Mar 1, 2020

Report of school period 2018-2019 (part 2)

Saldang village during winter
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.



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...).



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
Our student Sonam died in an avalanche
Karma Dhondup Lama, Founder of School in Saldang
Karma Dhondup Lama, Founder of School in Saldang
Pema Wangyal Lama, School Coordinator
Pema Wangyal Lama, School Coordinator
Children studying outside during "warm" winter day
Children studying outside during "warm" winter day


Dec 2, 2019

Report of school period 2018-2019 (part 1)

Some students of winter school 2018-2019
Some students of winter school 2018-2019

Publishing a quarterly report for our winter school project is fraught with challenges. Since there is no phone line or internet available in the very remote mountainous villages, we must wait for the report of one of our school coordinators, who returns to Kathmandu only once a year (in November / December). A journey from Saldang or Nyisal to Kathmandu takes at least 9 days even for locals (7 days hiking, 2 days by bus). We therefore ask for your understanding that our report can only be published a few months after the sessions. We hope that there will be a mobile connection available in the foreseeable future.

With this report we give a first overview of the winter school year 2018/2019 (November to April). The period started on 17th November 2018 and ended on 16th April 2019. The winter school session went smoothly without any obstacles and hindrances. And we achieved good results from our students with the cooperation of the dedicated teachers and staffs who worked selflessly during the whole session in those very harsh winter weather. This year altogether we educated 68 students; 30 boys and 38 girls attended the winter session from grade Nursery to Six and all the students were from Saldang itself.

And in this winter session, there was no participation of students from the neighboring villages such as Namdo, Karang and Komang like past years as the respective schools have started to run their own winter session recently. Also, those students who live nearby the school could stay with their parents and attend the classes during the daytime.

Students were given a week-long vacation during Sonam(farmer) Losar. A new approach during this winter session was, that teachers facilitated several introductory classes to adults of the Saldang village who were passionate to learn reading and writing of both Nepali and English language.

Find here the daily routine of the winter school in Saldang.

8:00 am - 8:30 am                  Morning Prayer
8:30 am - 9:00 am                  Break Fast #
9: 00 am - 12:00 am               Morning Classes
12:00am -1:00pm                   Lunch Break
1:00 pm - 4:00pm                   Afternoon Classes
4:00pm - 4:15pm                    Teatime

This winter session we mainly had only two teachers, because one teacher attended an intensive special teacher training for some time in Kathmandu. Mr. Dawa Dhondup served as Tibetan teacher, where students were educated about Dolpo cultures, language and reciting prayers besides revision of summer session topics. Mr. Gyaltsen Lama mostly revised the rest of the subjects taught in the summer session. Moreover, both all teachers worked in development activities of our students’ personality and external knowledge. Besides the teachers we hired a cook and a helper.

Next time I will report more details about activities and exams. As classrooms do not have any heating and it is very cold inside, children as much as possible are learning outside to enjoy sunshine.

Sometimes outside is warmer than in classroom
Sometimes outside is warmer than in classroom
Winter landscape in village of Saldang
Winter landscape in village of Saldang


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