Siddhartha School Project

Spring 2011 News & Changes at Siddhartha High School, Stok
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!
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
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 


IFBYL distributes aid to Tibetan families worst affected by the mudslides
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

Khen Rinpoche Visits Yarmouth High (by Sarah Becker)
April 5, 2010, 6:43 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

Khen Rinpoche, the founding director of the Siddhartha School in Ladakh and Abbot of the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, travels around the world sharing his wisdom and spreading awareness of his school. Last week I was lucky enough to be one of many students to hear his message of peace and kindness when he visited my high school in Yarmouth, Maine.

Previous to his address to the freshman class, an intimate luncheon was held, allowing selected students to present him with the difficulties in their lives, and in turn, be shown a compassionate way of dealing with these problems. The students, shy and in awe to be in the presence of such a dignified leader, were quiet at first. Rinpoche took the initiative and began to speak about compassion in our lives and how it can be used to overcome barriers. Using the ocean as a metaphor, the students were shown a very different approach to problem solving on topics such as parents, peers, and even more personal aspects of life such as jealousy, anger, and fear. As he talked, the students grew more comfortable in his calm, peaceful presence. Gradually, people began to speak and ask questions. The conversation opened into one of leadership, and just how to lead from a place of loving kindness in a world so often consumed by desire for money and power. Lunch was served — pizza, which it turned out is one of Khen Rinpoche’s favorite foods.

A brief address to the freshman class followed. Using the metaphor of a garden, Rinpoche talked the students through “weeding” the thorns out of the gardens of our lives. Inspiring yet down-to-earth, Rinpoche presented a thought-provoking look at Buddhist religion, life and culture. Assisted by his guide and companion for the day, Lisa Blake, Rinpoche led a mini meditation for the students. Instructed to close our eyes and focus on the breath, the students, and the auditorium, fell into a serene quiet for the minutes that followed. Not everyone was able to focus, but some students had great results. Following the presentation, many exclaimed that they wanted to become Buddhist!

An enriching experience for all in attendance, Rinpoche’s visit was a glimpse into a world very different than the life we lead in Yarmouth, and opened students eyes to the true state of much of the world while also showing how having everything does not bring happiness or inner peace. The true path to this peace is up to the individual, but the road starts with compassion. As Rinpoche said, “To pick thorns out of the garden, have compassion to all.” What truth.

*** This post was written by Sarah Becker, a student at Yarmouth High — THANK YOU, SARAH!

Here’s a photo of Sarah meeting Khen Rinpoche: