Upper Dolpo Education-Initiative
Our Commitment in Nepal
In February 2016, the founders of the German ‘HUMAN Foundation’ and the Nepalese ‘Dolpo Tulku Charitable Foundation’ (DTCF) signed a cooperation agreement with the aim of strengthening education in the Dolpo region of Nepal.
We started operating a winter school in 2016, before two more schools were added in 2019 and 2021. Education in the mountainous regions of the Himalayas is always a great challenge. The villages in Upper Dolpo are all between 3,500 and 4,000 meters above sea level. Nevertheless, it is important that schools are available in the mountain villages so that these children can also get an education.
In addition to the well-established and trusting cooperation with the DTCF over many years, it is important to have personal contact with all school coordinators and teachers in all schools in Saldang, Nyisal and Lhuri. It works in a very goal-oriented and cooperative manner.
We run two winter schools and one summer school
We are building a school in Lhuri in Upper Dolpo
We are acting here
Up until 1993, Upper Dolpo was a restricted area and only since then foreigners are allowed to visit it. The Dolpo borders Tibet in the north and is one of 77 districts in Nepal. In terms of area, with almost 8,000 km2, it is the largest district with approx. 36,000 inhabitants (in Upper Dolpo approx. 8,000 inhabitants). All the villages of our schools are above 3,700 meters altitude.
Saldang, the first school location, is an eight-day walk from Juphal. Besides Humla, the Dolpo is the only district in Nepal without roads and road connections. The villages of Nyisal and Lhuri follow after another five or eight hours hike.
To get to the Upper Dolpo, you have to overcome 5,000 meter high passes. The Upper Dolpo is one of the most isolated populated mountain regions in the world and is known for its wildness and remoteness. Dunai in Lower Dolpo is the seat of the district administration and has about 3,000 inhabitants. From the second day of the journey to Saldang, the infrastructure we are familiar with, such as electricity, telephone and internet, no longer exists. Many people see the Upper Dolpo as the real preserver of the core Tibetan culture, since in Tibet the Chinese government is trying to destroy Buddhism and Tibetan culture.
The Dolpo-Pa – as the inhabitants of Upper Dolpo are called – are mainly active in agriculture. Potatoes, corn, wheat, millet, Tibetan barley and local crops are grown in the Dolpo. Local agriculture is vital to have enough food over the long winter. Life in winter is very hard.
A detailed description of all projects can be downloaded as a pdf file (see download button).
Operation of a winter school
Saldang has about 600 inhabitants and is a relatively large place. In Saldang there is also the well-known Samye Choeling Gompa (monastery). The school is at almost 4,100 meters above sea level.
As in all mountain villages, it is not a matter of course that the children go to school every day. Some children go to the monastery for learning, others have to help with the field work at home.
We offer a winter school so that the children can reinforce the material they have learned or may have missed in the summer. At the end of the school term, the children take an exam.
“Winter School Saldang”: Since the winter of 2016, 60-70 children have been attending the newly founded winter school. Although there is a formal ‘compulsory schooling’ of 5 years in Nepal, there is no control over it. In eight small rooms, the children from Saldang can attend classes 1-6 in addition to the ‘kindergarten/playgroup’ and the ‘pre-school’. A total of 80-90 children go to school. Some families leave the region in winter, so the number of students is reduced by 10-15% in winter. What does our project do for the children and the people in the Dolpo region?
Operation of a winter school
Nyisal is a small village with about 40 households north of Saldang at an altitude of 3,800 meters. Yangjer Gompa is one of the oldest monasteries in Upper Dolpo. The place is very remote.
Due to the extreme remoteness of the Dolpo region, it is very difficult to provide basic education all year round. The existing schools do not have adequate teaching resources and school infrastructure.
Similar to Saldang, we offer a winter school. Here, too, the aim is to deepen the material of the summer school, but also to preserve the culture, history and Tibetan traditions. Students have to pass an exam.
“Nyisal Winter School”: Since the winter of 2019, around 45 children have been attending the newly financed winter school with the support of the HUMAN Foundation. Aiming to take advantage of the remaining six winter months and improve the overall success of the children’s education, which often suffers in the summer due to the students’ household and farming duties, residents in Nyisal are very happy that their children are able to take advantage of the opportunity . What does our project do for the children and the people in the Dolpo region?
Construction and Operation of a School
Lhuri is a small village west of Nyisal and had no school for many years. A local teacher took the initiative to enable schools to run again. Children from Shungjer and Ke also attend the school.
The old school building is completely destroyed and no longer safe for lessons.
Therefore, building and operating a shool must be ensured over many years.
A new school including sanitary facilities will be built in 2022 and 2023/2024.
A school operation with nursery/kindergarten up to class 5 will also be set up.
“School construction Lhuri”: In January 2022 we decided to build a new school building with several parts. Construction will take 2-3 years due to limited opportunities to get wood. The rapid implementation is made possible primarily by generous donations from Gaby and Matthias Wahl to the HUMAN Foundation. The school is built in memory of her late son Alexander Wahl.
“Lhuri school operation”: From 2022 we will finance the entire school operation. This includes financing the salaries of the teachers and a cook, the purchase of school materials and school clothes, the provision of meals for the teachers, the care and maintenance of the school building and the entire – not inconsiderable – annual transport costs of all goods from Kathmandu to Upper Dolpo.
The video “Schools in Upper Dolpo” shows the hiking tour to Upper Dolpo in moving pictures with many details about life and school operations. The schools in Nyisal and Lhuri are not yet included in this video. There will be a new film after the next trip at the end of 2022.
Have fun with it!
Since the start of the foundation projects, there has always been a need for support, for example after the earthquake in 2015, the corona pandemic or local disasters.
The HUMAN Foundation is not able to provide nationwide assistance in the event of major natural disasters. But at the local level there is definitely the opportunity to provide selective help. We would like to briefly present these special projects here.
Food supply during Covid-19
In 2021 there were increased cases of illness in Upper Dolpo and the borders with China were closed due to the Covid lockdown. As a result, no trade was possible. For many families there was not enough food. In cooperation with several organizations from different countries, we sent medicine and food to different districts in the Dolpo. A total of 755 families could be cared for.
A detailed report on the project can be found here.
Landslides and flood in Mughu
In autumn 2022 – during our trip to Upper Dolpo – there were landslides in various districts of Nepal, an early and severe onset of winter and flooding. Some villages in the Mughu district were particularly hard hit. More than 60 people died and many houses were destroyed. We help with food, corrugated iron for emergency shelters, clothing, blankets and water. About 300 families are affected.
You will find a detailed project report here.
Quotes from important Projectpartners
Whatever we do should be aimed at the well-being of others and at doing something that really improves their situation.
I never had the opportunity to go to school. This is precisely why it is so important to me that children today have good opportunities for education in the villages in Upper Dolpo.
It was August 16, 2021 that changed our life, which had been so happy until then, so dramatically.
Alexander’s life, which has been so eventful so far with many social contacts and professional success, ended so tragically when he died unexpectedly at the age of 41 from a pulmonary embolism.
Since Alexander spent two semesters abroad in Seoul during his studies, he used the semester breaks to backpack through China, Japan and, above all, Tibet, which fascinated him so much because of the mentality of the inhabitants and the beauty of nature. Now his big dream, which he wanted to realize in autumn, was to travel to Nepal. Since we were always informed about the projects of the HUMAN FOUNDATION through Edith and Karlheinz, we knew that the foundation also builds and runs schools in Nepal.
Helping to fund a school in Lhuri and the thought that this will give children the opportunity to have a better future through education helps us greatly to ease the grief of our only and dearly loved son. We know that this is absolutely in the spirit of our Alexander.
We would like to thank Edith and Karlheinz very much for their incredibly admirable commitment to supporting people in poverty and need.
Visit of all school projects in the Upper Dolpo
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School construction Lhuri step 1
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Report: Our first school year in Lhuri
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