Education as a Path to Independence

ROKPA finances accommodation, food allowances, and costs for writing materials and transport for poor school children, so that they can go to school.

Without external aid, orphans and poor nomadic children are often denied the opportunity of attending lessons at schools in the Tibetan Regions of China. Only around a quarter of the Tibetan population can read and write.

The first nine school years are obligatory and no direct fees are charged for the lessons. However, owing to the very low population density, the schools are often too far away from the children's homes. These children, and the orphans specifically supported by ROKPA, board in the schools, which entails additional costs which are not funded by the state.

A Small School with a Big Impact - Primary School in Panze Ragpa

Panze Ragpa is a small settlement on the border between the Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan. Situated a little outside it, in the mountains, is the small primary school where over 100 school children, divided into seven classes, are currently taught. There is a preschool class and six primary school classes. The school children are between 5 and 17 years old. Many of them come from Litang, a large area of pasture land in Sichuan about 4,000 metres above sea level.

"In the past, the parents didn't worry about whether their children went to school or not," says a young teacher. "But now they have seen that it is useful if the children can read and write." The local language of Tibetan is highly valued and spoken in all subjects in lessons at this privately run school.

The school, the teachers and the children have hardly any money. So in the dormitories there are either simple bunk beds or large platforms where all the children sleep next to each other as if they were in an enormous bed.

Many of the children want to be doctors or teachers when they are older: Their aim is to help other people in need.