Rinchen Zangpo Society
For Spiti Development
The Rinchen Zangpo Society for Spiti Development provides a combination of modern and traditional education to young people from Spiti and other underdeveloped tribal areas in the Indian Himalaya. It now has more than 850 young people of all ages, kindergarten to college-goers, either directly in its care or under its supervision and receiving its financial support. Educational activities take place on nine sites, eight inside and one of them outside Spiti. The latter is in Sidbhari near Dharamsala, seat in exile of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The school age population of Spiti Valley is approximately three thousand.
Credit for the success of the Rinchen Zangpo Society for Spiti Development largely goes to the dedicated efforts of the founder and present general secretary, Tashi Namgyal. He was born in 1964 in Morang, a tiny, seven-house, subsistence-farming village in Upper Spiti, famous for the purity of its spring water. He entered Key Monastery at an early age and completed his advanced studies in Buddhist philosophy at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in Dharamsala. His main inspiration in beginning the Rinchen Zangpo Society came from educational programs such as the Tibetan Children's Village Organization, successfully set up by the Tibetans living in exile in India to save their culture and, in particular, the work of Ven. Lobsang Gyatso, founding father of the Tibetan-exile Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in Dharamsala. In 2009 Tashi Namgyal received the USA Unsung Heroes of Compassion award, presented by HH the Dalai Lama.