Neyphug Thegchen Tsemo School Refuge for underprivileged children
Up on the mountain of Paro, Neyphug Thegchen Tsemo School nestle among the forest. Inside the traditional building is the refuge for underprivileged children.
The school is led by Neyphug Trulku Rinpoche, the founder of the school. In 2005, he returned to Bhutan as Professor of Buddhism and saw much suffering among the poor. Daily life is rugged and those living in remote areas have little means of support, surviving under extreme poverty and threats of chronic illness. The children of these regions often live without basic health care and education. Thus living in poverty almost always means that the harsh reality of Today will repeat itself Tomorrow.
Rinpoche came across many orphans and abandoned kids whose parents could not afford to take care of them. Their desolate conditions, helplessness and hopelessness touched him deeply and inspired him to start a school.
Journey Into The Remote
Rinpoche aspired to establish an environment where these under underprivileged kids can be sheltered and be given an opportunity to develop their potential. His vision is to provide long-term assistance through education as opposed to just providing immediate relief.
Rinpoche personally drove up to 18 hours to fetch some of these children from their rural homes and sometimes have to walk for 20 hours, where there are no modern amenities to reach them. The children come from Trongsa in Central Bhutan to Dhungna in the South, and even from nomads in the mountain areas.
To date, with the kind and generous support of benefactors and sponsors, his vision has taken its first step to becoming reality. A group of young children took refuge at Neyphug Thegchen Tsemo, Paro in September 2006 and are followed by new additions every month. When asked how many children he plans to adopt, his answer was "No Numbers".
There are now around 60 children aged between four and fifteen years old, and most came with only whatever they had on their backs.
Neyphug Thegchen Tsemo School has initiated a programme which addresses their well being. We are looking into improving the water sanitation and hygienic practices in the school.
The immediate priority is to build a proper school, housing and toilet facilities for the children. Construction to build toilets and kitchen facilities is under way with Rinpoche personally supervising the whole project. These will be completed by the end of 2007.
Further work for the construction of the school and dormitory has stopped because of insufficient funds. The new buildings will be 40 rooms and will be able to accommodate 160 children.
The Gift Of Love Is The Gift Of Hope
The school is fully responsible for their food, clothing, education, medical care and their entire welfare. As such Rinpoche faces great financial challenges and depends on donations from benefactors, sponsors and revenues coming from organized events.
Those smiling faces are the result of our love and care. And we have become the privileged ones to contribute to their life and plant the seed of hope.