Saldang village during winter
In the December report I talked about the school session 2018/2019 and the daily routine activities. Today I will outline details about extracurricular activities and examination.
First, sad news: One of the students at the Shel Ri Drugdra School died in an avalanche. It is our student Sonam from class 5 (see picture below). I remember him very well from my visit in April 2018.
We all pray for his departed soul and may his soul rest in peace.
He was a very popular student and boy in the village. The parents are very sad and miss him. They came to school almost every day and mourned him.
Beside the repition of the normal curriculum, some extra-curricular activities took place. The teachers have conducted class essays for the senior students in three different languages. And for the intermediate students, they managed several activities like story reading & listening, simple composition & dictation and group assignments. Frequently, the Tibetan teachers gave lectures about the history of the Dolpo and its local tradition, religions, culture besides teaching and explaining the meaning of prayers that the students recite every morning and evening. Further, the other teachers included introductory students in activities like singing children rhymes in three different languages and some other games.
To analyze and evaluate the student progress, teachers conduct an exam at the end of every winter session. The test papers are usually set outside of the textbooks where students are encouraged to answer in their own words. This means, that the teachers can better evaluate the current ability and capacity of each student rather than writing down the mockup answers. In this winter session of the year 2018/19, there was a good result from the students. The other interesting outcome observed, was less variability amongst the individual student performance within the group. This might be the case, because all students were from the Saldang school, unlike previous years where the one or the other student attended the winter session from neighboring schools. One reason for that is, that HUMAN-Stiftung (HUMAN Foundation) now supports the new winter school in the village of Nyisal, five hours away from Saldang. Both, teachers and the school coordinator feel that the students of Saldang are progressing year after year.
THE WORK OF WINTER SCHOOL MANAGEMENT
Starting from winter session 2017/2018, both the coordinator of winter and summer class Mr. Karma Dhondup Lama *) and Mr. Pema Wangyal Lama *) (see pictures below), decided to manage and organize the winter session together. Mr. Karma Dhondup is usually involved in managing and monitoring part of the winter session. Mr. Pema Wangyal is more involved in communicating with the Government, the sponsor and paper works. The financial part is usually handled by Mr. Karma Dhondup both in terms of preparing the budget and allocating the fund on different expense accounts of the winter session (salary, food, building renovation, material expenses...).
VILLAGER’S CONTRIBUTION FOR THE WINTER SCHOOL
Unlike the previous winter sessions, this time the students' food supplies were collected from the parents of each student who attended the winter session rather than the school management buying them separately. And later the parents were compensated for the food they have supplied to their children during the winter session at a nominal market rate. Further, the parents of each student contributed to the winter school by providing 50 kg of dung/firewood.
The list of food items collected from the parents of individual students was as follows:
1. Firewood/Dung - 50 kg per each student
2. Rice- 15 kg per each student
3. Wheat flour - 15 kg per each student
4. Salt- 1 kg per each student
5. Chilly- 1/2 Kg per student
6. Oil- 3 Liters per student
7. Lentil - 3 kg per student
For the school operations including food and school material we spent about US$ 6,500,00. In addition, we paid extra money for trainer education and some building cost which made about US$1,500,00.
The winter school session 2019/2020 is running smoothly. To get a short impression about winter times in Saldang, please follow the LINK below and watch a small video, how people need to “clear” the trail of snow between houses in the upper and lower part of the village.
Life is extremely hard in winter times in Saldang and other villages in Upper Dolpo. However, about 70% of the people stay in the village with most of the children, while others go down into lower areas with their Yaks or for other reasons.
Finally, with the winter session 2019/2020 we started in November 2019 the support of the second winter school in Nyisal.
*) We have permission from all project members using their full names.
Our student Sonam died in an avalanche
Karma Dhondup Lama, Founder of School in Saldang
Pema Wangyal Lama, School Coordinator
Children studying outside during "warm" winter day