It’s been almost three years since the Tara Bodong Foundation was established and our small group seriously began the quest to build a school for girls in the remote village of Lumla, which is located in the mountainous and remote region of Arunachal Pradesh, North East India. This may sound like a long time, but because Arunachal Pradesh shares a border with Tibet (and Bhutan) it remains a disputed area with a noticeable military presence to protect the interests and security of India. For this reason, foreigners and even Indian residents require a permit to enter its boundaries. While Lumla’s sensitive location provides a political and bureaucratic challenge, there is the added problem of the monsoon rains in the summer, which make the roads impassable, followed by the harsh winters, when temperatures could plunge well below freezing. During this period, the icy conditions and frozen ground make it impossible to carry out any construction.
But the wait on Mother Nature has given the members of Tara Bodong time to accumulate more funds and more supporters! Together with Tara Bodong Norway, we have raised more than €90,000. This has been done with the cooperation of schools, yoga studios, tennis clubs, as well as the University of Amsterdam and the internet services company, Digitas LBi Netherlands. We have also enlisted the expertise of renowned architect, Anders Nyquist of EcoCycleDesign of Sweden, who specializes in creating healthy and sustainable buildings based on the use of local resources and environmental concerns. Nyquist, has worked in neighbouring Bhutan and is used to the demands of the climate and soil conditions. He will visit Lumla in April to finalise the design and meet with local contractors. You can learn more about him and his experience in that region by visiting the website www.ecocycledesign.com. The surrounding mountains, extreme weather conditions and restricted status make it difficult to regularly communicate with our local committee in Lumla, but we will provide an update on the project after Nyquist’s visit.
The First Girls to Begin School
In the meantime, we felt the urgency to take action and it was decided that some of the more needy girls, living in the most remote mountain areas should be allowed to begin their education as soon as possible. For this reason, Tara Bodong will rent temporary accommodation in Lumla, with a live-in house-mother to look after the girls’ daily needs and supervise their studies while construction takes place. Members of the local charitable committee in Lumla, who are all educationalists, will give the girls lessons in reading and writing to prepare them for school. We will also embark on a special fund-raising drive to support this temporary measure. Please visit our website for more information on this effort. There you will be able to allocate your donation towards the temporary care of the girls or the building fund. Later on, you will be able to sponsor or part-sponsor a girl, so if you are not already on our mailing list, we urge you to please sign up so you could receive regular updates. Of course, you can always email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments.