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Written By:  KSAA    |   Published Date:  18-Jan-2013

President's A Post Convention Note

 I am pleased that the 2nd Convention of the Khumjung School Alumni Association was very successful. Venerable Tengboche Rinpoche was our guest of honor. I was a little worried that due to his age, coming to such a program early on a cold winter morning might be too much. But Rinpoche was very keen to be there, arrived exactly on time dressed in warm robes, and inaugurated the program by performing auspicious serkyim rites. During the program, he paid full attention to the presentations and discussions and participated enthusiastically as always.


I was also pleased that the majority of the Life Members currently in Nepal attended the event. Life Members are the pillars of our organization. Unfortunately, not many of the younger graduates who must drive the KSAA in the future attended. The majority of the participants were older graduates, and our concerns naturally fall on cultural change. Rinpoche remarked, ‘When a bird matures, it desires a nest. When a person matures, he desires culture and religion’ (chha gawa galsin chhang tren, mi gawa galsin cho tren). That seems to ring true in this case.


KSAA did not go for high profile guests at the event. Instead, we invited people who share a genuine interest in our organization and can lend their cooperation and support. This year’s guests were Mr. Pasang Sherpa, a former Khumjung School teacher; Mr. Duryodhan Karki, the former Border Administrator from Namche, who helped extensively when we were setting up the KSAA; Mr. Nima Lama and Mr. Lhakpa Tenji Lama from Mountain Spirit, the organization that the KSAA shares an office and staff with; Mr. Sambu Bastola, teacher and representative of Khumjung School; Mr. Sonam Gyalzen Sherpa, Chairperson of the Buffer Zone; and Mr. Ang Dorji Sherpa, Chairperson of the SPCC. I am very happy that they made the time to attend.


It is very important that the KSAA promote dialogue on relevant issues in Khumbu. The Convention included a series of presentations: one on Khumbu tourism by Mr. Lhakpa Tenji Lama, Khumbu's market economy by Mr. Sonam Dorji, and I also spoke on mother tongue and education linkage. The gist of my presentation was that our mother tongue is important because it is linked with national politics, our identity, culture and most importantly, education.

In his final remarks, Rinpoche spoke about Buddhism and the culture of Khumbu. All of the presentations were well prepared and of very high standard. However, I am a little disappointed that with the exception of Rinpoche, not many of the presenters incorporated Sherpa language into their presentations.


From this year onward, the KSAA decided to honor members who have made notable contributions to the advancement of Khumbu. Many possible candidates came to mind, but this year's appreciation went to: Mr. Ang Tshering of Asian Trekking for his contributions to trekking and mountaineering; Dr. Kami Temba for contribution to health services; Mr. Phinjo Sherpa for his initiatives in social development; and Ms. Phurba Sona for her dedication in helping set up the KSAA. We look forward to honoring many more members in years to come. KSAA also honored the Venerable Rinpoche for his unfailing leadership and contributions to Sherpa culture and language.  

The KSAA also distributes the Shyam Krishna Pradhan Memorial Award each year. This year, the three recipients were Mr. Sabin Ban from Janakalyan High School, Ms. Anupama Ghimire from White Hills Boarding School and Ms. Ngima Kanchhi Shrestha from Khumjung High School. We congratulate them and wish them all the best for the future.

The afternoon session was the Annual General Meeting. We presented a detailed financial report, activities for the coming year and reformed of the executive committee. The current executive committee is completing their two-year term. Instead of changing the whole set, we have decided to rotate off up to 40% of the committee members each term. Mr. Pasang Tshering and Mr. Dawa Finjo completed their terms and Mr. Ang Temba from Khunde and Ms. Pemba Yangji from Khumjung have joined the executive committee.  I would like to thank the outgoing committee members for their willingness to contribute despite their other commitments and wish them well. I also welcome the new committee members.


For our members living overseas, we worked hard to webcast the event, which worked surprisingly well. Attempting live streaming was a last-minute decision, so we couldn’t inform everybody in advance. Thanks go to Sajilo IT and Mr. Mingma Gyalzen for technical support.


As the President, it is my duty to make sure the KSAA is financially sustainable. Over the last 18 months, I approached many friends and asked them to become Life Members. The overwhelming majority understood our goals and joined. We managed to raise nearly Rs. 22, 00,000 from membership fees, donations and books sales. The expenditure from the same period was only Rs. 6, 00,000, giving us a current balance of Rs. 16, 00,000. I hope we will continue to receive support from our members.


To help generate funds, we had a book stall with three books relevant to Sherpa culture and   education at the Convention. The Golden Jubilee publication, the Sherwi Tshig-mzdo Chenmo (The Great Sherpa Dictionary) prepared by Lopon Gyurme Chodrak under the supervision of Tengboche Rinpoche, and my own 'Through a Sherpa Window' guide to Sherpa culture. These were sold at discounted rates with proceeds going to the KSAA. Only a few copies were sold. It seems buying books is still a fashion that needs to be promoted in the Sherpa community.


You might ask why start KSAA when there are so many other NGOs? KSAA members represent all three Khumbu VDCs. Our members are leaders in all kinds of fields, especially at the local level in Khumbu. It is my belief that by uniting the former students of Khumjung School, we can work together to make a difference in ensuring cultural integrity, environmental sustainability, good governance and social justice. While we continue to have a special relationship with Khumjung School, I want to make it clear that the Association has a much broader mandate that expand beyond Khumjung. I hope many more members will join us in this mission. I want to borrow from John F. Kennedy's famous saying; in our case, "Ask not what the Association can do for you, but what you can do for the Association, our region, our culture and our society."


As he departed the convention venue, Venerable Rinpoche said to me, "You have to keep this kind of interaction going, because this will ultimately lead to advancement of our culture and spirituality." So let's work together to achieve the KSAA's goals. Please support us in every way you can.

Tashi Deleg !

Lhakpa Norbu Sherpa