Educating Tibetan Refugee Children and Youth

Aug 29, 2012

A day in the life of a hostel student

Every morning I rise early from my bed in the hostel.  I wash my face and hands and brush my teeth. I wear my school clothes. Then we have prayers and after prayers we have breakfast.  Our school is half way down the mountain from the hostel.  Our hostel is on the top of the mountain.  After breakfast my friends and I take our book bags and start to walk down the mountain to the school.  Soon we are running to see who can get there first.  Before school, we all line up in front of the school.  Then we go in and study.  At noon, we run back up the mountain to the hostel for lunch and then we run back down the school for our classes.  After our classes, we run up the mountain to our hostel and change our clothes and go outside and play. Everybody helps each other.  If I have homework, I do it before we eat dinner.  After dinner, I go to sleep.  I am very happy!!!!

May 30, 2012

A Story From Paljor Lhundup

My name is Paljor Lhundup. I was born on November 6th in Guwahati in Assam, India. I am from Lubra, a small village in Mustang, Nepal. I was born in Assam because my parents were doing some business there during the winter. My father’s name is Dawa and my mother’s name is Dickey. I have two brothers and a sister. Their names are Nyima Tsering, Tsering Wangyal and Sonam Lhamo respectively.

I began studies in my village in primary school. There I studied Nepali language, but there is no Tibetan language there and the facilities are not so good. So in 2001, at the age of six, I came to the peaceful village of Dholanji, Himachal Pradesh in India to study and further my education. Later I was advanced from primary school to C.S.P. in Dholanji. There I studied five subjects: English language, General Science, Tibetan language, Social Studies and Mathematics. When I first joined the school there were about 250 students and classes were offered up to eighth grade. Now there are nearly 600 students and we have classes that go all the way through to high-school. 

In primary school classes I always used to play in the classroom with my friends and learn for a short amount of time. When I was in the standard sixth grade class I realized that education is very important in our life. There is a quote that says, “A person without education is like a bird without wings.” After understanding that I started to pay attention to what the teacher explained.  Recently, I successfully completed the ninth class. I am fond of traveling to new places, listening to music and playing football. My favorite hobby is playing football with my friends. My favorite subject is mathematics because there is so much calculation, puzzle games, mind games and puzzle questions, etc. I like the colors black and white.

In my home village there are nearly twenty families and most of them are farmers. There is a small school with nearly sixty-five students and which goes up to the fifth grade class level. Students come from nearby villages to learn there. Many of their parents are farmers and they do not have a chance to study in a good school. Because of this, many of them remain unemployed. In the future I want to do something about that.

The head monastery of the Bon religion is in Dholanji, as is the head Spiritual Leader of Bon H.H. and  the thirty-third seminary Trizin Rinpoche. We wear monk cloths and go to prayer in the monastery once a week.  By the grace of the Spiritual Leader, I received free hostel facilities, food, clothing, education, etc. I will be very thankful to him for my entire life.  Thank you.

Please remember that Wednesday, June 13th (beginning at 12:01 AM EST) is a Bonus Day through Global Giving.  Donations received that day will be provided a matching gift of 30, 40 or 50 percent. 

Feb 29, 2012


When the students who live at the  Children’s Welfare Center (CWC) at Yungdrung Bon Monastic Centre (YBMC) and attend the Tibetan School in Dholanji, India, reach the 10th grade, they are asked to write a biography about themselves in English. Following is the biography of Sangye Palden, born in Nepal, written in 2011.

There are two hundred countries in this world and every person was born in a different country and a different place. Some may have been born in a rich country, like the U.S.A., and some in a poor country like Nepal. It depends on your luck. Some people are so intelligent and others are foolish. Some are rich and others are poor. It depends on your capability. In this world each and every person wants to enjoy their life, but many do not get to enjoy their life; many only meet sorrow.  The place we call our motherland depends on where we are born. There is one boy whose name is Sangye Palden. That is me.

I was born on March 7, 1995 in Thapa Galvo Valley. It is my birthplace, and Nepal is my motherland. It is known as one of the most beautiful places in Dolpo. My father is a farmer and mother is a housewife. I have three brothers, one uncle, and no sisters. My family is made of seven members in total.  When I was four years old, my father sent me to our Village School. Five years later, I reached fourth grade. I was not good in properly reading English. Two years later, when I was ten, I would be so sad because in my village there was no facility to develop more education. In our village, fortunately one Bon monk came and wanted to take some boys to a foreign country for proper education. At that time he wanted to choose the students himself. Then, my whole family discussed it with each other. My father and mother were especially very happy because I was chosen to go to a foreign country for education. Within three days, my father and mother had prepared to send me to a foreign country. When I was leaving all of my neighbors gave me blessings with love.

When I reached Dholanji Village in India I found different kinds of resources and I was surprised because I had never seen this type of village. When I was ten years old I had to admit that the new school was first class because I couldn’t yet read in English when I arrived.  Then, I started to improve my education and always did well and thought well.  At the end of the year I received the first position in my class; number one. I was so happy and proud of myself. When I was in sixth grade my teacher said, “Do you have ambition?” I said, “No sir,” and at that time I began thinking about my ambition. Finally I decided that my ambition was to become a great writer and monk. I like reading books. Now, I study in tenth grade (IX A). For me my teacher Penna Padul is the best teacher in the whole school. When I went to school I discussed, enjoyed, and played with my classmates as well as other schoolmates.

Now I am living in a hostel. My hostel’s name is Bon Children Welfare Centre in Dholanji, India. This hostel is inviting. I’ll never forget this hostel because I came to live here in 2000 and now I have lived here for eleven years. I had different kinds of experiences.  Actually, this is my short auto-biography. I am not a great person but I want to be a great person in this world one day. I must always keep up on my self-confidence.

Please keep in mind that Wednesday, March 14, 2012 is Bonus Day through GlobalGiving.  Donations up to $1,000.00 will be provided with a 30% match.  The bonus allotment is $50,000.00 and the period runs from 12:01 AM EST until the funds are exhausted.  So, if you would like your donation to go a little further with the help of Global Giving, give early on March 14th.  Thank you!

Dec 6, 2011

More Room and a New Class at School

In November, I visited both the boys’ and the girls’ hostels at Menri Monastery in Dholanji.  There are now 204 boys and 45 girls in the hostels.  As the number of children has increased, the hostels have grown in size.  The boys’ hostel now has a new wing for storage of clothes, bedding, and food and also has three extra rooms for art and extracurricular classes, as well as office space for the monks who are looking after the students. The play area, which needed to be reconstructed after heavy rains caused part of the play area to slide down the hill, is now under use by the boys and a basketball court has been added.

In the hostel for girls, rooms are now completed and a railing has been added to the staircase for safety reasons.  Anticipating even more students, a new addition for rooms is under construction.

The school for the children now has an 11th grade class which means that students can now complete the 11th grade without having to go to another city and pay tuition.  There are presently 30 students in the 11th grade class. 

Sep 14, 2011

Phurba's Story

The children at the Children’s Welfare Center at the Yungdrung Bon Monastic Centre in Dolanji, India are back in school after the summer holidays.  In school they all learn English.  Recently one of the students, Phurba Thinley, whose family lives in Nepal wrote this story about himself that we thought we would share with you.

My name is Phurba Thinley.  I am 17 years old.  I was born in a remote village called Bijer in Himalayan region in Dolpo District, Nepal in 1993.  My father, Gyalpo Lama, was a businessman and the headman of the village.  Unfortunately, he passed away when I was just one or two years old. I have never seen his face except some photos.  My mother Karma Choedon, is a housewife.  After my father’s death, my mother got married with my paternal uncle or one of my father’s brothers, Ngawang Jigma.  I have two brothers. Pasang Dhodup, the eldest brother, started his study when he was 6 years old and learned how to reach and write Tibetan in the Samling Monastery, situated near Bijer and one of the oldest Bon monasteries.  Now he is in a college in Chandigarh, India.  My second brother, Yungdrung Thinley, stayed at home to help the family with my mother.  But when he was 15, he understood the meaning of ignorance as he was not able to read and write and he left our home and came to Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India and became a monk.  He is in the Bon Dialectic School now.

 I started going to a small school in the village when I was 5 years old.  There was only one classroom, one teacher and less than 20 students.  I used to go to the school during the summer and learned the alphabets of English and Nepali.  During spring and autumn, I had to help my uncle, mother and brother in the fields.  We had some fields and cattle on which our lives depended.  We had many yaks and goats and fields when my father was alive, my mother told me, but after his death we had to sell most of them to support the family and became a poor family.

 I started to learn Tibetan when I was about 6 years old in the Samling Monastery under the guidance of one of our relatives who was a monk in the monastery.  It was really a hard life for a small child like me to have to work in the fields during autumn and spring and have a chance to got to school for only three months during summer.

 In 2000, when I was 7 years old, my uncle and mother decided to take me to India for a broader education as I was just able to read and write the alphabet of Tibetan, English and Nepali.  My eldest brother had already gone to India three years before.  Then my journey through the Himalayas to India began one evening.  When I, my uncle and another man were climbing a hill in front of my village, my mother and some villagers came to us and asked us to stop for a while.  My mother handed me some notes and advised me to study hard.  I nodded and shed tears to express the sadness of my departure from her.  Then we resumed our journey.  After walking and climbing hills and mountains in the Himalayas for about a week, we arrived a Dunai.  From there we boarded a helicopter to Kathmandu then a bus to Solan, India.  In Solan, we had to hire a taxi to Dholanji where the Menri Monastery and my ultimate destination was situated.  In Dholanji, I felt very happy and lucky to see His Holiness, the 33rd Menri Trizin Rinpoche, and my eldest brother. 

 I got admission in the Bon Children’s Welfare Centre, where there were 6 rooms and 96 children living in the centre.  Children are getting a modern education in the Central School for Tibetans, Dholanji and religious studies in the monastery.  The Bon Children’s Welfare Centre is run under YBMC or YungDrung Bon Monastic Centre, a registered society.

 One day I was given the new robe of monk and His Holiness cut my hair and gave me a new name, Phurba Thinley.  My name was Tsering Phurba before that.  Most of the children in BCWC have come from the Himalayan region and are orphans and semiorphans like me.  The construction of a new building had started when I was a new boy and now we have a large building of three floors with two big dormitories, a large prayer hall, a large dining hall and kitchen with modern facilities.  I have learned everything I know in this hostel and monastery under the blessing of His Holiness and guidance of the teachers and staff of YBMC and BCWC, except for the alphabets of the three languages I have mentioned above.

 I have studied in the Central School for Tibetans, Dholanji, for eleven years and now [as of the date of this writing, September 2010] I am in tenth class.  I have been scoring good results/marks in the previous classes in the school.  In 2007, when I first got a chance to touch the mouse of a computer, learning computer has become a passion for me and I have decided to be a computer engineer.  In 2009, I was made the vice-captain of the school and this year I am the captain. 

Today, I am very happy in the centre and I hope I can achieve my ambition of becoming a computer engineer.  I am very grateful to His Holiness and my teachers and my eldest brother, who list a light in my life, and my uncle who took me to this place. 

 Thank you.



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Project Leader

Toc Dunlap

Executive Director
Dearborn, Michigan United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Educating Tibetan Refugee Children and Youth