Tania Garbe

We have a new volunteer at the school, Tania Garbe. Tania is helping to set up a heritage programme at the Shey campus and sent us this piece to introduce herself.

“My name is Tania Garbe and I began volunteering at Druk White Lotus School at the beginning of June. I have a bachelor’s degree in architecture from University of California, Berkeley, and I’m currently working on getting my Master’s at University of Texas at Austin, USA.

I’ve been helping to set up a Heritage Program, which aims to preserve Ladakhi culture and its rich cultural traditions within the school, while using them as an educational tool for students and visitors.

The program is two-fold. The first part is to create a modest Heritage Centre composed of three small rooms around the central courtyard. The first room will house displays on Drukpa history and lineage as well as the school’s cultural and architectural ties to Alchi and Hemis monasteries. The second room will be dedicated to the architecture of the Druk Padma Karpo School, specifically as an educational device to explain the environmental components and unique design features that have won the school several international awards. It will also explain the spiritual significance of the master plan, including documentation of the original sketches made by His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa. The third room will be dedicated to the educational ethos of the school and will house a rotating display of student work.

In addition, we have plans to move an old traditional Ladakhi home to the site, repair it, and then use it to display a collection of artefacts such as traditional costumes, tools, etc, as well as documentation and recordings of traditional stories, songs and dances. The hope is that this Cultural Archive will serve as an educational tool for our students and also as a resource for other schools locally and internationally.

The second part of the Heritage Program is to set up a guided tour for the increasing number of visitors that come to Naropa Palace and the school. The walk will inform visitors about the Drukpa Lineage and history, the efforts of the school, take visitors through the heritage rooms and Naropa Palace, and then offer them tea and a chance to help the school through donations or sponsorships if they wish.

As for my personal experience here, the fact that I am still here, and will be for several weeks after I originally intended on leaving, speaks for the tremendous kindness of everyone here at the school and the incredible beauty of Leh valley. If I wasn’t due back at university in August, it would be hard to make me leave”.

Tania Garbe