Education  Nepal Project #41800

Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal

by HUMAN-Stiftung
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Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
Winter Schools in the remote mountains of Nepal
20 tons of rice and flour for 700 families
20 tons of rice and flour for 700 families

This report is not about our school operations itself, but gives you an insight view of how the Covid pandemic impacts the people in the villages where our school projects take place and several other villages in this mountainous region of the Upper Dolpo in Nepal.

A very high number of cases of illness occured in Upper Dolpo in May/June this year. That is why we have started to organize a delivery of medical equipment and food for the families affected beside the medicines. In a joint action, the HUMAN Foundation has succeeded in merging with our partner Dolpo Tulku Rinpoche and other NGOs from Canada, Germany, Switzerland and Nepal. Several packages of medication (febrifuge, cough syrup, pain reliever, (multi) vitamin tablets, antibiotics and much more) were transported to Upper Dolpo in a small helicopter on June 6, 2021 and deposited in three “Health Posts”. Thus, at least basic drugs are available to alleviate some symptoms. More medical care is not possible, since oxygen cylinders etc. are currently not available. And it that makes no sense, as the locals do not know how to operate the medical equipment. Whether the illness is Covid or a severe flu has not yet been determined, as there are no test options.

Due to the many diseases and pandemic restrictions, many families will experience significant harvest losses. Food through trade cannot be purchased either, as the borders with Tibet are closed.

During the month of July we delivered food to 700 families in the rural municipalities of Shey Phoksundo, Dolpo Buddha and Chharka Tangsong in Upper Dolpo at around 4,000 meters above sea level. In total, more than 20 tons of food have been delivered by mules to the three distribution villages in Dho Tarap, Saldang and Karkot. From there, 30 kg of flour or rice per family were distributed to the needy people in the 22 villages. Locals were selected for transportation so that they could earn money from transportation. A total of 360 mules were in action. Each individual transport took 3 days. This supply will help families get through the next harsh winter.

The total costs for the food support amount to more than 30,000 USD. The HUMAN Foundation bears almost 30% of the costs.

We do not want to abandon the families and their children in the Upper Dolpo in the Himalayas in these difficult times, some of whom attend the schools we support.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all donors who supported this special campaign already.

3 Municipalities and 22 villages at 4,000 meter
3 Municipalities and 22 villages at 4,000 meter
Food transport to the villages
Food transport to the villages
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Children say thank you to Human-Stiftung
Children say thank you to Human-Stiftung

Preliminary Remark: The villages and the schools in Upper Dolpo are located in one of the remotest mountainous areas in the world and there is no or hardly any phone contact and Internet is not available. This said, we only can deliver detailed reports of the school sessions for our winter schools with 9-12 months delay after the school period ended. We need to give the school coordinator time to write and provide their reports once they come to Kathmandu. Thank you for your understanding.

The winter session at the Shree Yangjer Gumba Basic School in Nyisal started on November 2019 and was completed end of February 2020. The sessions mainly focussed on reading and writing aspects on the three core language subjects: Tibetan, English and Nepali and also served as remedial courses for other subjects and preperatory classes for the students. Beside that, the winter classes serves as the coaching classes for struggling students and also let the students be involved in extra-curricular activities to fulfill their learning needs and well-being. Examples are chess, puzzles, dance lessons, singing and art classes.

A total of 34 students attended the sessions and the students came from the villages of Musil and Lhuri and from Nyisal, were the school itself is located. The winter season has a huge significance for the people of the Upper Dolpo as the annual festival of Sonam Lhosar falls in this season. 

Together with the school management we appointed three teachers and one cook for the winter period. The session was coordinated by Ms. Phurba Sango Gurung, while teaching English to the students. The other teachers Nyima Tashi Gurung and Lodoe Namgyal Lama trained the students in other languages and subjects.

The three teachers differentiated the levels of the students as per their grades and skills. The students were facilitated accordingly. The Tibetan lessons helped students to learn more about social and cultural aspects. All people in Upper Dolpo follow the same culture, so winter classes are always very special for the students and the community in this regard. For graded learning, the teachers grouped the students in beginners, intermediate and advanced skills.

The school is located above the altitude of 3,800 meters, the region experiences heavy snowfall. Here is the daily routine of a school day:

08:30 am - 09:00 am Morning assembly

09:00 am - 12:00 am Morning classes

12:00 am - 01:00 pm Lunch time

01:00 pm - 04:00 pm Afternoon classes

04:00 pm - 04:15 pm Afternoon assembly

At the end of the winter class the teachers conducted an assessment. The evaluation helped in comparing students level. All students made remarkable progress and formed the baseline for the summer classes.

The villagers played the role of guardians during the winter class. Their contribution in terms of materials and other resources were limited. The villagers supported with firewood, potato and other supplies as per their convenience. In general the school was under-resourced and was not capable of proving food to all students. Some students need to get food from their home. This is why we will improve the situation in the future.

The school management is very happy that the HUMAN-Stiftung decided to take over the expenses for the winter school in Nyisal from 2019 on, because the former sponsor was no longer able to support this school. 

Overall we successfully managed the first winter school period and decided to increase the financial support from the winter school period 2020-2021 on. In the meantime, this school period ended and at least we received a very short message that everything went well. Unfortunately we need to wait again for several months. If Covid allows, it is planned that I will visit all schools in Saldang and Nyisal and our new small school project in Lhuri in September 2021.

More details about the school project in Lhuri will follow in our next report.

We higly appreciate your support for our winter school projects. Without your help, the schools would not work in the winter period.

School in winter times with little snow
School in winter times with little snow
Students with Yaks in the background
Students with Yaks in the background
During sunshine it is better to study outside
During sunshine it is better to study outside
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Saldang School in early winter times
Saldang School in early winter times

Preliminary remark: Since the schools in Upper Dolpo are remote and there is no or hardly any telephone contact and the Internet is not available, detailed reports on the school periods for the winter schools can only be provided with a long delay. We kindly ask for your understanding. The Winter Schools in Saldang and Nyisal are completely financed by the HUMAN Foundation. The Dolpo Tulku Charitable Foundation (DTCF) is our administrative partner in Nepal.

Before I focus on the 2019-2020 winter period, I would like to briefly provide a current overview of the Corona-situation. In Kathmandu, the Covid numbers are slightly increasing again. There is no lockdown, but the situation is getting worse. However, the Upper Dolpo situation in Saldang and Nyisal is good.

People are still scared about the corona virus but were even more worried in the summer. The autumn harvest was good, and people have enough to eat during the winter. Summer schools in Upper Dolpo began in July, but Government teachers were not allowed to go to Dolpo. So only the private teachers paid by the NGOs gave lessons to the students.

Although no corona infection was detected in Saldang, people were heavily affected by the pandemic. Picking the “healing” fungus Yartsa Gunbu was not allowed. Many people did not have a chance to earn some money with it, also because the border to China / Tibet was completely closed. The Dolpa-pa could not trade in their goods. Usually the Dolpa-pa need flour, sugar, butter, tea, clothes and shoes, while they offer their special animal wool and Yartsa Gunbu for trade. The herdsmen had to leave their Yaks in Lower Dolpo because they were not allowed to stay there or wanted to return to their villages.

Overall, the Winter School period 2019-2020 was successful. The session started November 5th 2019 until March 31st 2020 from 9am to 4:15pm. In total 70 students attended (28 boys and 42 girls) from Nursery to class six, two more students compared to the year before. All students came from Saldang village.

During this session 32 students who live nearby the school, stayed with their parents and other 38 students lived in the school. One teacher served as Tibetan teachers, where students were educated about Dolpo cultures, language, and reciting prayers. The other teachers revised the regular main subjects of the summer session, like Math, Nepali language, English, Science, reading and writing. Two kitchen staffs and some local caretakers provided food and took care about the students in the school.

The Winter School Management and the parents were happy with the results and the progress all children made. It is a very promising sign that the same number of students attenden the winter school as in summertime.

 The School Management Committee found: “The winter school is very effective in keeping our old religion, culture and tradition alive and in developing the knowledge not only of the children in the school, but also of the community. It helps to change and reduce the bad habits. The winter school has also helped to preserve traditions and culture and to keep the experience of the summer lessons in memory.”

 As every year, the villagers provided the food for the staff and the students and we pay them for it.

Your donation makes all these happen. Thank you so much.

Winter landscape in Saldang
Winter landscape in Saldang
Students in Saldang School
Students in Saldang School
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Some students in Saldang school wearing masks
Some students in Saldang school wearing masks

The situation in Upper Dolpo during Corona is not always easy. Nepal still has strict rules and infection rate is causing restrictions. Sometimes it also affects the locals of Upper Dolpo when there is another ban that the locals are not allowed to leave their villages. In summary: the Dolpa-pa are trying to deal with the pandemic in the best possible way, however, feel sometimes unsafe. Overall, they can largely go on with their lives “without panic”. We very much hope that there will be no major health problems, but things are currently going quite well. Hygiene is also important in Saldang, which is why schoolchildren are encouraged to wash their hands.

The farming activities of the local villagers are going as planned, as you can see from the wonderful picture with the green field (mind you, we are on 13,000 ft. above sea level).

School in Saldang

 The “summer school” in Saldang started again at the end of July and can also be held with short interruptions. The government distributed masks, but they do not dominate the daily routine. The central government in Nepal has not allowed schools to run, but the local governments want classes to take place again. However, no teachers are sent to the villages by the government, only local and private teachers are in Saldang. Around 80 students are joining pre-school and classes 1-6.

 Nyisal

Unfortunately, we have no news from our school project in Nyisal now, as unlike Saldang, there is no phone contact at all. Next time I will report about the last winter and current summer session and the plan for the upcoming winter session 2020 / 2021.

It is currently not possible to say whether our winter school period in Saldang and Nyisal will start without any problems, however, we are still optimistic. Only our “private” teachers will stay in the villages during the winter period, due to the extremely hard living conditions.

Enjoy a little Tibetan dance performance by some of the children in our Saldang school via the LINK below.

School lesson in Saldang school, summer 2020
School lesson in Saldang school, summer 2020
Farming activities of Saldang locals
Farming activities of Saldang locals
Hygiene measures in Corona times in Saldang
Hygiene measures in Corona times in Saldang

Links:

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Quarantine in the school of Saldang
Quarantine in the school of Saldang

The winter school periods of our schools in Saldang and Nyisal were largely completed. From the middle of April, however, all schools in the mountain villages were closed. They are used as quarantine stations for returnees from Kathmandu. The lockdown measures in Nepal are carried out very strictly. Many people from Kathmandu went back to their home villages as they did not get any job and thus not enough food in Kathmandu and other areas. As always, we only can provide a more comprehensive report of our winter school sessions later this year once our school coordinators of the winter schools come back to Kathmandu. Right now, the Government of Nepal has announced an easing to the nationwide lockdown on June 15, although the country is still far away from being back to normal.

The overall situation in Nepal is dramatic. After 74 days of lockdown, over 1,200 people have already committed suicide by end of May. This is more than twice as much as in the whole year of 2019. People have mental health problems, have lost their jobs and can no longer repay their debts. The loss of tourism this year will have extreme consequences. There are still over 500,000 Nepalese workers in Qatar, Dubai and other countries that are now to be brought back. Unlike in Germany, in the Himalayan regions there is no state aid, unemployment benefit or any financial aid for the people concerned.

Our friends in Saldang and Nyisal in Upper Dolpo are suffering under Covid-19 as well. Although they are able to seed and do farming, people cannot move as they want or need. Many herdsmen and Yak owners urgently need to move their animals to the lower pasture areas, but they are not allowed to, because they have to be tested on Covid-19 first. This is not as easy and the Government thinks about sending test ampules to Upper Dolpo with helicopters. Another downside of Corona is that the Yartsa Gunbu season has been canceled. This means, that many people miss a necessary income this year because they cannot deliver this medicinal mushroom which is highly demanded from mainly people in Asia.

In addition to our school projects in Saldang and Nyisal, we gave financial support to provide food to the most affected families. This campaign was set up by our local administrative partner Dolpo Tulku Charitable Foundation. It was absolutely necessary to give food to people with no income.

It is still uncertain how the situation will develop in Nepal. After the earthquake in 2015 there is another dramatic year for all guides, cooks, helpers, porters, horse drivers, lodge owners, hotel employees, drivers and travel companies and many other people. We wish the people in Nepal the easing of the situation as quickly as possible and very much hope that we can start school again in November.

In our next report we hope we can give first information about last winter school period from November 2019 to April 2020.

Food distribution to affected people in Kathmandu
Food distribution to affected people in Kathmandu
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HUMAN-Stiftung

Location: Neuss - Germany
Website:
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Project Leader:
Karlheinz Neumann
Kirchheim, Deutschland Germany
$29,672 raised of $35,000 goal
 
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