As the saying goes “your home town is not only where you are born but where you touch the soil, breathe the air and drink the water so everyone has a responsibility to contribute.”
Although there are few educated graduates from Tsum, there are many enthusiastic people including Kenbos (high ranking Buddhist monks), Geshes (Buddhist equivalent to PhDs degree) and Acharyas (equivalent to Masters degree). TWC realizes that with this human capital and with everyone’s emotional attachment to their home town, we can make Tsum Valley a true model for sustainable community development.
Development of Tsum has been slow because of the lack of skilled and semi-skilled people to help in this remote area, unlike the rest of Nepal. Centralised planning and a top-down approach from Government has also not been effective. Nevertheless, the people are looking for greater community development. it is human nature that people seek an advanced and developed state rather than a bucolic and rustic state unless it can be some part of adventure and deep meditation.
In Tsum, children are compelled to leave their village at the age of 8-10 due to the lack of regular education in the local school. In my time, the story was different. I left my village at the age of 13 and since there was no secondary school I had to leave the village. Leaving Tsum Valley was very difficult for me as I was born there and I had a strong emotional attachment. Since then I have only had a chance to go back during the Hindu festivals “Dashain” and “Tihar” but have not celebrated “Losar” (Tibetan New Year) for 15 years. Simply, there is no holiday for my festival and even these days I cannot go to Tsum which takes 10 days for a return trek when there is only 24 hours leave sanctioned by the government. I know we have a special culture which is slowly being assimilated. It’s sad to be away from home and to miss our important New Year celebrations – the equivalent of Christmas in Christian countries - especially for students and employees.
Hence, our long-term priority is to establish a residential school where we can educate our children where they born so as to promote self-sufficient and sustainable development. On the other hand, with today’s technological advancement particularly in the communications sector, we can unite virtually with the help of the internet in our home town.