Tapriza School is an Ideal Project in Nepal

A successful project worth visiting on your adventure travel to Nepal is the Tapriza School located in the remote Dolpa region. It was established in 1998 by locals with help and support from several local and international NGOs. Most of the people in the Phoksumdo area are originally from Tibet and have managed to retain their own language, religion and culture to a large extent. The school promotes the cultural identity, language and traditional heritage of the children while providing them with a modern education.

Students are taught subjects that are a part of the standard Nepalese government curriculum, with additional classes in Tibetan, English, local history and traditional arts. It is a boarding school and every year a new grade is added till it ultimately becomes a full fledged high school. Tapriza has become the center of the community and a new facility is under construction utilizing local and outside labor.

Tapriza Association for Social Help in Dolpa (TASHI-D) an indigenous, Nepali NGO, Friends of Nepal, an organization of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and Friends of Dolpa are among the active participants in the development and maintenance of the school. They help with supplies, clothing and books while trying to make progress in health, sanitation and nutrition, which are constant challenges.

The school is now managed and operated entirely by the community itself; from teaching to construction to the full accounting procedure. Along with reading and writing, the children are taught traditional dance, thangka painting and Bon traditions observed by the region. The villagers, whose enthusiasm was the impetus for the school, have overseen the completion of eleven schoolrooms. The community enthusiasm has also sparked the creation of adult literacy programs.

The project has been thus far successful in its aim of reconciling the ancient culture of the Bon religion and culture with practical realities. It provides children protein supplements while upholding the moral values of not killing animals as espoused by Bon culture. The challenge is to motivate and help teenagers to find meaning in their community and culture through initiatives such as Thangka painting apprenticeships, so that they are motivated to stay on in the region. The effort is to preserve the traditional wisdom of these cultures as part of the great human legacy and interact respectfully with a fragile environment.