling, with children at the site of the first school in 1991In 2010 The Dagpo Educational Fund was able to provide financial support towards education in Tibet through The Swedish Society for School & Culture. In 1988 The Society was founded with the following mission:

*To participate in an international grass roots effort to build, renovate, or otherwise support 108 primary schools (grades 1-6) in the rural areas of Tibet, and to provide medical care for the students attending the schools.

*To preserve Tibetan culture by providing Tibetan children with the ability to read their traditional texts, to learn traditional arts and crafts, and develop the skills necessary to be able to participate in the economical and political future of their country.

The 108 schools project

Katsel  het eerste school project Katsel, the first school project
In 1989 The Swedish Society signed a formal agreement with the government of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), the first of its kind in the history of Tibet, and began its first project, building a boarding school at Katsel.

Slowly but surely more agreements were signed and in 1996 the project 108 Schools in Tibet was formally announced. Ten years later, the Society's ambitious aim was achieved: 108 schools and libraries were built.

This project has contributed significantly to the development of Children's Rights in Tibet. The upbringing and education of children are crucial for the preservation of the Tibetan language and culture.

Current Situation

Today, many years and many projects later, there are 13000 children being educated in 108 schools. The majority of Tibetans still live inside Tibet. In urban areas, the level of education is generally adequate. However, in rural areas (where the majority lives) it is still extremely difficult to receive a basic education.

Although there are many competent teachers being trained in Tibet, it is often impossible for them to teach in rural areas due to the lack of proper teaching and living facilities. Often there are not enough school buildings to accommodate all the children who want to attend. The financial responsibility of building a school is also usually left to the villagers themselves who cannot afford to do so. Even when a school is built, the on-going costs of operations and maintenance are far beyond the resources of the local community.

After the construction of 108 schools and libraries, the aim of the Swedish Society is to support the villagers with the on-going costs and the maintenance of the buildings and the students who wish to pursue their education. The Swedish Society for school and culture wrote in 2010: nowadays our main focus is on supporting children from poor families who are attending Higher Studies. Each student costs approx. 8,000 Yuan (850 €) per year and at present we have 74 new students who are badly in need of support!

Buchu Shang schoolDe scholen worden door de lokale mensen gebouwd met behulp van traditionele middelenThe schools are constructed by the local population using traditional methods and materials

The Dagpo Educational Fund is helping Buchu Shang School, situated 30 km from the city of Nyitri in the Kongpo region at 3000 metres above sea level. Kongpo is thought to be one of the most beautiful regions in Tibet and is renowned for its rich forests. The famous Yarlung Tsangpo River flows through it, stretching into India to become the Brahmaputra. In the immediate vicinity of the school, the population of nomads and farmers numbers 2855. Currently attending the Buchu Shang School are 163 pupils with eleven staff members, teachers included. The Swedish Society built an extension to the Buchu Shang School in 2005.

Sponsoring students

In addition to helping the school with repairs, The Dagpo Educational Fund's donation sponsors seven students. The money is not given directly to the children but is added to the school fund which pays for the books, clothing and food of the sponsored children. Otherwise these children would have no opportunity to receive an education.

Jewels of Tibet, a rosary of 108 schools, published by the Swedish Society in 2006, includes the story of Yeshi, a girl who was 14 years old at the time and lived alone with her father. Her mother died at the age of 25 when Yeshe was nine years old, for lack of money to pay for medical treatment. Yeshi and her father live together in a one-room house to which her father added a small extension made of chipboard, to ensure Yeshi of some privacy. Yeshi completed the 6 grades at Katsel School, the first built school by the Society, and then went on to attend a state school in her region for three more years. In the future she would like to teach Tibetan language. She has to walk half an hour to school and half an hour back, and would love to have a bike that her father cannot afford. He already struggles to earn a living. A few years ago he had to sell his cattle and now he works as a handyman. Without the help of the Swedish Society he would not be able to buy clothes and books for Yeshi and she would never have been able to get a proper education. Now she can go to college and will one day be able to contribute financially to the household.

Finally

project2010_6Because this project coincides completely with The Dagpo Educational Fund's mission and for the moment it is the only possibility to support projects in Tibet, we decided to make a donation to The Swedish Society. The money will be used to make repairs and to sponsor seven students.

We sincerely hope that our donation will help to give children like Yeshi a better future and allow them to contribute to the preservation and development of their language and culture.

Please visit the Swedish Society website for more information.