Student Life

Tenzin L. '21 Kathmandu, Nepal

"My school in Nepal is called Shree Mangal Dvip and it has a connection with Shawnigan because the school director is from Canada. I am now the third student from my school who has received a scholarship to attend Shawnigan.
SMD was founded by a man named Thrangu Rinpoche. He established our school in Katmandu for poor mountain children, like me. Because of the school and our sponsors, I had a free education, a place to live, and food to eat. I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to study there. I started at the school at the age of 5 and studied until the age of 17, when I was in grade 10.

After I finished school, I couldn’t go home. My mom passed away when I was 5, my uncle is a Buddhist monk, and my father cannot afford to support me. People in my village work on their farms where they just manage to have enough food to feed themselves.

I decided to stay at the school for a gap year. I ended up working as a kindergarten teacher because I was the only one who spoke three languages: English, Nepalese, and Tibetan. I felt like I wasn’t ready, but I still said that I would teach. I taught all by myself, 27 students in kindergarten, 6 subjects for one year. On my first day, I was so nervous because I did not feel ready and I had never had any teacher training. But slowly, I really started to connect with my students, especially since I knew how the students felt as I too know what it feels like when you are separated from your family at such a young age. I treated them like my own children, and like my own siblings. We had a deep connection, me and my students. I was so grateful to be their teacher.

My school director nominated me as a candidate to go to Shawnigan, because of my many experiences, including working as a kindergarten teacher, going back to my village to work as a translator and volunteer at a medical camp, and working in acupuncture for 3 years.

I was so excited to go to Shawnigan. I never thought I would get a scholarship. I was also quite nervous as everything would be very different from Nepal. I was really worried about school too because I hadn’t been in school for two years. I prepared a lot to come to Shawnigan. I also felt pressure, as I was chosen and felt a duty to represent my school as best as I could.

Here at Shawnigan, the teachers are so good. In Nepal, my school was always based on memorizing the content, but here we are really exploring the content. I really like it. I also feel empowered as a girl here at Shawnigan. In Nepal, we have a lack of access to proper education as girls, and no opportunity for proper jobs.

Strathcona is my home away from home. Strath girls are so friendly, and I never feel homesick. When I first got here, everyone was so kind and welcoming. They never left me alone! Mrs. Connolly and the girls support me all the time, through everything and anything.

I am very grateful to study here and because of it I am learning so much that I can bring back to SMD, like rugby! I never knew anything about rugby, but now I could teach it back at my school because they know nothing about it! I have also learned things in my classes that I taught at SMD when I went back to visit at Christmas. I am very grateful for everything that I am learning to bring back to my community.

I really believe people here at Shawnigan are very fortunate. Sometimes when people complain, I remind them that I come from a place where people have nothing. Not to make them feel bad but just to realize that life here in Canada is pretty great. I always remind people that the harder you work, the better chance you have to make a better life for yourself. I have had so many obstacles and hardships in my life, but I am not scared of them because they have taught me so much and have made me a better and stronger person, and given me the tools to have a better future and to be able to help others."

Tenzin L. '21 (Kathmandu, Nepal)

Shree Mangal Dvip (SMD) School for Himalayan Children in Kathmandu provides free education, housing and full care for over 500 children from the most vulnerable and remote Himalayan mountain villages of northern Nepal. Learn more about how you can help kids like Tenzin here:
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