Dear Friends of the Himalayan Children's Fund,
My electronic letter has been a bit delayed this time due to a computer crash while I was in Nepal in March. Fortunately, with the help of Drive Savers we were able to retrieve the photos taken this year in Nepal and India and I am able to pass a few on to you.
Just a reminder first for those of you that sponsor students.
The school year begins in late April every year and ends in mid-April and the school needs to have all fees paid by December of each school year except for those sponsors who pay monthly. Boarding students are $655.00, day students are $250.00, monks at the branch school are $450.00 and shedra monks are $600.00 per year.
I hope you can take the time to read thoroughly what we are sending this time because there are two tones to share. On one hand we have the wonderful aspects of life and accomplishments in all of the projects, and on the other the desperate need.
The cost of living in Nepal is growing higher rather rapidly due to the political situation and the decreased value of the US Dollar. The cost of food, clothing, medicine, gasoline, electricity, and everything that is needed and used on a daily basis has become enormous. This includes teacher salaries and payments to all other personnel. School fees no longer cover all that is needed per child, and many of you know we have been assessing a need of at least $125.00 per student and now that is increasing. Basic fees for monks and nuns also no longer meet the need but instead of raising the fees we will attempt to not only sponsor all but to have two sponsors per person. The water situation in Nepal is also very difficult. A new well was installed for the school in Boudha and we are now in the process of gathering funds for the new well at Tara Abbey. The different locations also need to install good rainwater retrieval systems. So there is a great deal of immediate need right now.
If you would like more information on anything or would like to arrange a fund raising event in your area to help out please contact me.
The many projects we are involved with are doing very well in other respects and I would like to share some of the details with you.
While I was in Sarnath this year I was able to meet with several of the monks that have completed the Shedra training and also attend the ground breaking ceremony for the new building to be built behind Vajra Vidya Institute. The expansion will give more living space and other rooms for the monks. Shedra students work very hard and although the program is a 5 year course of study, most do not complete it in 5 years but have a year (or alternating years) off to do other monastery work.
Shedra Monks New Shrine Hall at Tara Abbey View of Stupas at namo Buddha New Namo Buddha Clinic Three year retreat for nuns in Tibet Cooking class at SMD Tibetan Dance at SMD Nuns on retreat in Tibet Making Momo's Thrangu Rinpoche breaking ground at VVI
Tara Abbey had its first puja with Thrangu Rinpoche in March. The new shrine hall is not yet completed, the painting and electrical work is still in progress, but it was complete enough for Rinpoche, the nuns and many monks to do a puja together and for the nuns to present their Tara Dance for all in attendance. It was an exciting and inspiring day for all.
Nuns performing Tara Dance
Up at Namo Buddha the school has nearly 80 young monks and several new teachers. They live and share meals with other monks doing Ngondro Retreat and other practices. The new school is being built into the mountain side so that the roof meets with the land and there can be a large grassy field for Lama Dancing in the future. The new medical clinic is also under construction and will be quite a boon to the community when it is completed.
New school at Namo Budddha
We were fortunate to receive a generous donation from Pro Performance Sports in San Diego this year. The company gave us 6 Speedminton sets (a new speed badminton game) for the school children, monks and nuns. It was well received by all and they hope we can get more equipment. The school children lined up and made their own system of taking turns without any encouragement from the staff. The young monks said the game now rivals their favorite pastime of soccer!
Exams! Playing Speedminton at SMD
During my stay in Nepal the school had final exams so all the students were extremely focused, studying every opportunity they had. I even awoke one morning at 4:00 a.m. to the murmured sounds of many mouths reciting their test material! There also was a beautiful cultural program of poetry, song and dance and even a great yak dance!
The cooking class has had continued sponsorship and in honor of our second year the students again prepared momo's and had a great feast.
Young students at SMD
At Thrangu Tashi Choling in Tibet, a new school is being funded for the young children. In addition to other developments you all may be delighted to know that our 10 sponsored nuns in 3 year retreat will finish their retreat this fall.
So I am delighted to be able to bring you up to date on some of the current activities and hope you enjoy the photographs. Please keep in touch if you have any questions or suggestions and also be sure to keep current by checking http://www.rinpoche.com/ and http://www.himalayanchildren.org/.
Thank you so much for your continued support of the Himalayan Children's Fund.
Best Wishes to you all,
Debra Ann Robinson
Himalayan Children's Fund
P.O. Box 15644
Beverly Hills, California 90209