I first visited the Tibetan Refugee Camp in Jawalakhel, Kathmandu, four years ago whilst working in Nepal as a volunteer. I remember clearly how I was struck in awe by the resilience of a community that has been through so much turmoil.
Now I have returned and formed a connection with the The Atisha Primay School, a colourful small building in the middle of the camp, where Namdol, Dolma, Tseten and Pempa are almost finished their final year before going to high school.
The Principal and others in the community have shared many of the challenges they face; in particular for young Tibetans trying to complete their education.
I felt I had to do something, anything to work in partnership with them, to support the community. Upon asking "How?", I received this answer;
“Our children. Helping our children to get to Tibetan high school. The hope and traditions are instilled in young people. It is so important for them to keep these, as they are the way for the future”.
As we talked, I felt a great sadness for the history of their people and culture and a great admiration for their endurance and gentle nature, as they face these obstacles, daily, yearly, or even up to the 55 years Tibetan's have been refugees in Nepal. Their plight almost felt invisible to the world beyond the community gates.
So, after much discussion with the community, we have started this page, in the hope that we can all work together to support these four kids to get to Tibetan high school and Atisha Primary. And pay it forward. Danyabad/Thank You :)
Who is the fundraiser for?
Meet the kids in 5th Class, Atisha Primary School.
Tenzin Dolma is 10 years old and she would like to be a Doctor when she grows up.
Tenzin Namdol is 10 yrs old and she would like to be a Nurse when she grows up, like the Nurses at her local health centre down the road from her community.
Meet Tenzin Tseten (“Seyten”) who is 10 years old. He wanted to be a scientist, then a doctor, a footballer, and now an engineer or anything close to “Iron Man”.
Meet Pempa Lhamo, the eldest in the class at 11 years, who is still deciding what she would like to do when she grows up.
These are just four stories of the 15 000 Tibetans currently being hosted in Nepal, where they face difficulties in their lives, every, single, day.
What Are We Raising Donations for?
Once these kids finish 5th year at Atisha Primary, they have an uphill battle in order to get to the only Tibetan high school in Nepal.
Paying for a high school education is a real challenge - school fees in the first year are $54 USD per month, equal to many parents monthly earnings from the community Handicraft Centre, and that's before the added cost of uniforms and stationary. These fees increase each year, for the 6 years a child is in high school.
Admission, Stationary, Sports, library, Medical, Bedding Maintenance, Lodging, School Picnic, Computers: $131 USD
Boarding 12 months: $274 USD
Tuition Fees 12 months: $243 USD
TOTAL: $648 USD For all expenses for 1 year, For 1 Student.
Student are expected to attend high school for 6 years in total. The smallest donation will help these students start on a path that will drive the rest of their lives for a brighter future.
For Tibetan people in Nepal, not having basic rights such as a Nepali ID or refugee card, causes huge obstacles in order to gain employment and participate in society in general.
Access to good education strongly supports these young people to be able to gain better opportunities for a brighter future, whether in Nepal or abroad such as India, where Tibetans are provided with ID cards and far more options for employment and a future.
Some of the students in the high school are lucky enough to get sponsorship from some INGOS, but it only covers a portion. The rest is still very difficult for the parents to afford. If they cannot raise enough money to pay the high school fees, there is a risk the children may drop out of school completely, also losing their chance to get a sustainable job, go to university and continue the invaluable learning of their Tibetan culture.
A portion of donations will go to the Atisha Primary School who do not charge parents to send their kids to the school, but are struggling to pay their Tibetan teachers salaries and have enough teachers for classes.
Its not often we have a chance to make a real difference to someone's life. The gift of education is life changing. Please Join Us. Any contribution helps, including sharing this link :)
WAYS TO DONATE
1) Send funds internationally direct to my Paypal account via PayPal.Me/TibetanKids (Mobile Friendly)
Note: If you do not have a PayPal account, the link will lead you to a very quick & easy account registration :)
2) For Australian Bank Accounts Direct Transfer:
Bank: Teachers Mutual Bank
Account Name: Eva Kaufman
Account Number: 37892
BSB: 812 170
Please put #AtishaFunds in the transfer
#Donation receipts can be provided for tax returns
How Will the Funds Be Used?
All funds will be donated to the beneficiaries and none will go to organiser. Donations will be overseen by the organiser and transferred to the Atisha Primary School managed by Principal Tashi Dorjee, before April 2018. The Atisha Primary School and the Principal have a long history of managing scholarships for the children from other donors and INGOS, and are supported by the Tibetan Community Settlement Manager Karma Gyalsten, who has also overseen and approved this project.
Once the funds are with the Atisha Primary School, the principal will pay the divided funds directly to the high school, receiving receipts for all payments, which will be sent to the organiser. A portion of funds raised will also be donated to Atisha Priamry School. All funds will have documentation and receipts.
I would like to extend my gratitude to Tashi Dorjee, Karma Dawa, Karma Gyaltsen, Kiran The Nomad and the community for their generous support in setting up this project together.