KINOE partnered founding the Lo Kunphen School in Upper Mustang, and has been supporting it for nearly 20 years
Lo Kunphen is no ordinary school. Based in the ancient walled city of Lo Manthang, at over 2,000m altitude in the far north of Nepal, bordering Tibet, it provides an education for around 60 children from very poor local families. Winters are so cold (with temperatures as cold as -30C) the school moves down to the lowland town of Pokhara during these months to enable the students to receive a full quota of schooling. More recently, Lo Kunphen has built a new school and hostel in Pokhara and senior students receive more of their education here to ensure they have the best possible opportunities.
As well as providing a conventional education based on the national curriculum, Lo Kunphen aims to preserve local cultural practices and promote conservation awareness in this fragile remote area. Students learn Tibetan language as well as Nepali and English, and traditional songs, art, legends and dance are an integral part of their schooling, to ensure retain their unique cultural identity. From age 14, in addition to the standard curriculum, they are offered vocational training in amchi medicine – traditional Tibetan practices based on the herbs and natural products of the high Himalayas, used for thousands of years. The Nepalese authorities have accredited the course (the Kangjinpa or Community Medical Assistant programme) to enable graduates of the school to work as community health workers in their home villages.
Graduates from Lo Kunphen now have more options, with some going back to their home area to offer amchi medicine services, some going on to further study in amchi medicine or other disciplines and others working as teachers or in other jobs.
You can sponsor a student for between £250 and £500 a year, depending on the age and stage of study. This will cover the costs of tuition, uniform, food, medicines, the winter school, books and stationery. In return, you will receive an annual school newsletter and information about the progress of the student. If you do not feel able to sponsor the whole cost, you can simply give an annual donation of your choice towards the costs.