The Tibet Intergroup watched a videoreport presented by Paul Siska about his journey in India. Mr. Siska said that in the seventies many Tibetan refugees arrived in India and the Indian government kindly provided facilities for them, accommodation in settlements in different parts of India, such as Mysore, Kushnagar, etc. The land had to be cleared of jungle and the group saw different stages of building a school in a district called Seraghe.
The refugee children at the time had very minimal materials, using chalk and slates for learning to write, and were seated on the floor in two small rooms. It took many years before chairs, tables, paper and pens were available. The numbers increased every year and support came from charitable associations. Studies evolved to scientific subjects, English, sociology and the debating of philosophy. Studies at the school are now recognised by the Indian government so examinations can be taken to provide qualifications.
Many Tibetan children were born in India, but children have arrived from Tibet in order to get the traditional education they could never have in their own country. Many refugee Tibetan children go to the Children’s village in Dharamsala or to South India. They study the school curriculum but are also spiritually inclined. Their health is also looked after in the school in a well-equipped Medical Centre. One 16-year-old student had leukaemia and the school financed his treatment, which cost 10,000 Euros.
Support groups in Germany and Switzerland have supplied equipment for chemistry and physics laboratories. The high-grade examination at the end of the school years is comparable to a Professorship of Philosophy
A new building is being constructed, as when His Holiness the Dalai Lama visits there are so many people accommodation has to be found for them. Also when debating takes place, guests need accommodation. There are now 400 nuns in the centre and they also take part in the building work. The Overseer of the building work is a monk, but he is not paid for his work. He said “Save the money for the students!”
The Dalai Lama came to open the new building and spoke of his support for the nuns and their access to further education. Many nuns took part in the Peace March between Delhi and the Nepalese border, just before the opening of the Olympic Games. Many were arrested in Delhi, their food taken away, and some were kept for as long as 14 days before they were released. But the march was considered as being successful, and the Indian population showed their support.