A school with a future - Ladakh 2006

India-Travelogue  |  Travel time: August 2006  |  by A. S.

The school project

"Actually we already told a lot of foreigners about our school, but until now we have only a small success", says Jigme after he and Geshe La took me around the school ground. The two ask for help, because they are faced with a big job - to modernize and enlarge the monastery school.

In Summer 06 the school building was under construction

In Summer 06 the school building was under construction

It started two years ago, when the monastery decide to improve the school. Geshe La remembers that time and how he torn out from his normal monks live in south India. Due to a phone call with a high rinpoche they call him back to Ladakh - his motherland and he got the difficult job to improve the circumstances on the monastery school.

Classroom with a view, but without a heating

Classroom with a view, but without a heating

Since then a lot has changed in Spituk. The former 8 students became 28 students in the age between 5 and 15 years. At the moment a new classroom is build and the pleasant monk had the good idea to install an internet shop in the main town Leh to finance the maintenance costs of the school. After all two managing persons, two teachers and one cook stay aside the students, who are teached here in a five-class-system in Tibetan, English, Hindi and Mathematics.

The Kitchen with the cook

The Kitchen with the cook

Dark dining room needs a improvement

Dark dining room needs a improvement

It must be very hard, I think, when I inquire after the daily routine of the small monks and I find out, that they have to stick to a tight timetable between 6 am and 9 pm. Apart from the normal lessons there are self study, practising Buddhist texts and praying on the program. It's no wonder that sometimes a child is running away, how Jigme explain, and a few times he had to search for a boy already. Then he takes his old moped and ride to their relatives, does research and somehow he can manage it to bring them back to the school. Of course it is very hard for the small monks, who come partly from remote areas in Ladakh, where is sometimes no road going and they come from families, which are in our eyes very poor. The parents, which follow the old tradition and give one son to the monastery, don't need to pay for the education and costs of their children. All the books, the food and the lessons are financing by the school.

One of the bedrooms

One of the bedrooms

As expected there are very simple circumstances, under which the kids can accommodate in the school. Two rooms with 10 and 18 beds inside, on the floor lay a dirty-looking carpet. Every student has his private things in a metal box. Only on some of the beds I can see warm blankets.

Metal boxes for personal things

Metal boxes for personal things

When I stay in the bathroom I fell even colder. Bare concrete walls and ice-cold water. It needs so many improvements in the school, a means of transport, a new dining hall, opportunities to heat for the long winter and so on.

Cold bathroom

Cold bathroom

The two know that they have a long way to go until the work is finish, because in addition they want to extend the school up to 8 classes.

© A. S., 2007
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The trip
 
Description:
Read about a small monastery school in Ladakh
Details:
Start of journey: August 2006
Duration: unknown
End of journey: August 2006
Travelled countries: India
The Author
 
A. S. is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 13 years.
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