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About Us

Our Supporters

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Friends of Manjushree Vidypapith School and Orphanage (FMVSO)

Friends of Manjushree Vidypapith School and Orphanage (FMVSO), is a UK based charity with one mission. To support the school and children in the area of Manjshree Vidyapith

All charity activities and expenses are covered by our volunteers. 100% of supporters donations reach Manjshree Vidyapith School

Origin of FMVSO

In September 2005, a small group from UK travelled to the ‘Land of the Dawn-Lit Mountains’ – the state of Arunachal Pradesh in the Himalayas of North-East India, east of Bhutan and north of Assam. The region had been closed to tourism until the previous year due to a boundary dispute between China and India over ownership of the region.  

The visit was organised by a meditation teacher (John Crook) and some of the group were his students, including David Brown.  Others, including Diana Gallagher, had joined the expedition to learn more of the people and cultures of the high Himalayas.  The group was led by James Crowden, an author from Somerset (and also a student of John Crook) who has travelled widely in India.  The focus of the visit was the Tawang monastery, a magnificent large training centre for monks. It was to Tawang monastery that the Dalai Lama fled in 1959 after the Chinese army invaded Tibet.

The travellers witnessed first-hand the poverty and deprivation and the struggle for survival of the people of the region, principally of the Monpa tribe, who are more Tibetan than Indian in their culture and traditions.   

By chance the travellers stumbled upon the Manjushree Vidyapith School and Orphanage. They were captivated by the people, the culture and the Tawang valley, and they were very impressed with Lama Thupten Phuntsok, the founder and principal.  Deeply moved by what they witnessed at the Orphanage, the whole group decided they should do what they could to help, and pledged their support to Lama Thupten Phuntsok.
In February 2006, the charity ‘Friends of Manjushree Vidyapith School and Orphanage’ was founded and registered with the Charity Commission of UK.  Since Di set up the charity in 2006, at least one Trustee has visited the orphanage every year.  In 2007 Grainne Purkis (Ní Fhoighil) joined David and Di as Trustees and, more recently, Dr Michael Motskin has become a trustee. Many of the original group of travellers continue to give their support through FMVSO.

For many years FMVSO has been the backbone of support for Manjushree Vidyapith but recently we have been delighted to welcome the other supporters listed on the Our Supporters page. Magnificent progress has been made but much remains to do, especially towards upgrading education for the children.

Our Team


Lama Thupten Phuntsok.

Head Teacher and founder

He was born and raised in a village in the Tawang Valley. He went to South India at a very young age, travelling alone, to begin training as a monk. After completing his training, in 1998 he was donated some land on which to establish a home for destitute children. He has grown Manjushree Vidyapith from very humble beginnings with a handful of students into today’s home for over 200 children


Dr. David Brown

Trustee, Co-founder & Chair of FMVSO

Co-founded FMVSO with Diana Gallagher in 2006, and has chaired the charity since that time. He visits the orphanage regularly. By profession he is a medical researcher with a long career inventing new medicines. He has had a deep interest in Buddhist meditation since his student days and has studied and practiced Tibetan methods as well as Japanese Zen, Chinese Cha’an, and South Asian Theravadin.


Gráinne Ní Fhoighil


Gráinne has been a trustee member since 2007. She is an experienced teacher in the Sciences, a mindfulness meditation and Kundalini yoga teacher. Her main focus as a trustee is centred on child protection, education and well-being of children and staff at Manjushree Vidyapith.

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Diana Gallagher

Co-founder and Former Trustee FMVSO

Training as an administrative and communications Officer in the Royal Navy equipped Di to set up and run FMVSO. Being a mother, grandmother and auntie to many prepared Di to be Mama to the children of Manjushree.


Michael Motskin


Michael joined as Trustee in 2019 to support the website and communication of FMVSO. He has a background in science, digital strategy and marketing. Michael also has passion for mindfulness, especially for movement meditation.

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Rosie Heath

Medical adviser

Rosie is just getting to know the Manjushree family. She has worked in family medicine in the UK for 30 years and enjoyed both spiritual and physical adventures in the Himalayas, Nepal India and Bhutan. She hopes to help the Manjushree Family with their new medical clinic to improve the health of the children.


Róisín Purkis

Community Manager 

Róisín has been welcomed by the Manjushree family from a young age as her mother Gráinne has spent many years as a trustee. Now a trained architect, Róisín helps with FMVSO's online presence and digital media while being in close contact with the young staff working in Manjushree.

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