One of Thrangu Rinpoche’s projects in Kathmandu, Nepal, is the Shree Mangal Dvip Boarding School. Rinpoche established Shree Mangal Dvip in 1987, in order to provide a secular education for children from the Himalayas.
The population of the school includes boys and girls from remote villages in areas that have no electricity, no toilets, no sanitation, no telecommunications, no hospitals, no roads, and usually no schools. As these areas are often located many day’s trek from the nearest road in the best of weather conditions, during seasons of bad weather, it can take months to get word to and from villages. As it is so difficult to travel to and from these areas, most of the students are boarders.
It is an unusual project for a Lama to undertake in Nepal—traditionally a high Rinpoche is only concerned with religious affairs—but Thrangu Rinpoche has a firm belief in the benefits of a secular education. For the young nuns and monks who attend the school, it is very valuable to receive such an education; if they do not wish to continue with ordination when they are old enough, then their education gives them a means of survival. The presence of young nuns and monks with the other children reinforces the Buddhist identity of the school and sets a sound ethical model for the children.
There are more than 600 children at the school, with over 100 children staying at the school all the time (including holidays) because of the difficulties in reaching their villages. Overall, the children stay at school for about 10 years before they go home. On a normal day, the children start with an outdoor assembly. Morning prayers are chanted in Tibetan, and the Tibetan and Nepali national anthems are sung. Some announcements are also made by students, concerning current events from the news in English, Tibetan and Nepali.The curriculum is an enriched version of the Nepali government curriculum. Instruction is given in all core subjects including maths, PE, language, arts, social studies, science and 3 languages: Nepali, Tibetan and English, each of which has its own script and grammar. Most school lessons are taught in English. There is also have a computer skills class, for children from class 5 to class 10. There are elective classes: students must choose two from; 1) health, environment and population, 2) accounting (life skills) and 3) general knowledge (world/Nepali history, history of humanity). Most of the children from class 3 upwards are fairly fluent in English, Tibetan and Nepali.
SMD offers classes from nursery (kindergarten) to class 10. Upon finishing class 10, students must take government exams, and if they pass, they are awarded a school leaving certificate (SLC), after which they may study further if they wish to gain entry into higher education. For the last few years, the pass rate in the National Board government exams at the end of class 10 was 100%—way over the average for the whole country, which stood at 18% (mostly urban, privileged, high caste children).
The cost pupils is:
boarders £530 ($850)
day pupils £235 ($390)
young monks £390 ($650)
All donations are very welcome, and there are several ways you can donate.
You can make a donation direct into our bank account by using the following details:
sort code - 30-12-51
account number - 01093172