Siddhartha School Project

Spring 2011 News & Changes at Siddhartha High School, Stok by Lisa V. Blake
June 11, 2011, 5:48 pm
Filed under: Education in Ladakh, School News, SSP News

Farewell party for Sir Tenzin Dorjee

Today we had a small farewell party for Tenzin Dorjee, our general teacher. He has been one of our good teachers at the school. He was appointed as a general teacher in 2005 and he has served Siddhartha School for nearly six years. All the staff got together and Mr. Angdu, Joint Secretary of SCWS also attended the small tea party in the school staff room.

Speaking on the occasion Mr. Angdu thanked Mr. Tenzin Dorjee for his contribution towards Siddhartha School and wished him good luck and success in his future life. He also said that Khen Rinpoche expressed his good feelings to him and wishes him great success with his future life. He also asked the staff to invite Mr. Tenzin Dorjee to attend the dinner party with Khen Rinpochey in July.  He thanked him by offering him a khata (white scarf).  A khata, khada, khadag, or hada (Tibetan: ཁ་བཏགས་; Mongolian: хадаг [xɑtk]; Chinese: 哈达; pinyin: hǎdá) is a traditional ceremonial scarf used in Tibet and Mongolia. It symbolizes purity and compassion. It is usually made of silk. Tibetan khatas are usually white symbolising the pure heart of the giver

“These five years at Siddhartha school has been the most memorable and best part of my life”, said Mr. Tenzin Dorjee. “I have learnt so much over these five years and I carry that with me in my life,” he added.

He thanked all the staff for their wonderful cooperation and friendship.

“Unlike other schools and organizations Siddhartha school staff community is truly a wonderful team with no groupism etc.,” said Mr. Vivek.

Mr. Tenzin Dorjee gave his resignation a month back as per the school norms. And today was his last day at the school. All the teachers thanked him for his service to the school and wished him all the best in his future life.

Two new teachers appointed

On 3rd May, 2011, an interview was conducted for two new teachers and today they were given appointment letter.

Mdm. Stanzin Dolma, our former English teacher left Siddhartha School in November. To fill her gap Madam, Yanchan from Stok was appointed as a temporary teacher. Mdm. Yanchen during her short time at the school proved her ability and English skills and both the staff and students were impressed by her teaching skills.

She appeared for the recent interview for a permanent teacher at the Siddhartha School. The interview was conducted by Mr. Ishe Tundup, Principal Lamdon School, Sir Norlha Principal Siddhartha School, Mr. Angdu, joint Secretary SCWS, and Mrs. Tsering Kunzom, Secretary SCWS, and Mr. Susheel.

All the interviewers were happy with Madam Yanchen’s performance both in the interview and her performance at the school in the last couple of months. They decided to appoint her as a permanent teacher.

The other candidate was Madam. Tsewang Dolker a Tibetan whom the interviewer felt was a good replacement for Mr. Tenzin Dorjee. She did well in the interview and she had all the necessary qualification for a general teacher.

Today during the farewell part for Mr. Tenzin Dorjee both the new teachers were also welcomed to the school and were given the appointment letter.

Madam Yanchan was given the appointment letter for a permanent teacher and for Madam… an appointment letter was given for the first three months of probation. If after three months of probation she is found competent and satisfactory she will be given an appointment letter for a permanent post.

On behalf of the Siddhartha School Project USA family, we thank Mr. Tenzin Dorjee for his dedication and years of service and helping our students succeed!  Sending him all the very best wishes for his success and happiness.  We also send a warm welcome to the newest members of the Siddhartha High School staff!



His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa Lama visits Siddhartha School! by Lisa V. Blake
April 27, 2011, 6:52 pm
Filed under: Education in Ladakh, Ladakh News, School News, SSP News, Uncategorized

Siddhartha School was blessed and honored by a 45 minute visit with His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa on April 26, 2011.  It was his second visit to the school and many parents and honorary guests were on hand to welcome him.  The students dressed in very beautiful traditional clothing and presented a cultural show for him.  His visit was a success and the entire school body felt very honored and blessed to have the opportunity to be among the fortunate audience.  Stay tuned for photos from this event, to be posted soon!

Back in the US, Khen Rinpoche Tsetan has been in New York City, Connecticut, and Maine on the East Coast.  In addition to leading several teachings, Khen Rinpoche joined Executive Director of the Siddhartha School Project Lisa V. Blake at Connecticut College for a presentation about Siddhartha School on April 15, 2011.  College volunteer Danielle Plourde who came to work at the school in the summer of 2010 and who was on hand digging out the hospital in Leh with Siddhartha student volunteers after the mudslide organized a wonderful large gathering at her college.  The theme “Himalayan Heritage: The effects of globalization on a remote Tibetan Buddhist community, featuring a talk by a prestigious Tibetan lama Khen Rinpoche Tsetan, who will speak about the importance of cultural preservation and the actions that are being taken by the students of the Siddhartha School to live in harmony with the Earth.” Lisa presented a slide show on the sustainability project featuring the village cleanup, the students in action, and teh Zero Trash Policy crafted by the class 10 girls.  We reached over 60 people, sold many of Rinpoche’s books, and even gained a new sponsor for our project who will hopefully come to the school in 2012.  More updates coming soon!  Julley & love, Lisa   

He is currently in California, where he has led the ceremony celebrating His Holiness the Panchen Lama’s birthday.  This weekend on May 1, 2011 he will join His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the Yamantaka Initiation in Long Beach, CA.

Now in Session: Siddhartha High School begins 2011 School Year by Lisa V. Blake
April 2, 2011, 4:14 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The doors of the school have re-opened after the long winter break, necessitated by the cold Himalayan winter and the fact that the school buildings have no heating source. 

The students and staff were treated to a surprise visit from founder and director of the school, Khen Rinpoche Lobzang Tsetan who was able to peel away for a short visit.  He was in Souhtern India wearing his other hat as head abbot of the Tashi Lhunpo monastery and had not planned on being able to welcome the students into a new school year.   Mr. Norlha Ngodup –our junior science teacher is appointed as the headmaster of the school. In the short-term absence of the Principal he’ll be the in charge of the school.  This decision is made because our present Principal-Mrs. Tsewang Dolma is on Sick Leave; she is at Chandigarh for her treatment of a leg condition.  Mrs. Tashi Angmo, resident of Stok village, is appointed as computer teacher on temporary basis.  After a satisfactory performance evaluation she’ll be hired full time to teach computer and run the computer lab, which is powered by a solar generator.  

An official  letter was sent to the Ladakh Budhist Association to invite Gyalwa Karmapa Lama to our school, on 17th April, Gyalwa Karmapa Lama is coming to Leh.  It is hoped that he will be able to visit Siddhartha School as well while he is in the region.  Stay tuned for news and photos from this event.

Everyone is getting back into the normal rhythms of life after a long recovery from last summer’s flooding. 

The morale at school is positive and grateful to all of the U.S. donors.  Two evenings featuring dinner followed by a classical concert were held in Cape Elizabeth this winter by the family who was in the village volunteering with the students last summer when the mudslides occured.   This privately held initiative in January 2011  raised an additional $3,000 at to assist Siddhartha School students, staff and families directly impacted by the natural disaster.   Thank you to everyone who has pulled together to bring about incredible international community support.  It means so very much!  

Please keep checking in here and on our Siddhartha School Facebook page.  The Siddhartha School 2011 Sponsorship Challenge is underway!  We are seeking our final 225 sponsors to ensure 100% sponsorship of every student in the school, which is now over 300 students.  Help bring in new sponors, only a dollar a day covers a student for the entire year!  The person tallying the highest number of new sponsors will win a special prize package.  Have fun while you help the school cover its growing costs!  Ask 5 people and if 1 says “Sure!” celebrate that.  You’ve just helped us move one step closer to our sponsorship goal!  This is the way we keep the doors open, so it is really vital to have everyone’s help!  

Keep smiling and shining the light,


Lisa V. Blake, SSP Executive Director 


News Flash — Tune in to SSP Live on the Air! by scottcronenweth
November 3, 2010, 2:40 pm
Filed under: SSP News

Siddhartha School Project’s Executive Director, Scott Cronenweth, will be speaking about the organization and its mission on an hour-long radio program airing tomorrow, November 4, from 5-6PM Eastern time.

The station is WBOR (Bowdoin College radio in Brunswick, ME), and the show is “What’s Up,” a live cultural interview show with host Barbara Duff.

You can listen in online at

Thank you for your support of Siddhartha School!

IFBYL distributes aid to Tibetan families worst affected by the mudslides by Lisa V. Blake
October 27, 2010, 11:16 am
Filed under: Ladakh News

On October 22, the International Fellowship of Buddhist Youth Ladakh (IFBYL), led by Tsewang Norbu Vivek, distributed relief items to 34 Tibetan families living in Ladakh, who were affected by the mudslides that occurred in August. Relief items distributed included to each family included: a double quilt, a mattress, a blanket, a pillow, 10 kilos of wheat flour, 2000 rupees cash (given only to the 17 families that were most impacted), an image of the Buddha and a pamphlet explaining the five basic Buddhist moral principles. In addition, the Venerable Dr. Yeshe gave a dharma talk to the families, explaining the Buddhist principles.

Tibetan families affected by the recent mudslides wait to receive relief items

Recent News from Leh-Ladakh by scottcronenweth
September 16, 2010, 1:25 pm
Filed under: Ladakh News | Tags: , , ,

Recently we received an e-mail and photos from Khen Rinpoche’s niece, Tashi. She expressed gratitude on behalf of everyone who has benefited from our donations. Thanks to Vivek and the International Fellowship of Buddhist Youth Ladakh (IFBYL), our efforts have helped hundreds of people of all ages, from remote villages to Choglamsar and Leh.

According to Tashi, the Indian government has announced the creation of a fund for the victims, and has promised to rebuild houses before the winter. But, she goes on to say: “This is India, where this kind of thing never gets done in time, and half the money disappears before it gets to the victims. These promises seem impossible because it’s already September…”

Tashi’s photos document very well the magnitude of the rebuilding process that Ladakhis are facing, and how much work remains to be done. I’ve added captions but the images need no explanation. Click on an image to see it full-size.

Thank you again, everyone, for your ongoing support.

Mud filling storefronts

Mud filling storefronts

Army crews clearing a main road

Army crews clearing a main road

Salvaging belongings

Salvaging belongings

Even major buildings were destroyed

Even major buildings were destroyed

This was part of someone's home

This was part of someone's home

Situation improving in Ladakh by scottcronenweth
September 5, 2010, 8:52 pm
Filed under: School News

Tsewang Norbu Vivek, International Secretary to Siddhartha School, sent the note that follows on September 3 to Joli Greene, President of the Siddhartha School Project board of directors. So far, friends of Siddhartha School in the US have donated over $6,000 in humanitarian aid to Ladakh. Vivek is channeling this money directly to the people who need it most, as his note describes:

Dear Joli,

Thank you so much for your kind donation. Well things are getting better now with a lot of reliefs coming in. We have so far covered 5 villages with a complete set of winter beddings with Rupees 2000/- cash [about US$60] to those who lost literally everything. On sunday we are providing fodder for two village animals as they lost all their fields both the fodder and wheat and barley fields. We are providing atleast 10 truck loads of fodder and also complete bed sets to all the flood victims.

At the school everything is going on fine. We have collected Rs. 40,250 from 5 days salaries of all the staff for the staff who were affected by the flood and about Rs. 15,000 from all the students to be distributed amongst all the students who were affected by the flood.

We are still planning to provide winter jackets to all those were affected by the flood. Hopefully by October we can do that.. Thanks once again for your kind generosity.

TN Vivek