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ModestoRunModesto, based in London, has committed to run 108 km for the school. Please help by sponsoring Modesto's running effort via this link, http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/108run. Read Modesto's story here. Some time ago some friends from the Druk White Lotus School UK project office and from Live to Love asked me to do something special to celebrate 10 years of the Druk White Lotus School.

I thought about organising a party, but I have always been rubbish at organising parties. At the time I was developing a regular running routine and came up with the idea of running once for each one of the ten years been celebrated, 10 runs.

Initially, I thought about running 10 kilometres each time. But 100 kilometres did not sound quite right. 10.8 kilometres per run, a total of 108 kilometres, sounded more appropriate, more sensitive. 108 is a number with significance. Ladakhis, like the other Buddhist ethnic groups living on both sides of the Himalayas, often carry with them a rosary made out of 108 beads which they use to count the prayers they endlessly recite. Although prayers are recited 108 times and not 100 times, 100 turns of the rosary count as 10,000 recitations and not 10,800. I have always viewed this as, so to speak, going the extra mile. So I decided to run 108 kilometres, instead of 100 kilometres, between the end of September and the New Year to celebrate 10 Years of the Druk White Lotus School¸ and, at the same time, raise funds and awareness.

The Druk White Lotus School is both an ambitious construction and educational project, and a very special place in a very harsh environment; a place sometimes at the capricious mercy of the elements, last year’s (hopefully rare) flash flood and mudslide, and the endless flux of change that life is.

Having been captivated by the place and the people, especially the children, I have acquired a minimal experiential understanding of why it is so important to help educate the Ladakhi children: to preserve their traditions and give them a cultural identity, and, most importantly, to provide them with an education that could make the difference between living in poverty as adults or not.

If you are still sceptical or unmoved, try imagining yourself as a 9 year old child living in a place where:

  • winter lasts 6 months and temperatures as low as -20C are reached regularly,
  • there is no central heating, just a stove where cow dung is burned
  • there are no toilets, just dry latrines or nature
  • some children, those from a nomadic family, may live and grow up in a tent; nomadic children may spend the winter living in a tent made out of yak hair

You may think that living in these conditions is living in poverty. Having briefly experienced this way of life, I am unsure if I would describe it as poverty. Poverty is living in the slums of Delhi or Mumbai. By giving these children a good education, we are laying the foundations that  hopefully will keep them away from the slums and will help them preserve their heritage.

Please help and sponsor me on http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/108run , in return I will run 108 kilometres and I will  update the http://www.the108run.org  website regularly.

If you cannot sponsor me, please help by spreading the word.

 

On the 24th September 2011, the Druk White Lotus School celebrated its 10th Founders’ Day. The entire school had been gearing up for this event for weeks. The last few days leading up to D-day were absolutely frenetic, with the students and the teachers working from dawn to dusk to make sure that the celebration was a success.
The day was graced by Rigzin Spalbar, Chief Executive Councillor (Leh) as the Chief Guest for the occasion. Many other eminent personalities along with the children’s parents attended as well.

There was an art exhibition put together by the different classes on varied topics including “monasteries of Ladakh”. Individual classes also put up exhibitions on “history of Ladakh”, “dances of Ladakh”, “Amchi (Tibetan traditional) medicine”, etc. There were posters, crafts and paintings.
There was a cultural show by different students. It included traditional Ladakhi and Tibetan dance and song recitals and modern dances to Tibetan and Hindi songs. The infant section recited rhymes. Some of the highlights of the show included a karate display where the students performed stunts like breaking wooden staffs and slabs of marble with their limbs. Another popular recital was the yoga display performed by some of the juniors.
Once the show ended, the guests went around to the various game stalls that had been put up across the brightly decked campus.

Later in the evening, after all the guests had returned home, the school prepared for its live webcast screened through this website. After a few problems getting the satellite connection to work, some of the day’s performances were repeated for the global audience, including a few words from students and staff and a message read out from His Eminence Kyabje Thuksey Rinpoche, the Chair of the Governors. Viewers across the world in Mexico, USA, Europe, Africa and India watched with delight as Ladakh was beamed into their homes.

On the 10th Anniversary of the official opening of the Druk White Lotus School, His Eminence Kyabje Thuksey Rinpoche, Chair of the school governing body, sent this message.
When the land where the school stands today was offered to H.H. Gyalwang Drukpa and H.E. the 1st Thuksey Rinpoche over 40 years ago, His Holiness wanted to build on this site a school that would combine modern education with the traditional value systems of Ladakh so that the students graduating from this school would be able to face the challenges of the modern world and yet retain their cultural values. With the support of generous patrons and sponsors and the dedicated hard work of Drukpa Trust UK, His Holiness' vision of a school was realized and the Druk Pema Karpo Institute, also known as Druk White Lotus School, was opened at Shey, 10 years ago this day.

Over these 10 years the school has seen many changes. It has grown from primary to middle school and today we have a group of dedicated teachers and staff led by the principal Mr. Prasad Eledath. I feel proud and privileged to be associated with the school and have the opportunity to contribute towards carrying forward the vision of His Holiness.

It is not enough to have eco-friendly buildings and environment. We must work hard now to ensure that the school grows in educational standards as well over the coming years so that DKPI becomes a globally model school of modern education, cultural preservation and eco-friendliness. I am confident that the teachers and staff members led by Mr. Prasad have the necessary determination and courage to face the challenges that lie ahead.

Last but not the least I take this opportunity to thank Sonam Angdus, our construction manager, for taking sole responsibility, with dedication and sincerity, in seeing that construction was carried out as per the blueprint prepared by the team of architects.

Tashi Delek!

The school has spent the last year recovering from the damage and loss from the August  2010 mudslide.

There are still replacement educational items needed following the internal damage to the classrooms and then the school has a number of priority needs in terms of materials, furnishings and equipment.

The School Needs US$ list gives a detailed breakdown of items required, also available in GB£, School Needs

Dragon_Bike_224wide

What do you get when you cross an extremely creative artist along with a bunch of eager children? Some beautiful pages of calligraphy, a vibrant dragon float and a hilarious puppet show! While the students of standard 6 participated in the calligraphy workshop, the 8th standard created a brilliant dragon float using an old bicycle and coloured paper. The 9th standard students organised a puppet show comprising different animals and birds. They performed the puppet show in front of the entire school and elicited thunderous applause.