Dharamshala —Tibetan students paraded to the beat of drums, and performed traditional dance and calisthenics marking the 55thanniversary of the founding of the Tibetan Children's Village School in Upper Dharamshala on 23 October. Thousands of Tibetans and Non-Tibetans had joined in the celebration.
Escorted by the school's marching band, Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission Kargyu Dhondup, Penpa Tsering Speaker for the Tibetan Parliament in exile and Pema Chinnjor, Religion and Culture Minister– representing Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) were amongst the special guests in attendance, as well as other top ministers and community representatives.
"I applaud your selfless contribution in preserving Tibetan identity and culture and for actualising His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama's aspirations," said, Gyalwa Karmapa Rinpoche who was the chief guest at the event, praised the TCV school and thanked all the staffs, teachers and students who has been a part of the Tibetan school.
"The importance of Education is beyond question, especially in this time. Students should have an ambitious attitude towards learning and focus on improvement and excellence," Karmapa Rinpoche stressed while urging the Tibetans to reflect on the circumstances that led us into exile and the responsibility as a Tibetan refugee.
"Education is a key priority for the current Tibetan administration. Our goal is to significantly expand the base of Tibetan professionals holding advance degrees in modern education fields," Religious and Culture Kalon Mr Pema Chhinjor said.
"The Kashag, therefore has announced new scholarship schemes to inspire Tibetan students to achieve merits in higher education. Along with Modern Education, basic traditional education is crucial to the sustenance of Tibetan culture," he added.
"The implementation of basic education policy is an important initiative towards achieving an efficient education system," Mr Chhinjor said, adding that "from 2016, the basic education policy will be introduced at primary stages in TCV schools."
Speaker Penpa Tsering urged the students and spectators alike to be a responsible community members. "young Tibetans have a special responsibility to preserve and protect their culture, religion and language."
He also encouraged more TCV alumni to serve the TCV community which in long run, will help TCV become "a self reliant organisation."
The event began with staff, guests and supporters observing an inter-class student parade followed by the Tibetan and Indian national anthems and a minute's silence in respect for those who have lost their lives in the Tibetan struggle. School President Tsewang Yeshi made a speech praising the school's programme and it's 54-year history.
Tsewang Yeshe said: "I express my admiration to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama for his vision to educate Tibetan children both in the traditional and modern fields of studies."
"Mrs Tsering Dolma Takla, the elder sister of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, who shouldered the responsibilty of the first TCV Nursery on 17 May 1960 and later, expanded into a residential school by Mrs Jetsun Pema, the younger sister of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama," he said.
"Without their leadership and guidance, the TCV wouldn't have achieved success in educating thousands of Tibetan children."
The school with a slogan of "Others before Self", is painted in large block letters on the school walls. Students performed a variety of routines including songs and a traditional Tibetan group dance by students and a precisely choreographed calisthenics show.
The calisthenics earned applause from the audience as students used their movements and formations to spell "Tibet Climate Action" a campaign recently launched by the CTA, urging the world leaders take bold and decisive action on Tibet climate at Paris COP21, followed by "80", in celebrating the eighth birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and "Peace is powerful" a symbol of the peaceful Tibetan struggle for freedom, justice and equality.
An energetic drum performance and a speech by village director, Mr Ngodup Wangdu, concluded the celebrations. The Director congratulated Mr Tenzin Damdul of TCV Suja for scoring 95.8 percentage in the class 12 CBSE board exam and encouraged all the students to achieve excellence in their studies.
The Tibetan Children's Village aims to provide children with the necessary resources and the opportunities to develop their abilities to the fullest and has become an integrated educational community for destitute Tibetan children in exile, as well as for hundreds of those escaping from Tibet every year.
As well as teaching the children about Tibetan language and culture, students study science, arts, counseling and information technology. Over it's 55-year history the school has expanded to have more than 16,000 children under their care and has established branches in India extending from Ladakh in the North to Bylakuppe in South.