Fresno Free College Foundation

Central Mountain Waters Tibetan Refugee Fund

Our program of teaching has expanded thanks to the persistence of Pema Rinzen in lobbying for the study of local languages in the public schools. Our teacher, Ms. Jampa Dolma, is now allowed to teach Tibetan as an integral part of the school day's curriculum. This has resulted in a full and demanding teaching schedule. It is clear from the community's enthusiasm that Ms. Dolma is doing a tremendous job. This community enthusiasm means that her work now stretches beyond the school day to Tibetan literacy classes for adults in the community-particularly young women. And, with the help of a new tape recorder she has inspired a passionate interest in traditional Tibetan songs and dances. The sense of belonging to a respected broader community generated by these classes and her participation in the community is a giant leap toward cultural survival. Visiting the school in the evening we joined small children gathered outside the doors and windows intently watching and mimicking the older students and adults hard at work learning old dance steps.

News of our Tibetan classes within the students daily education curriculum has spread throughout the region, the school now hosts students from remote regions studying as boarders at what was only a few years ago a small poorly equipped day school. The school has become a source of pride and encouraged positive changes along with several requests by teachers for further training.

In India, we continue to provide funds for medical assistance and educational stipends to several monks and nuns. We are also working on plans to build a new kitchen at the Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Dalhousie.