When Padma Shri Lama Thupten Phuntsok first gathered with five members of staff on October 30th 1998 on the lands next to the birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama he had in his care 17 children. Most of these children were orphaned.
Lama Thupten held a great vision to build a home and a school for the destitute, orphaned and handicapped children close to his own childhood district near Tawang town. This establishment has been known as Manjushree Vidyapith School
and Orphanage (MVSO) ever since. Starting from exceedingly humble beginnings and faced with many obstacles and hardships, he has, over the past 21 years, finally realised his dream of
building the current onsite school and home of Manjushree Vidapith MV).
He has achieved this with his growing number of staff and with the help of many well-wishers and donors from various locations around the world.
In the annexed North East region of India, previously Old Tibet, people consisting mostly of the Monpa tribe lived and led a nomadic lifestyle herding yak and carrying goods to and from Tibet.
Many others lived off subsistence farming which continues to this day. With the border demarcation change in 1912, called the McMahon line, the new border which is currently the effective boundary between Tibet (China) and India, tribal people were forced to alter their ancient lifestyle. The very fabric of their society began to crumble as they were forced to settle and work building the roads in harsh weather conditions. Life expectancy declined and children became parentless or destitute. Lama Thupten Phuntsok, as a young monk and secondary school teacher who had been born in the region of Tawang wished to do something to help these children and so he founded a school and home in 1998.
The School in 2020
There are 295 children from nursery to third level education receiving support to better their life circumstances.They are being provided with free education, shelter, clothing and food at Manjushree. 215 of these pupils currently live and attend Manjushree Vidyapith School campus whilst others are attending various colleges and institutions elsewhere, all supported by Manjushree Vidyapith School.
Lama Thupten Phuntsok’s vision of Manjushree Vidyapith is:
To provide a home and a close-knit loving family for orphans, disabled or destitute children of the Tawang district.
To provide a modern education and sound values.
To inspire young people to act with a good heart, to become leaders in their communities, and to help bring peace to the world.
The vision is best reflected by reading MV’s mission statement which reads as follows:
‘We care for and educate needy children from a vast area of North East Himalaya region. Our focus is on the upliftment and protection of girls and differently abled children. We place great emphasis on human kindness, compassion and love with a hope to inspire young people to act with a good heart, to become leaders in their communities and to help bring peace to the world’.