Frequently Asked Questions


If you’ve read through the site and still have some questions, the following FAQ’s might be helpful. Also, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

The indigenous people of Nepal’s Himalayas originated in Tibet centuries ago. They are an ethnic, linguistic and religious minority in a country blighted by caste discrimination. Himalayan folk are marginalized by their ethnicity and their language (dialects of Tibetan). They are further marginalized by caste discrimination although the Buddha taught that caste is meaningless.

No government in Kathmandu has ever seen fit to address their needs—Himalayan folk live without running water, sanitation and electricity. There is not enough food (close to half the children are stunted) and the people have no access to health care or education.

Thrangu Rinpoche’s aims are to help Himalayan people preserve their language, their culture and their Buddhist way of life. SMD School offers free education, housing, medical and dental care to hundreds of Himalayan children.

Our kids come from some of the most remote and highest mountain villages of the northern Himalayas of Nepal, from villages that have no electricity, no toilets, no sanitation, no hospitals, no telecommunications and no schools. They come from northern districts with romantic names like Mustang, Dolpo, Humla, Mugu, Manang, Gorkha, and Solu Khumbu. Some of the villages are four to 14 days trekking away from the nearest road and may be as high as 14,000 feet (over 4,000 m.). Culturally they are Tibetan, but they were born in Nepal. Read more on our blog >
No. All our kids have families: their blood relations, the SMD family, and hopefully the sponsor family as well!
In any given year, we have around 500 students grades K-10 attending SMD School plus around 20 Senior students who live at the school after Grade 10 and give service and/or attend Grades 11 and 12 elsewhere. We have hundreds on the wait list.
We are simply too crowded on campus to offer Grades 11 and 12. Please see our Ongoing Education page for more details >
Commitment to sponsoring a student for the duration of their life at SMD (and possibly beyond) is one of the best ways you can help. Sponsorship per boarding student is around $1,000 / year (only $3 / day)—please see the fees per currency chart on the following page. However, we understand that for many, this is not possible. We can arrange for partial sponsorships, and we’ve outlined several other ways you can be part of our family. Please see our Make a Donation and Volunteer pages for details on how you can get involved.
Tax deductible donations can be made directly through one of Thrangu Rinpoche’s international non-profit organizations (Canada, USA, Eurozone, or Hong Kong). Please see the Make a Donation page for more details and to donate >
The total cost to repair/retrofit the school is US $136,000. We’ve completed most of the repairs, and have had to use the money that we had fundraised over the last several years and set aside for a new school (it’s our long term vision to build a larger school that can house more students and that is in a safer/less polluted environment away from the core of the city).