KARUNA DANA main project is in Tibet, in a rural area of the province of Kham, where we support an elementary school which schools more than 400 children and Tibetan girls from poor families completely free of charge.
As in all rural areas of Tibet, there are a lot of children out of school and without the existence of this school many of our students would receive no education. Over half of our students are boarding because villages in the area are within great distance and the weather of Tibet makes it difficult to attend class regularly.
To reside at the school is highly beneficial for children for it not only reduces truancy as well as protects them from harsh weather conditions and ensures food security, allowing them to have 3 meals per day stably. Many external students suffer from acute chronic malnutrition, being the meal engaged in school at noon the only one they have secured.
The age of our students varies between 6 and 15 years. For some time now we have a preschool classroom which, in addition to host the little ones, serves for children to access to first grade with a similar skill level. When students have completed six primary grades perform a revalidation necessary prerequisite to access secondary education.
We have been supporting the school since 2008. The center emerged as an initiative from the local community but soon the magnitude of the task surpassed them. Our support has been increasing gradually and has given a break to the difficult situation of the school.
Our lines of action prioritize childcare to the point of being this one of the keystones of our action therefore, besides contributing to students maintenance, we also carry out projects and pediatric oral health. Thanks to the mobilization of volunteer health workers, we have been able to conduct medical examinations that have allowed us to assess children’s health status and focus our strategies. Aiming at diseases prevention, we have conducted training workshops for school personnel on the importance of controlling nutrition as well as body and oral hygiene.
Strengthening the capacities of persons carrying out the work at school is essential for the sustainability of the project and to provide a quality education that offers students real opportunities for improvement. Therefore the teachers training is a transverse axis in the work of KARUNA DANA, undergoing as many actions of teacher training as possible. Our support has also improved school infrastructure and thus, among others, coasted the construction of a building to serve as residence for teachers. We have also improved school equipment, providing furniture to the preschool classroom, increasing library funds, establishing a computer and a screening room.
The school’s sustainability is another major concern for KARUNA DANA, therefore we have contributed to the establishment of an incense factory whose profits go to support the expenses of the center.
However, despite all achievements, children still have many needs to fill. It is urgent to achieve a stable increase on school income that will address regular expenses normally and this can only happen by increasing the number of children with scholarships. It is also necessary to carry out a project to supply clean water and sanitation wastewater. The core of this welfare project would include the school and the health center, which is located about 300 meters far appart. Our goal is to guarantee healthiness avoiding bacterial diseases to all school residents and health center users.
In terms of infrastructure, it is necessary to construct two buildings, one for children bedroom residence and another for school staff since the existing are, at present, in very bad shape and do not meet minimum living conditions. Towards children food safety it is advisable to build a greenhouse since it would mean to have a greater variety of vegetables and fruits at the same time that would be more economical for school.