In Tibet, where Chinese domination is felt in all aspects of day-to-day life, the educational situation for Tibetan children is tragic: in state schools all over the territory, apart from two illegal schools in Lhasa where lessons are taught in the Tibetan language, all students are exclusively taught the Chinese language, history and culture.
For these, and various other motives which are now also noted in the Western world, the number of Tibetans who choose exile is very high in order to guarantee their children a better life, as well as the opportunity to be taught in Tibetan and preserve their culture which is at risk of being lost forever.
Given the high number of Tibetan refugees in Nepal (around 10,000-12,000 of which over 1,000 are children) it is necessary to register children at least three years before starting school due to the waiting lists at the three existing schools in Kathmandu. Under these circumstances the number of young children who do not manage to receive even a basic education is very high.
On a plot of land measuring 2300sqm in the Tibetan neighbourhood of Boudha in Milan Tole-Phulbari, Kathmandu, the Butterfly Foundation has built the Tashi Boarding School. Here, as well as elementary and high-school classes, the Tibetan language is taught to around 160 children who are also guaranteed bed and board. The land for the school was donated by an American Embassy official to Tashi Tsering Lama who fled from Tibet following the Chinese invasion of 1959.
The school, planned and financed by the Butterfly Foundation, with 10 classrooms, a kitchen and dining room, a gym, a laboratory, toilets, separate dormitories for boys and girls, apartments for the head teachers, guests and teachers in residence and time for prayer and religious teaching, was inaugurated on the 26th March 2005.
The Butterfly Foundation has also started a long-distance support program for these children with the hopes of maintaining the costs of running the school.