Education and Society
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22march2011000212006Dharamshala: As a child from rural Tibet, Denwa Jigmey couldn't get the education opportunities he so eagerly wanted to become a teacher. However, after escaping to India he was helped along by individual sponsors and several organisations, and today, Denwa is helping Tibetan children to receive the education he never got through his work in the charity foundation Rewa (Hope) in Belgium, where he currently lives.

Founded in 2009, Rewa is primarily engaged in the field of education in Tibet and from the very beginning has been running a school project in a Tibetan village monastery in Changtsa, Amdo. The school aims to provide young monks and local teenagers with a basic education and to create a library as there isn't a single library or bookshop in the area, according to Rewa. Reading material in Tibetan is literally not available in the local area and while the foundation wants to encourage the population to be learn to read and write, they feel that there is no point in learning these skills if they are only going to be used in the classroom. Therefore it is crucial for Rewa to offer the new readers something relevant to read and to make reading a part of everyday life.

On their website ( the organisation explains that, in Tibet, a lot of children rarely get the chance to go to school. In remote areas, schools are few and far between. On top of the fees, additional costs such as boarding, travelling to school, books and uniforms, make basic education unaffordable for the average Tibetan family. Another problem is that, especially in the remote areas, many Tibetan parents do not understand the importance of sending their children to school. Being out of touch with modern life, they simply cannot picture the many possibilities that a good education would give their children.

These days there is a growing awareness of the importance of education, even in remote communities, but as Rewa puts it: "the Tibetan population as a whole is trapped in a vicious circle of illiteracy, subsistence on farming and bad living conditions. Rewa hopes to help villagers break free of this vicious circle". Ultimately Denwa Jigmey's vision is that Tibetan pupils will choose to become doctors, teachers, engineers etc., and in this way help to build a new society that provides more opportunities for the future generations in Tibet.

With the help of regular sponsors in Belgium Rewa has already managed to fulfill some pupils' dreams by providing education. Dorjee, one of the school's promising young students, has now gone to a training school to become a veterinarian. His dream is to become a good 'yak doctor' so he can help poor villagers enjoy a better standard of living. Another testament to the success of Rewa's school project is Tashi Rabten, another promising student, who has also achieved his dream. Despite having no relatives and being extremely poor he has passed his secondary school exams and is now studying at Chengdu University to become a teacher - Denwa Jigmey's initial boyhood dream. Once qualified, they will, in turn, be able to help many others through their chosen professions, just like Denwa has helped them to help themselves.