SMD School alumna, Tsewang Diki (‘TD’), recently graduated from grade 12 at Shawnigan Lake Boarding School in British Columbia, Canada. Not only did she do so with flying colours, but she also won a full-ride, four-year scholarship to the University of British Columbia (UBC; among the top 50 universities in the world) in Canada to study sciences.
TD says that she is “profoundly interested in studying medicine. Coming from a very remote place in the high mountains of Nepal, I’ve experienced and witnessed much loss due to the lack of proper health care infrastructure in my village. I hope that by studying medicine, I can help communities in the remote areas of Nepal as much as possible.”
TD was born into a very poor Buddhist family in the Gorkha district of northern Nepal. She describes the area as “a destitute place with barren lands, hidden under the base of the mountains. But it has lots of beautiful scenery, too, which makes for great trekking.” She explains that from the capital city of Kathmandu, it takes more than five days to reach her birthplace—one day by bus and the rest by foot on hazardous trails.
“Growing up in a family of subsistence farmers, we had just enough to eat, but my parents were unable to raise cash to buy new clothes or to send us to school. I have six family members, but my mom died when I was in grade six. My childhood was unfortunate and hard. In order to help my family, I worked in the fields, herded animals (yaks, cows, and oxen), and collected firewood.”
In 2005, TD was accepted at Shree Mangal Dvip (SMD) Boarding School for Himalayan Children in Kathmandu and received free education and full care for over ten years. She finished grade ten in 2015, just weeks before the big earthquake hit. She became part of the school’s earthquake relief team and was also accepted to join SMD School as a “Senior” student, giving service to the SMD family for one year. And it was during this gap year, when she received what she calls “this one in a million opportunity to go to Shawnigan Lake Boarding School in BC, Canada on full scholarship” to complete grades 11 and 12 and earn her high-school diploma.
TD reflects “the transition towards the western lifestyle was overwhelming and difficult; however, having had all these wonderful people at my school and my lovely host family for support, made it smooth.” She goes on to explain that the past two years were full of challenges for her, but because of these challenges she was able to find her hidden talents and strengths, also learning how to meaningfully contribute to the Shawnigan Lake School community.
“This amazing journey of my life to date would not have been possible without the generosity of my root Lama, Thrangu Rinpoche, and SMD School, my parents for giving birth to me, my teachers at SMD and Shawnigan for educating me, Ms. Blair for guiding me, my sponsors for helping me go to school, my siblings and friends for always being there for me, and my host parents for their countless support. I am grateful for everything they have done for me and how they’ve put their energy into positively shaping my life. Thank you so much!”