EDUCATION HAS ALLOWED ME TO GIVE BACK TO MY PEOPLE
My name is Tashi and I was born in Manali India, thirty-three years ago. My parents came from the village of Mugu which is in the mid western part of Nepal at the foot of the Himalayas. We are Tibetan and the Nepali people call us the Himalayan people.
I am the youngest of seven children, four boys and three girls. My parents and all of my brothers and sisters are illiterate none of them received an education. I started my schooling in Manali at the Central School for Tibetans and then went on to Kalimpong for my secondary education. After that I continued my studies at the Central Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies in Varanasi where I completed my university degree.
At home our living conditions were very poor. There was no electricity, no running water and sometimes we did not have enough to eat. We worked on the road cutting up stones and carrying them to work sites for our livelihood. We got up at 5.30 am and went to bed around 9.30pm. My mother and father were eventually able to purchase a donkey to transport the stones. I had to work when I was not at school but sometimes I ran away because I wanted to study. My family had to pay to send me to school because although we were Tibetan we came from Nepal. We were not refugees. The family had to limit what they ate so they could send me to school. Fortunately the university I attended in Varanasi was government funded.
Through my education and with my qualifications I was able to travel as a translator to New Zealand and to European countries. This enabled me to help to support my family back home.
When I returned home in 2005 I made the decision to go back to Nepal to a town that is close to the village where my parents were born. I wanted to start a school for children like myself. I was aware of the harsh conditions the Himalayan people lived in and the severe poverty they experienced. In our first year there were twenty five children who started school. Now eight years later there are three hundred and ninety children attending the school and I am the Principal of that school. There is so much satisfaction in using the education I have had to help these children. I know that education will change their lives just as mine was changed. I want to give these children an opportunity to have a future where they will have a better life.
For myself I know that without school, without a university degree, I would have followed just as my brothers have in the same work that my parents did.