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About the Author

Jana Cavojska
photojournalist and writing reporter (Bratislava, Slovakia)

Lawyer by education, photojournalist and writing reporter now. Working for the best sold Slovak weekly magazine Plus7dni and occasionaly also for another weekly and monthly magazines in Slovakia (including streetpaper Nota bene distributed by homeless people). Member of board of trustees of Slovak non - profit organisation Človek v ohrození - People in Peril Association providing developing and humanitarian aid in 25 countries all over the world. Usually I report about people and their stories in different parts of the world. In my blog I would like to speak about the virtue of the "common" people in difficult life situations and about developing help which is really help and not just giving. You can see my photos on my website or in my facebook profile.


Beloved by Buddha

Published 09th April 2010 - 5 comments - 4501 views -

It´s a mid June and in headland of Himalaya there is summer. Despite that it was snowing all night and only now the temperature increased over zero and is raining. One can get to this cold, unhospitable place in 3800 meters altitude only through mountain passes over 4000 meters high. Living conditions are so hard that just yaks can survive on grasslands. And people. Even though is this place in ethinc Tibet, in Si-chuan province, China, called Tagong – A Place Beloved by Buddha.

Besides Tibetan people, Lauren, a young woman from Montana, US, lives here. She came to Tagong one and a half year ago to teach English in a school for orphans. Tagong is known for his Buddhist orphanage and schools – basic and secondary. Although it is summer, Lauren is wearing warm sweater and winter anorak. Hard to say where it´s more cold: if outside or inside the simple school building. There are radiators inside but they never work. No money.

Compulsory school attendance haven´t brought all the kids to the school desks. For simple herdsmen it seems better to let their children to guard yaks than go to school. They are often very poor and live too far from schools. That´s why lama Dorje Tashi Rinpoche, approved as a living Buddha of Zu-qen monastery by Nyingma Buddhists, has built an orphanage with school in Tagong. Lama Dorje Tashi, born in 1963, comes from a herdsmen family who kept their yaks in the grasslands in surrounding of Tagong. In thirteen years he was chosen as a true incarnation. 

Lama Dorje Tashi knew that children of herdsmen will never have better life than their parents without education. He started collecting money and finally built the school and orphanage for 150 children. At the beginning he visited people in remote villages and asked them: Do you have child and want to send it to school but you cannot afford it? Are there any children without parents in school age? Present situation is that children must wait for a free place.

When did you go home for the last time – I´m asking to sixteen years old girl. „Two years ago,“ she answers. But there are children who haven´t seen their relatives for five years. They have no money for travel expenses. In orphanage there are children in age between 4 and 24 years. Older children are looking after the young ones, teachers try to replace the parents. Except of Lauren all the teachers are followers of lama Dorje Tashi and work in orphanage free of charge.

These humble children are used to discomfort. Their previous homes were very simple and conditions in orphanage are hard, too. Hot water? Forget it. No heating in that cold environment. School lessons are six days a week. On Sundays pupils wash, clean and take showers. What about excursions? Are there any at least during school holidays? Lauren shakes her head. „We don´t have any money for it. But once a year, 1st of June, we make a big birthday party. Most of our children don´t know their birth date. So they celebrate together.“

Despite of this all the pupils from simply Tagong orphanage in term exams obtain the same level as children from the best school of Garze prefectship.


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Category: Education | Tags:


  • Luan Galani on 12th April 2010:


  • Radovana Jagrikova on 26th April 2010:

    Wow. I guess seeing places like this can really change one`s perspective on life…

  • Lara Smallman on 26th April 2010:

    Thanks Jana!

  • Andrea Arzaba on 27th April 2010:

    I can even feel the place you are describing! Amazing smile

  • Sylwia Presley on 25th July 2010:

    Really moving story!

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