The School Projects Long History

The Swedish- Tibetan School- & Culture Society worked for 18 years with the project to build 108 schools and libraries in Tibet to support the tibetans possibility for education. 

1988- The Swedish Tibetan Society for School & Culture is founded and the head office in Stockholm is opened. Soenam enlists the assistance of a small group of Tibetan exiles and U.S. citizens to support this worthwhile effort. The U.S.Tibetan Society for School & Culture is founded to raise funds to support the goals of the Swedish Society.

1989- The Swedish Society signed its first formal agreement with the government of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) to begin its first project, the boarding school in Katsel. This was the first agreement of its kind in the history of Tibet. 1990-91 - Difficulties with project negotiations caused delays.

1992- The Society hired 3 Tibetan teachers to teach Tibetan to the children in Katsel. Classes were held during project negotiations and continued to be held in an outdoor courtyard until completion of the main school building in late 1993.

1993- A three man delegation from the TAR government visited Sweden and signed the final project agreement granting construction permission. In the autumn an 8 room, 2 storey building was completed and children filled its classrooms for the first time. The child sponsorship programme was established in this year in order to provide medical care and extra food & clothing for the children.

1994- Dormitories for boarding students and living quarters for teachers were completed and the Katsel school was formally inaugurated. Among the eminent guests attending was the Swedish ambassador to China, Mr. Sven G. Linder.

1995-96- The Katsel school was expanded with the completion of a large dining room & kitchen, additional dormitories and teachers quarters, a greenhouse, shower rooms and a dispensary. The Society started looking at new project areas. In 1996 Project 108 Schools in Tibet was formally announced and 2 small primary schools were targeted and totally renovated the same year. The Society bought & distributed 6000 animals for nomad families who had been struck by extremely harsh winter storms. The tree-planting project was started and a total of 8,000 trees were planted.

1997-99- The Katsel school was again expanded, this time with a library building and football & basketball grounds. Project 108 Schools in Tibet was now well under way, the Society building and renovating approx. 20 schools in other rural areas during this period. In '99 the first class of 6th graders at the Katsel school sat their final exams. The majority passed and continued their studies at a nearby secondary school. 5 children were sponsored so that they could travel to China to study. The Jamyangling Academy of Arts & Crafts, a newly started handicraft school for 15 students was started in Katsel village the same year. In Sweden 3 affiliations are opened in 3 major cities.

2000- Another class finished their 6th grade at Katsel school. 4 new students were sponsored to travel to China to study. The building work at the Katsel school having been completed, the Society's main objective became Project 108 Schools in Tibet. Several more schools were built or renovated in the Tibetan countryside, and by the autumn the Society's total number of school projects since 1996 amounted to 33.

2001- Another class successfully finished their 6th grade at the Katsel school and I new student was sponsored to study in China. The child-sponsorship programme started in 1993 now had a total of 800 sponsors supporting children in Tibet! A new project - The Katseli Vocational Training School - was started and construction work began during the summer. By the end of the year Project 108 Schools in Tibet had built/renovated a total of 52 schools. These included 2 traditional medical schools, I art school, 2 arts & crafts schools and I vocational training school. This year the Society also made the commitment to build a small library at each of the 108 schools

2002- The Katsel Vocational Training School is inaugurated during the visit of Sweden's Ambassador to China, Mr.Kjell Anneling, and the first students start their training. 3 more students from the Katsel School travel to China to study. By the end of the year the total number of sponsors is approx. 900. Project 108 Schools in Tibet has now built/renovated 64 schools. The library project starts with the completion of 6 libraries.

2003- The Katsel Vocational Training School is now fully operational with students from various areas of Tibet participating (e.g. Amdo). 3 more students from the Katsel School travel to China for higher studies. The child sponsorship programme, (which now sponsors 25 higher study students and approx. 1,000 other students) celebrates its 10th Year Anniversary with a gala performance in Stockholm.

-Project 108 Schools in Tibet has now built/renovated 84 schools which offer free education to approx. 10,000 children. 33 of the schools now have their own library.

2004-The child sponsorship programme now sponsors 30 students from the Katsel School studying in China, and approx. 1,100 other children. Project 108 Schools in Tibet has now built/renovated 98 schools which offer free education to approx. 12,000 children. The Society now has schools not only in TAR, but also several in the Kham, Amdo and Yunnan regions. 67 of these schools now have their own library.

2006- The project was finished and all 108 Schools with Libraries are built and fully functioning.

Here is a collection of 7 out of the 108 Schools with their Libraries.  


Opening year: 1994

Number of pupils: 250

Name of village: Katsel

Rural district: Medrogungkar Zong

Urban district: Lhasa

Distance from Lhasa: 70 km

Region: TAR

Katsel school was the first school built by the Swedish-Tibetan Society for School and Culture in 1994. Today the school teaches 250 pupils from 1st to 6th grade. More than half of them come from remote villages and are boarders at the school. All the children who do not live in Katsel are from poor families and many are orphans. Many people in other villages want their children to attend Katsel School because it has developed into one of the best schools in the country. The school has good resources so a lot of teachers want to work here. Katsel School has three Tibetan language teachers, four Chinese language teachers, one English, four Maths, two Music, one Art and one Gymnastics. The school is situated in the outskirts of the village of Katsel, 70 kilometers from Lhasa. The village has 3000 inhabitants who are farmers. Since the school started 258 students have graduated and moved on to senior level. More than 100 students study in Lhasa senior schools and 38 study in senior schools in China. The other 120 students are studying in Medrogungkar.

Gyama Rinchen Gang

Opening year: 2002

Number of pupils: 50

Name of village: Gyama Rinchen Gang

Rural district: Medrogungkar Zong

Urban district: Lhasa

Distance from Lhasa: 69 km

Region: TAR

The Gyama Rinchen Gang School is located three kilometers away from Gyama Phothang Champa Mingurling, a historical site where Songtsen Gampo, the king of Tibet was born. The Gyama valley is no doubt an incredible sight, covered with all different types of plants and spring water flowing at the foot of the mountain. Unfortunately due to the rich are in the area, mining occurs frequently. In the Gyama Rinchen Gang valley, an area of two thousand eight hundred acres of agricultural land, there are 1300 villagers, mostly nomads and farmers, and 2600 domestic animals. Currently there are fifty students, all with Swedish sponsors, who attend the Gyama Rinchen Gang School, with three teachers. Since the School Society built this school, the illiteracy rate has dropped to near extinction among the younger generation and the school library is used not only by the students but the adults in the area as well. Recently the School Society was also able to build a kitchen in addition to the library.

Jamyangling Handicraft School

Opening year: 2001

Number of pupils: 25

Name of village: Katsel

Rural district: Medrogungkar Zong

Urban district: Lhasa

Distance from Lhasa: 70 km

Region: TAR

Tibet has been recognized by the world, for its special geographical and cultural characteristics, as well as the people. The Tibetans have a true talent in handicrafts which we can witness in different museums. The School Society believes that it is a responsibility of the younger generation to preserve the traditional and cultural handicraft methods, and at the same time to adjust to modern society. The main aim of the School Society was, and is to give a qualified education in handicrafts to those children who are strongly motivated to preserve the culture of Tibet through arts. The main subjects being offered at the Jamyangling Handicraft School are traditional Tibetan Art painting, woodcraft and tailoring.


The students work in their profession and earn a good living in society. Students who specifically studied art have done extraordinarily well, having restored a wall and some pillar paintings in a old monastery which had been destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. These students have also learned techniques of thangka painting as well as decorative painting for furniture, walls and windows which is a trend in many Tibetan households.

Students who concentrate on tailoring have done an excellent job, producing traditional Tibetan boots, hats, masks, opera costumes, fur jackets as well as knitting and sewing thangkas. They currently sew all clothes for the children in the twenty schools who have sponsors. Producing the clothes themselves is a huge advantage due to the fact that the majority of tailoring is at present being done by the Chinese population. Students in woodcraft have also earned credibility in their area for their religious, cultural and traditional woodwork. They were actually contracted by the local government to restore the old monastery. The students have also been active in helping build furniture and painting the interiors of the new schools that are being built.


All of these successful stories are due not only because of the students' motivation and hard work, but the handicraft teachers the School Society has appointed to teach these students the important and necessary skills. People with expertise in these fields have become hard to come by, and the school is very fortunate to have such teachers to fill these important roles. The villagers as well as those attending the Jamyangling Handicraft School are extremely grateful for the kind help rendered by the School Society for making the preservation of Tibetan handicrafts possible.

Lumbumgang School

Opening year: 2001

Number of pupils: 107

Name of village: Lubumgang

Rural district: Medrogungkar Zong

Urban district: Lhasa

Distance from Lhasa: 72 km

Region: TAR

Lumbumgang, one of the Swedish Tibetan Society for School and Culture's primary schools opened in 2001. Located in Maydogungkar, it is a one hour drive east from the capital of Lhasa. Maydogunkar and its neighboring village is comprised of more than four hundred inhabitants where the majority are poor. The school is surrounded by high mountains and wide meadows, where the only sign of the modernity is the asphalt highway which extends outside the school walls. Prior to the STSSC's presence, a small school existed in the town with very few resources and where education was not a focus for those families living in the town. With the STSSC's involvement, all the village children are able to receive schooling. Catering to children in grades one to three, the school has approximately one hundred students. The school has been led by Principal Khago, a twenty-two year old man from Maydogungkar. The success of the school and the students is shown through many ways, one being that two students who have graduated from Lumbungang are now in China studying at the university level. Although this kind of success is infrequent, it continues to provide hope for those not only studying at Lumbumgang but for the village people as a whole. Lumbumgang also has a library, with Tibetan children's books being the most popular. The library not only gives children access to books but also parents, who have the desire to learn how to read.

Sharma Shang School

Opening year: 2004

Number of pupils: 383

Name of village: Sharma

Rural district: Lhari Zong

Urban district: Nagchu State

Distance from Lhasa:  647 km

Region: TAR

There are 383 students in this boarding school. They all are from nomad families and it was impossible to be a day school student as their camps lie 14 to 20 km away from the school. So, with the construction of hostels all these students could study and stay at the school. Sharma Shang School lies in Kyali Zong in Nagchu state. In Sharma Shang there are 2500 people and 30,000 domestic animals.

Ba Kha Gang School

Opening year: 2005

Number of pupils: 225

Name of village: Ba Kha Gang

Rural district: Amdo and Khami

The Ba Kha Gang School, located in Thunde Zong in the Amdo province is situated 333 km from the nearest main city of Ziling. In this large area of agricultural land there are approximately 261 families with the population of 1467 and 7930 domestic animals. The area of Thunde Zong is 2800 metres above sea level with the school located in the midst of a rocky mountain range. The school has 17 teachers with seven classes and a total of 225 children coming from seven different villages within the surrounding areas. The school offers a range of subjects including: Tibetan, English, Chinese, mathematics, natural science, music, physical education, computers, morality, art and law. The rebuilding of the Ba Kha Gang School began in the year 2000 and ended five years later in 2005. Due to the fact that the school is quite large, the reconstruction took longer than the usual amount of time, and assistance was extended by the School Society three different times.

Damchung Handicraft School

Opening year: 2001

Number of pupils: 212

Name of town: Damchung

Rural district: Damshung Zong

Urban district: Lhasa

Distance from Lhasa: 200 km

Region: TAR

The Damshung Handicraft School lies on a high plateau northwest of Lhasa. In this county or Zong there are approximately 41.357 inhabitants. Prior to the year 1959 the area was only inhabited by nomads. At the present time the area has become more diverse, with a highway and railway connecting the Zong area to China. This in fact has lead to the growth of hotels, shops, and restaurants. People no longer live in tents but houses, and their needs have increased due to the change in life style. Handicrafts however continue to play an important role in this growing society and so the Damshung Zong Handifcraft School was built by the School Society. The school currently has two hundred and seven students attending, with twenty four teachers all qualified in the different subjects that are offered. Two of the teachers in this school are actual graduates of the Jamyangling Handicraft School and were appointed as teachers. The main subjects at the school are woodcraft, painting, tailoring, weaving, blacksmith, thangka painting, carpet weaving, electrical engineering, animal husbandry and vegetable gardening.