Our flagship school, Munsel-ling, needs to be made beautiful with greenery and flowers. We can make the school grounds a little oasis in Spiti’s barren landscape. We have water to irrigate with but we need a livestock proof boundary wall. This is essential. A boundary wall will also enhance the security of the children, especially those living in the hostels.
Staff quarters at Munsel-ling School are very limited. Accommodation for teachers has not kept pace with expansion of the school population so more staff housing is a priority.
Our long-term aim is to provide senior secondary school education at Munsel-ling. At the moment we can only provide education up to 10th class, age sixteen. We are building laboratories but much other infrastructure is required, such as hostel facilities for senior students and proper library premises.
College students from Spiti also need support. The expenses of attending college outside Spiti is beyond the means of many families so a sponsorship scheme is necessary for them so that they can properly complete their education. Please see the Ways to Help page.
Our well established Kaza Day School is still operating in rented premises. Land would be available if we had funds to fulfil our aim of building our own school there.
1993 Given the difficulties of an entirely new and unknown charitable society building a first class school from scratch in such a remote and poor place as Spiti, the Rinchen Zangpo Society Education Program began in May 1993 with seventeen children being taken outside Spiti to be educated in Yol, near Dharamsala, H.P. They lived in cramped rented accommodation in the basement of their place of study, Dhauladhar Public School.
1994 The following year we began to manage our own hostel in Yol, to which more dormitory space, toilets, a kitchen, and other facilities were added over the years.
1995 Having gained the confidence of parents and well wishers by the success of our work in Yol, we began construction of our own school in Spiti itself. The first stone was laid by Mr. Fenneberg of Soir IM, an Indian-registered, Swedish charity. Soir IM has been a great source of financial support up to the present.
1996 Our school in Spiti was inaugurated by H. H. the Dalai Lama who gave it the name Munsel-Ling. This was a dream come true for us. It was the first English medium private school in Spiti, probably in the whole tribal belt of Himachal Pradesh. The school has expanded by one class per year since then.
1997 This year saw much further construction.
1998 The number of students attending Munsel-Ling in Spiti increased to 137. This year the school achieved approval by the Himachal Pradesh Education Board as a government recognized school. There were fifty younger children at Yol, while the number of college girls there was sixteen. Five of these graduated as BA that year. Apart from the daughter of the ex 'rajah' of Spiti, they were the first ever women college graduates from Spiti.
1999 At Munsel-ling boarding homes, each housing approximately twenty-five young children, were occupied by the first 111 boarders. We intended these hostels to benefit the poorest Spiti children, living in the remote villages away from Rangrig and the main road. Two of our girl graduates gained admission to the Notre Dame Teacher Training College in Bangalore to train as junior basic teachers. They are now working with our children, the first, we hope, of many such teachers trained by our society.
2000 H.H. the Dalai Lama bestowed the inaugural blessing on the twenty-five foot high Buddha statue newly constructed to overlook and adorn Munsel-Ling School campus. It is visible from Key Monastery in the north and Kaza in the south.
2001 With the oldest children graduating to class 6, Munsel-Ling became a middle school as well as a primary school. We gained affiliation as a middle school from the Himachal Pradesh Board of Education.
2002 2002 saw the inauguration of our website, www.rinchenzangpo.org. Work also began on an eight classroom middle-cum-high school building which would enable the school to continue to grow up to class ten level.
2003 Our Girls' Education Project, designed to increase the number of girls in our educational scheme, got underway with construction of new girls' hostels both at Munsel-ling and on our a newly purchased green field site in Sidhwari near Yol.
2004 Construction of greenhouses starts. 356 children in the school 40% are girls. There are sixteen teachers, five of whom are Spitians. We now have eighty-two children in the Yol hostel of whom thirty are girls.
2005 The school opens a library and laboratories for physics, chemistry and biology. The school recognized by the Himachal Pradesh Education Board as a Secondary School. Construction of a cultural hall-auditorium starts on the school compound.
2006 The first batch of children at Munsel-ling School in Spiti ever to take class 10 (aged 16) Himachal Pradesh Education Board examinations come through with flying colours, eighteen pass in the first division. School health centre under construction.
2007 Old Yol hostel sold off. All students in Yol relocate to Sidhwari. Assembly /study hall, guest rooms, office and classrooms under construction there.
2008 Branch primary school (day school) now open in Kaza, Spiti headquarters. Incomes generally higher there so this school charges more realistic fees, freeing up more places at Munsel-ling for children from poorer families.
2009 Tashi Namgyal, General Secretary, received the Dick Grace Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award in San Francisco USA from His Holiness the Dalai Lama in recognition of the Rinchen Zangpo Society's seventeen years of continuous achievement under his guidance.
2010 The Society opened feeder pre primary schools in four focal Spiti villages, Losar, Kibber, Key and Sangnam. Another pre primary class opened in Kaza, the Spiti headquarters, a total of 73 children attending these day schools. Altogether there were 821 students enrolled in the Society's education programme. A Jan Shikshan Sansthan or Institute of People's Education for adult education and vocational training was inaugurated in Spiti under the auspices of the Rinchen Zangpo Society for Spiti Development, the first in Himachal Pradesh.
2011 The feeder primary schools in outlying Spiti villages increased to seven in number and construction of a new science laboratory block began at Munsel-ling.
Their performances cover the range from bawdy slapstick to exhortation to live life heedful of the law of karma and the promise of enlightenment. With a leavening of earthly humour and satire they provide accessible ways to understand and practise the Buddha’s teachings for those who, due to their station in life, do not have much opportunity for formal study. Among the most impressive of their ceremonies is the Breaking of the Stone Ritual for expelling negative influences.