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Tibetan Children’s Village Golden Jubilee

The 50th Anniversary ceremonies will last two days and many special guests will attend: His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Karmapa, officials of SOS Kinderdorf, Tibetan dignitaries, and other honored visitors.  There will be a traditional Tibetan opera, student performances in drama, singing, and dancing, and a track meet competition among TCV schools. The first TCV school was opened in 1960 by the elder sister of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile as a residence to house and educate 51 children of Tibetan refugees in India. Today 17,000 Tibetan children attend a dozen schools all over India. www.tcv.org.in/index.shtml.  The campus sites are often remote, with limited resources, libraries, and access to internet service. The eGranary in two TCV schools is part of a longstanding relationship between the Tibetan Children's Village and the American Embassy School (AES) in New Delhi, India. www.aes.ac.in/index.php?sec=3

The Entire eGranary India Team at the January Workshop

 
The eGranary Initiative is now a partnership of three institutions: UI Widernet, TCV, and AES. The Delhi faculty housed participants and hosted Cliff Missen and John Frediani for a 3-day Widernet workshop (Jan 14-17, 2009). Attending were 16 Tibetan teachers from two TCV home schools: Upper TCV Dharamsala and TCV Golpalpur. Twelve IBM desktop refurbished computers were donated to the TCV workshop by the AES Director. In an elementary computer lab, the workshop team built and wired a mini-LAN from the eGranary server and learned how to use the search engine to support their instruction. The goal was to network the existing TCV computer labs, and to pilot study stalls in HS libraries and teacher workrooms. The schools were also supplied with rolls of internet cable, connector clips/boxes, tools, and Nortel 24 channel hubs. From this workshop, a strong sense of partnership was built among teachers from both schools.

Phurbu Tsering, the HS librarian, helps students with the eGranary search engine.
 
Presently there are two TCV campuses with eG2 and LAN networks. The first 750 GB eGranary was put in Dharamsala; the second, helped by a grant from Intel, went to Gopalpur. This resulted in both schools establishing LANs and eGranary networking inside their campus to the computer labs, teacher workrooms, and libraries. In Dharamsala, Phurbu Tsering put the eGranary server and 4 IBM computers in the high school library. The speed and the content of the eGranary was so attractive to students and teachers, the administration decided to line the windows of the HS library with new computer stations. Sonam Wangdue, MS Headmaster and eGranary team leader, ordered 25 computers desks built. The location is stunning. Behind the library are the snow-capped peaks of the Daldahaur Range of the Himalayas; below are the farms and orchards of the Kangra Valley. This will be the library showcased for the 50th anniversary of TCV. Today Dharamsala has 155 computers on its network. "With the installation of the eGranary in Tibetan Children's Village School, Dharamsala's Senior and Middle Schools library, the library is always crowded during the break time, after school hours, and during the holidays. Our children love to spend their leisure time in the library which I believe is a positive sign in an educational institution like us," Mr. Wangdue stated.



 

At the TCV Golpalpur campus, 35 km east, its eGranary team has 82 computers on its network. Migmar Dorjee, the HS librarian, converted study carousels into computer stations and added more at a lower level. In the library (above) are part of the 40 refurbished IBM desktop computers (512M RAM 80G hard drive) with CAT monitor, keyboard and mouse. They were purchased from the AES Tech Dept and donated by 31 faculty and parents at the American Embassy School. Remaining funding came from TCV Science Fund contributors to “Ridin’ the RAGBRAI for TCV”. Each campus was also supplied with two 24 post hubs, more ethernet cable, a UPS backup system for the eGranary server, and a DILG wireless for their library.


 

Jigmet Mingur and Kunsang Phuntsok (above) wired the entire Golpalpur network. The eGranary server is in their office next to the computer lab. Both attended the January 2009 workshop with Cliff Missen at AES, and have used the Elluminate software to work with the tech support in the UI Widernet office. Golpalpur is the first campus with plans to use the Community Information Platform (CIP) on the eG2. Principal Phuntsok Tashi said, “TCV Gopalpur is located in a remote place and the Internet connection is quite slow sometimes. But with the introduction of the latest version of eGranary 2, our Staff and students have more useful resources and more opportunity as eG2 is available all the time. Students like to use eGranary more than before and it has made a sea of difference to our school. We are very much indebted to all the people concerned who made it possible."

In June 2010, a new eG2 hard drive was delivered to both campuses in Himachal Pradesh. Funding came from Katherine Barnett and the Rotary Int’l group in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia. East of Golpalpur there are two more TCV schools, Suja and Bir, where the campuses are growing with Tibetan refugee children in exile. There is new leadership at AES, Anna and Michael Citrino, who will continue the partnership with TCV that the two schools have shared since 1995. The eGranary Initiative with Widernet is part of that tradition and commitment.

Many people have given their time, their skills, their friendship, and their financial support to the present successes of the eGranary Initiative, and to each I express a heartfelt Tashi Delek. I also want to recognize AES Director Bob Hetzel and TCV Director Tenzing Sangpo for their vision and leadership, and to the responsive and helpful staff at the UI Widernet office. To all, Thukje-che, a Tibetan word for thank you.

Written by David Quegg, (UI grad.-MA Elem. Educ, 1976; MS Science Educ, 1998).
American Embassy School, New Delhi, INDIA. Elementary Science Specialist; grade 4/5 classroom teacher, 1998-2010.
For questions or more information, contact dquegg@aes.ac.in .