Ghiling School Boarding House
Shree Jana Jyoti School Hostel
Ghiling, Mustang Region, Nepal
A vision to revitalize a community through education of the local youth
Ghiling is an ethnically Tibetan community in the Mustang region of Nepal situated along the Kaligandaki River at an altitude of 3570 metres. Approximately 500 kilometres northwest of Kathmandu and tucked away on the leeward side of the Himalayas, the people of Ghiling live a very isolated life in cold dry conditions.
In 1998, Tenzin Choepel, a Tibetan refugee and former resident of Ghiling, visited the area while leading a trekking expedition in Mustang to reunite with old friends. He soon realised that the impact of the Tibetan resettlement agreement in 1967 and the re-routing of trade routes through Mustang had taken its toll on Ghiling village. To his dismay, there were only five students attending the primary school and the 35 year old building was extremely dilapidated. The younger generation was losing their Tibetan culture, traditions and language.
Tenzin decided he could make a change in his community through education.
Maitri Ratna, a Nepali NGO, was formed by Tenzin. The Ghiling community collected the stones to build their school. Teachers received training and were hired. The school opened. Still, the older children could not attend school because they had to care for their younger siblings while their parents worked. Students in neighbouring villages could not attend consistently due to the daily travel distances. So, Maitri Ratna built a kindergarten for the younger children and hostel facilities for the students from neighbouring villages. The school began to grow.
In 2009, Calum Foulner, a university student from Perth, travelled to Kathmandu to work in an Nepalese orphanage for six weeks to find some perspective in life after a family tragedy. During this time, he became aware of the issues facing Nepalese living in remote areas. A chance encounter in Kathmandu with an old friend led to his introduction to Tenzin. Calum and Tenzin, with a shared passion for community, culture and education, had an instant connection. In November 2009, Calum and his father, Deryck travelled to Ghiling with Tenzin to visit Shree Jana Jyoti Primary School and the Ghiling community. During this visit, it was evident hostel facilities were needed to accommodate school growth. Calum returned to Perth with a passion to make a difference. Upside was founded by Calum and his friends. The Perth community gave generously to the cause. In September 2011, the hostel and teachers' accommodation were completed. Twenty-six students had warm accommodation to begin the 2012 school year. The school is continuing to grow as a result of Tenzin's vision to see children in his community receive a quality education steeped in their traditional culture and language.
The Kunga Hostel , Tibetan for "all joyful", serves as the boys' hostel and teachers' accommodation for Shree Jana Jyoti Primary School in Ghiling. Presently 86 boys and girls are attending Shree Jana Jyoti Primary School PreK to Year 7 with 34 boys and 22 girls living on campus. School attendance is 98% and the students’ academic performance has been exceptional in Nepal National exams.
1. Provide a safe and warm place for students to live whilst studying at Ghiling School.
2. Become financially self- sustainable in the future with funds from the Action Apple project.
3. Help prevent forced migration of the village people to urban areas.
- November 2009 - Cal and Deryck Foulner first meet Tenzin and travel to Ghiling to visit Shree Jana Jyoti Primary School serving the Ghiling community and children from surrounding villages in the Mustang region
- December 2009 - a community of supporters in Perth, Western Australia launch Upside under the original branding of ‘The CMF project'
- April 2010 - First collaboration with Maitri Ratna - construction of the boarding house and teachers' quarters begins at Shree Jana Jyoti Primary School in Ghiling village.
- September 2011 - The boarding house and teachers' quarters is completed and opened
Cost for student hostel and teachers' accommodation AU$22,129.00
What We've Learnt
- Providing students with a clean, warm place to live and nourishing meals increases school attendance in remote areas.
- The opportunity to live in a hostel provides educational opportunity to children living in remote areas who otherwise would not have the advantage of a quality education.
- Providing teachers' accommodations in remote villages attracts more qualified staff, and teachers tend to remain in their job longer.
- A warm nurturing environment builds community and resiliency.
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