At a height of 3,700 meters, the Tanggan School stands in the middle of mountains covered with grasslands, where sheep, goats and yak accompanied by shepherds (together with children and women) are the only form of life that you encounter for miles and miles. The children, dirty yet always smiling and very curious, belong to families of nomadic shepherds who often see them only once a school term because they are too far away and too poor to be able to afford travel expenses. The territory here is wild and magnificent, uncontaminated: there is no electricity or water, and women travel tens of kilometers to bring provisions from water wells.
In this area of Qinghai Province, in the isolated and remote prefecture of Hainan, Tibetan traditions and customs have been maintained and mark the rhythm of the daily lives of the inhabitants of the villages in the County.
ASIA has been active at the Tanggan School since 2001 when it intervened by restoring the old buildings, and building new classrooms and dormitories, in keeping with Tibetan architectural style and respect for the environment.
In 2003, the long distance sponsorship project was launched with the first 25 children who, through ASIA, had the opportunity to learn how to read and write Tibetan thanks to support from their long distance parents.
Today, thanks to the improved living conditions within the school and the increased quality of teaching, the school now hosts 167 students, of which 130 are long distance sponsored.
To liven up the students’ lives and to make school learning more enjoyable, the Tanggan School teachers organize games and competitions supporting traditional educational activities: competitions of traditional dances and songs, of reading, writing and performing poetry in Tibetan, Chinese and English, and drawing contests. The class that comes first wins a certificate and notebooks and pens for each child.
In all these years we have been able to verify the important impact of the long distance sponsorship project. Not only has the rate of school attendance in the Tanggan area increased along with requests for enrolment every year, but above all the children are growing up well-rooted in their culture, knowing their own language and maintaining a strong sense of identity based on traditional values.
To see the Tanggan school, watch the video
The Tanggan children still need us. You, too, can become a long distance parent.