Projects 2009

For 2009 The Dagpo Educational Fund is supporting two projects:

  • The Bauddh Darshan Sanskrit Vidyalaya (Buddhist Philosophic Sanskrit) Keylong School in Lahoul Spiti (H.P., India)
  • Dagpo Thosam Ling School, which is part of the Dagpo Shedrub Ling Monastery in Kaïs (H.P., India)

The Bauddh Darshan Sanskrit Vidyalaya Keylong School in Lahoul Spiti (BDSVK)

The people of Lahoul and Spiti Distt (in Himachal Pradesh, North India) established BDSVK School in 1976 to preserve the art, culture, languages and philosophy of Buddhism that exist throughout in the region.

Prior to 1959 scholars, monks and nuns of the area traveled to Tibet in pursuit of higher Buddhist education. When this was no longer possible after the Chinese occupation, some local people decided to use the funds they had collected from local donors to establish a school providing traditional education. His Holiness the Dalai Lama inaugurated the school and initially provided the much needed books. The school from its inception had difficulties covering running costs. Financial assistance was repeatedly requested from the state and in the years 1984-1986 the Government of India covered 75% of the total annual expenditure. Since 1992 the New Delhi Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan has provided funds to cover the salary of a Sanskrit teacher and a very small amount as a scholarship for a few students. The school has received no other financial assistance.

Today the school has become the Bauddh Darshan Sankrit Senior Secondary School. It gives classes in Bhoti (Tibetan language) and Buddhist philosophy. To bring the students into the mainstream of modern education, it teaches modern languages (English and Hindi), science, mathematics, social science as well as art and crafts. There are nine teachers and four other staff members. Donations are sought from the local people to cover the teachers’ salaries but they are so small that it is difficult to make ends meet.

At present there are seventy students studying at the school. All of them come from poor Buddhist families, mostly living in remote areas of the Himalayan regions where few educational facilities are available. They come from the Loser and Poh Valleys of Spiti, from Tod and Tinan, the Miyar Valley of District Lahoul and Spiti, Pangi of Distt. Chamba, the Labrang Valley of Distt. Kinnour, from Sherpa communities of Nepal and from Zanskar and Kargil Districts of Jammu and Kashmir State.

The children’s parents are so poor that they cannot afford to pay for their education. The school management is obliged to provide free board and lodging, books, writing materials and school uniforms which cost at least 10 lakhs INR (1,000,000 Indian Rupees or14,500 €) per annum.

The Dagpo Educational Fund wishes to help this year by donating funds for:

  1. Salaries
  2. Writing materials and books for all students
  3. The school library
  4. Translation, documentation, printing of magazine and booklets
  5. Training

1. Salaries
To cover one year’s salary for the following: the principal, the teachers of English, Bhoti, history, mathematics and science, physical education, arts and crafts, the clerk, the cleaner and two cooks, we need 444,000 INR or 6376 €.

2. Writing materials and books
Writing materials: cost 300 INR per student x 70 students = 21.000 INR a year or 304 €; books: cost 500 INR x 70 = 35,000 INR a year or 507 €

3. School library
Teachers and students are in the process of learning Bhoti and are not yet able to read literature in that language. Initially books in Hindi and Sanskrit are required to improve knowledge of history and literature. There is a list of 174 required books on Buddhist art and culture, history, science, social science, English, Hindi, Sanskrit and Bhoti literature. The cost is estimated at 121,005 INR or 1753 €

4. Translation, documentation, printing of magazine and booklets
The school hopes to translate basic Buddhist scriptures into Hindi and to print them in small booklets at low cost so as to make them available free of charge to the local people. It also plans to print an annual magazine containing articles by both teachers and students to publicize the school’s activities. Furthermore it would like to create a small museum to preserve a collection of articles of archaeological, social, cultural and religious importance. The cost of these activities is estimated at 70,000 INR or 1014 €

5. Training
The school is well aware of the difficulty the students have finding jobs after finishing their schooling and plans therefore to provide extra training in arts and crafts: traditional thanka painting, sculpture and wood carving. There is a great demand locally as well as globally for these kinds of arts and crafts and teachers and raw materials are available locally.

For the same purpose, the school also proposes to offer a Shastri (Sanskrit) Training Class after completing grade 12 as there is a high demand for Shastri teachers in public and private schools and institutes.

Dagpo Thosam Ling School at Dagpo Shedrub Ling Monastery

Dagpo Thosam Ling is located on the grounds of Dagpo Shedrub Ling Monastery at Kaïs. This primary school provides education to over 100 children, mostly as boarders. The school presently offers classes, for the most part taught in Tibetan, up to grade 5 so the children leave when they are about 10 or 11 years old. If the classes could be extended to the 8th grade, after leaving the children could continue their education in Varanasi at the CIHTS (Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies) up to Ph.D. level.

To offer the students the possibility of pursuing their studies in Varanasi directly after leaving Thosam Ling, the plan therefore is to enlarge the school. The current building is too small to accommodate more classes. Furthermore a bigger building is needed to answer the constant demand of families to have their children educated at Dagpo Thosam Ling. Unfortunately the land where the school is presently located is too small to allow the school to grow and the only alternative is to seek another piece of land.

After searching for several years, recently a piece of land not far from the monastery and close to Nagar was found. It is in the process of being purchased. The aim is to use it to build a school that could accommodate up to 200 children.

The present school buildings, once vacated, will be used by the monastery as it too is growing.

The Dagpo Educational Fund is helping with the purchase of the land (40% of the total cost) and hopes to be able to help finance the construction of the new school building next year as well. The construction of the new Dagpo Thosam Ling School is also an important project of Entraide Franco-Tibétaine (see Links), with which the The Dagpo Educational Fund works closely.