‘Cherish the doctrine, live united, radiate love.’ Dhardo Rimpoche
This is Karma (far-right). She is 15 years old and her dream is to become a doctor. 4 years ago, Karma’s mother, who is of Bhutanese descent, moved from Nepal to Kalimpong in search of work and a better future for Karma. Thankfully she was referred to a Karuna funded school, known as the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Cultural Institute (ITBCI) School. Since attending, Karma has flourished and her future looks bright.
“My favourite thing about being here is Tibetan dancing and that I live at the school with my friends, so we get to spend a lot of time together.”
The Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Cultural Institute (ITBCI) school was started in 1954 by the late Dhardo Rimpoche (1918-90). He established the school for Tibetan refugees coming over the border from Tibet. He wanted to provide an education to children from these poor families living in Kalimpong, India, as well as pass on Tibetan culture and values to the younger generation. In recent years, the school has also welcomed children from other Himalayan ethnic groups. No other school in the area offers subsidised, quality education to poor children and their families.
The school today
Over the years, the size of the school has expanded and now has 221 students. Alongside Tibetan pupils there are now Bhutias, Bhutanese, Sikkimese, Lepchas, Tamangs, Gurkhas, Nepalis, Assamese and Bihari pupils.
The students benefit from a holistic education. They learn the official syllabus as well as traditional Tibetan arts and culture. For example, students learn their own language of Tibetan as well as English and Hindi. Around seventy of the students are boarders. These students come from difficult family backgrounds and really benefit from a secure environment to continue their studies.
How you can help
Karma’s dream is to complete her education and become a doctor. Please help us keep her dream alive as well as the dreams of the other 190 students of ITBCI school. It costs £137 to keep a child in school for a year. Please give what you can to protect the Tibetan culture and language for future generations.