A Closing Word from Martin - a former teacher in the Sun School

Dear visitors of this website,
this is the last report from me from Kargyak, so please let me do an overall summary and assessment this time instead of regular article about the life here. I know that such a summary won’t be probably very readable but still I feel it should be provided here (moreover I strongly doubt that anything I wrote before actually was readable:)

The school in the brand new building was opened after the opening ceremony on September 22, 2008. Today is January 4, 2009. Even though, it has been only 4 months since the opening, there are many things that must be mentioned. It may seem as a time too short to assess things but during that time there were many crucial problems that were all brought off successfully. The project goes on and what’s of the highest importance, the project proved its viability and showed that it works!

The first proof that the project is on the right track is the constantly increasing level of education of our students which is very apparent. That is the best possible reward not only for me as a teacher but for everyone who had ever helped with the project. The second, in my opinion equally important proof is the fact that the word about the project has spread and it enjoys a very good reputation all over Zanskar. As you all surely know, gossips and rumors spread much faster than true information about good and thorough work (and the more untruthful and unreasonable the rumor is, the faster it spreads:). Despite all the rumors which accompanied every good idea (because envy is ever lasting and doesn’t avoid even the charity), the positive info about our project seems to be winning over the lies. It’s a great success even though Kargyak is a place where people probably never heard of tabloids and paparazzi:). At the beginning, people who dropped by usually asked questions about me and various rumors related to myself, now there are people who we don’t even know but who come here just to thank us for what our NGO do. Questions related to various disinformation are very rare now.

But, to get to this point was not easy at all. At first, we had to deal with the staff of the school - figuring out who and when will be here and what will be each one’s responsibilities turned out to be crucial. Despite the initial difficulties and misunderstanding (which unfortunately didn’t go without causing complications in the village, among the Tibetan teachers and even among other schools in the region), we managed not only to ensure experienced teachers but also to knit the group of school staff together into a great team. These people as a team managed to explain and disprove all misunderstandings and unclear or untruthful things that had accompanied and done down the project since its beginning. Extremely difficult was to deal with the local authorities about the official status of the school - as for myself, I had to sit through the lengthy and at the beginning from his side also very offensive negotiations with the local high officer about our aims and intentions in Kargyak. In the end we found a common ground and now the school officially maintains the status of a state school with special privileges. In reality it means, that the Surya Civic Association is entitled to take care of the education in the Sun School without any state interventions, in return the organization has to ensure pretests for the kids according to state rules at the end of every term and also help the state teachers to improve their education. It is therefore a unique example of cooperation with one and the very only aim - to provide the local kids with the best possible education. The kids in fact have a chance to go to school which is on one hand under the regular patronage of a state but on the other hand it provides many times higher quality of education.

So, dear sponsors, contributors, adoptive “parents”, volunteers and also you who only think about subscribing or you who came across this article just accidentally, please, become conscious of these great results, which even I did not expect, and keep on supporting this wonderful idea which has been slowly becoming reality but still has a long way to go. It just cannot end up now, after it got this far - to give up at this moment would be waste of your money and also waste of hard-work and time of all those people who have given us a hand with the project. Let me thank them for what they did, do and will keep on doing. We all know that there is always something to learn, do better or improve but the Surya Civic Association is without any doubt on the right track.

Martin Kalabis

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