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A Trip to a Village in Tibet Galvanized Her Passion for Girls’ Education

shamo_thar_by_jampa.jpg

In the summer of 2009, Shamo Thar’s trip to Mukbo village, a remote herding community of 750 nomads, changed her life. She was told that the enrollment rate for school-aged children at that time was 2%. No girl in Mukbo had ever completed primary education due to limited financial resources for schooling and labor shortage for herding. Only five out of 750 young men were educated at university level. Shamo was shocked, despondent, and felt utterly helpless when the villagers brought her around 20 girls and asked for help with their schooling. Shamo was speechless. She looked into the eyes of those girls and was deeply moved by their innocence and encouraged by their thirst for education. Although Shamo could not do anything at that time but take pictures of the girls in silence, she secretly promised herself that she would come back to the village. She left the village with a conviction in her heart that she had to do something to help those girls.

The promise she kept within her grew into a strong sense of obligation to help the girls in Mukbo village. Shamo started searching for help from her friends everywhere and, finally, along with some friends in Beijing, China, she established a fellowship to allow girls in Mukbo to start their schooling. Since then, the program has expanded from only one village to 37 villages in rural Tibet, financially benefiting 150 girls for multiple years of schooling. “For the past few years, I have witnessed many girls growing from little girls to teenagers, and none of them have dropped from schools,” Shamo says.
After the Girls Fellowship Program, school enrollment rate increased from 2% to 85% that is an outstanding achievement.

Shamo’s advocacy for girl’s education comes from her heartfelt promise, made when she felt desperate eyes on her. That promise became a deep responsibility as a Tibetan woman, born and raised in the region, and as a “trained development practitioner,” as she calls herself. That sense of responsibility became a vigorous passion because Shamo believes that quality education for girls can bring multi-dimensional changes in communities.

Moreover, she believes that “The heart of the development lies at education and the goal of the education is to train younger generations with skills, knowledge, attitude they need to excel in their own future profession,” and to continuously bring positive changes to their communities. This will create a positive cycle of change in the society.

The Girls Fellowship Program was the starting point for the Pentok Insitution--Pentok means benefit or help in the Tibetan language--a grass-roots non-profit organization that works to deliver leadership and empower Tibetan women and girls through education, especially in low-income rural communities. Furthermore, Pentok Institution bases its action “on the conviction that education is the foundation for change and envisions a world where every girl and woman has equal education opportunities.” (Pentok.org)

Being a female managing director at Pentok Institution is challenging in the context of Tibet, where, historically, there have been almost no female leaders because society is constructed as patriarchal system. Running a non-profit organization in an area where everything is under the control of the monopolistic Chinese government is an exceptionally demanding process too. Non-profit organizations must repeatedly explain to the government what the organization is, its purpose, and how it gets money so forth. Not only is an organization’s motivation inspected, but every step of its work is under constant investigation. Moreover, it is a challenge to sustain the organization financially in order to provide high-quality services for girls and it takes time to keep its sustainability. Also, as young organization, she mentions that it is always very difficult to train and keep staff especially at the managerial level.

However, Shamo, as the inspirational founder of Pentok Institution, challenged all these barriers with her confidence, passion, persistence, and commitment. With her patience, she has earned trust and built partnership between governments, donors, and Tibetan villagers. That is what has enabled Pentok to go this far to impact the lives of hundreds of thousands Tibetan women and girls today.

Shamo says that she owes a great debt of gratitude to those who have offered support for so long to make Pentok run successfully and continuously. “The work of Pentok can never be achieved by me without the authentic supports from staff, Tibetan girls, Volunteers, consultant, teachers, government, donors and entrepreneurs” she confirms. In addition, she firmly believes that cooperation is the most important quality of one’s work and trust is the primary foundation that keeps the work successful and sustainable. “Now when I look at the partnerships, we have it is like a web in the map, across many countries,” she exclaims enthusiastically.

Finally, success means differently to different people in fact. Shamo thinks that passion she has with her work should be considered as a success. “You can only do great things when you love what you do,” Shamo states full of confidence.
She ends by emphasizing, “You can do anything if you are committed enough and work hard enough.”

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future a program of World Pulse that provides rigorous digital media and citizen journalism training for grassroots women leaders. World Pulse lifts and unites the voices of women from some of the most unheard regions of the world.

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Comments

Greengirl's picture

A Real Educationist!

Shamo is a real educationist who has given so much to turn around the lives of girls in Mukbo village for good. To imagine that 150 girls are benefiting from multiple years of schooling under her scholarship scheme,wow, that is a very significant percentage of the entire community!

She has given a new lease of life to and also opened windows and doors of opportunities for the girls. Their community and the world be definitely be better off for it.

I am hopeful that Shamo's work will continue to enjoy the much needed support it deserves. You did well to have profiled her in such an inspirational manner. I enjoyed reading her Profile.

Well done Jampa!
Greengirl

jampa's picture

Thank you so much Greengirl

It's always grateful to have you read and comment my post dear Greengirl. Even if my module 1 assignment posted a bit, it feels so amazing to get your feedback. I am so glad that you enjoyed Shamo's Profile. Yeah, exactly, she is a real educationist who saves lives of Tibetan women and girls in rural communities.
Thank you,
Cheers,
Jampa

pelamutunzi's picture

shamo inspires me

this profile has confirmed what I already know. educating girls and women is important to solve many problems in the world today. it takes humility and love to do great things and shamo is an embodiment of both.
and yes I agree passion counts as success.
you go girl loved this and thank for the great story

we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.
regards
pela

jampa's picture

With you Pela

Dear Pela, thank you so much for the comment.
I like what you say, "we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest." Totally agreed with you, let's go for it and have faith that we can make changes, changes that we could ever imagine.
Love,
Jampa

olutosin's picture

She is my passionate friend....

Oh Sharmo is a great woman, she is my personal friend and her smile is contagious.......I love her so much

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

jampa's picture

wow, so nice Olutosin

Dear Olutosin,
I am so happy to hear that she is your friend and you know her very well.
You must feel the same way as i do about her courage and her passion about Girl's education.
Thank you,
Love,
Jampa

Nakinti's picture

I am inspired by this lady Shamo!

Wao! Jampa you picked an iconic figure.
Shamo has done some significant contribution to the lives of Tibetan girls.
I wish there were many Shamos in the World to reach all the needy girls in all little corners of the world.
Well done Jampa darling.
Kudos to Shamo for work well done.
I am pleased.

Nakinti B. Nofuru
2013 VOF Correspondent
Reporter for Global Press Institute
Bamenda - Cameroon
Email: nakinti@globalpressinstitute.org
nakintin@yahoo.com

jampa's picture

Love to Nakinti

Dear Nakinti,
Thank you. Yeah, exactly, we need many Shamos in this world to bring changes to women and girls' lives in "corners of the world."
Let's go for NEEDY CHANGES and make all possibilities.
Cheers,
Jampa

Vweta's picture

I am deeply inspired by

I am deeply inspired by Shamos work, her relentlessness in providing linkages, resources and education for girls.

“You can do anything if you are committed enough and work hard enough.” i believe this too.

Our Voices make the WORLD PULSate...
Vweta.

jampa's picture

Thank you Vweta

Dear Vweta,
Your comment and your acknowledgement for Shamo's work are highly appreciated. Thank you very much once again.
I would like to learn more about you and your on the site below, the socialwork4action, sounds very interesting. I am going to learn more.
All the best,
Jampa

libudsuroy's picture

Dear Jampa, It takes a woman

Dear Jampa,
It takes a woman of stern stuff to hurdle all the challenges that Shamo had to face, and yet she succeeded and continues to inspire others!
Great work, Jampa. I look forward to reading more from you.

Blessings,
libudsuroy/Lina Sagaral Reyes
Mindanao, The Philippines

''Every Day is a Journey and the Journey itself is Home.'' (Matsuo Basho)

Thank you dear for reading my post. Yeah, exactly, you are right. It takes " a woman of stern stuff to hurdle all the challenges," to make the changes as Shamo did.
Love,
Jampa

Iryna's picture

A hero

Taking into account political and economical situation in Tibet, Shamo is a hero!
She is right, feeling happy and satisfied with the work you do is a part of happiness.

Your writing is light and emotional, Jampa, it touched me!

Greetings from Ukraine,
Iryna

jampa's picture

Dear Lryna

Thank you so much for stopping by my journal and your comment is really appreciated.
You are right, Shamo is a hero who challenges all barriers to make great possibilities in lives of Tibetan women and girls.
Thank you dear,
Love,
Jampa

Maura Bogue's picture

Great Job!

Congratulations on completing your first assignment! Really great work! You did a great job at focusing on one aspect of Shamo's life. That makes the story very readable.

Next time, try adding more quotes. They add to the story's authenticity and sense of humanity.

Good job!

Best,
Maura

jampa's picture

Thank you Maura

Dear Maura,
Thank you so much for the comment and your suggestion.
I will surely keep your suggestion in mind your and quote more to make the piece stronger in next writings.
Warmest greetings,
Love,
Jampa

emillam's picture

Story of Shamo

Your words are so compelling, heartfelt, and wonderful! I love the story of Shamo and what she has done for young girls to ensure they have a voice for their future and solid education. They way you have described Shamo, her passion, her love of what she does and how she does it is powerful! You have written your story like a professional! COngratulations! Elaine

Elaine R. Millam

jampa's picture

Hey Elaine

Thank you so much for your nice comment and your recognition of Shamo's work.
Lots of blessings to you,
thank you once again,
Love,
Jampa

Zoepiliafas's picture

Inspiring

Jampa,

The beginning of the piece really invests the reader emotionally and offers hope by showing the progression of a dream into reality.

You also ended very strong! "You can only do great things when you love what you do,” Shamo states full of confidence.
She ends by emphasizing, “You can do anything if you are committed enough and work hard enough.” - this supports the reader in wanting to take action.

I wonder if you can provide a link to her nonprofit, the event that someone that reads this may want to get involved or provide funding in some way.

Thank you for your work!

Zoe

Zoe Piliafas

Voices of Our Future Community Manager
World Pulse

jampa's picture

Yes yes....

Dear Zoe,
Thank you so much for your comments. I am too glad that you fiind Shamo's work is inspiring. Of course, I can share the link where you can go to learn about Pentok nonprofit and Shamo's work. I hope there will be more people can recognize Her work and achivement so that other people can also be part of such amazing work to improve of lives of Tibetan women and girls.

http://www.pentok.org/

http://cn.linkedin.com/groups/Pentok-Institute-4757702

http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNTI5OTQ0NDg0.html

Thank you,
Love,
Jampa

Y's picture

What a wise woman you have

What a wise woman you have profiled. Shamo obviously understands that one must begin with a mission and a plan that draws a community of support in order to succeed. "Shamo says that she owes a great debt of gratitude to those who have offered support for so long to make Pentok run successfully and continuously. “The work of Pentok can never be achieved by me without the authentic supports from staff, Tibetan girls, Volunteers, consultant, teachers, government, donors and entrepreneurs” she confirms. In addition, she firmly believes that cooperation is the most important quality of one’s work and trust is the primary foundation that keeps the work successful and sustainable. “Now when I look at the partnerships, we have it is like a web in the map, across many countries,” she exclaims enthusiastically."

Bravo to her and to you, Jampa, for telling her success story.
Blessings.
Yvette

Yvette

jampa's picture

Dear Y

Thank you so much dear Y for comment. Indeed, i chose one of the most inspirational women to profile. I admire her courage; i am impressed by her contribution to Tibetan girls; i am encouraged by her leadership; and i am motivated to go for doing what's in mind and making effort on it.
Best wishes,
Love,
Jampa

MariaAle's picture

Grattitude and Hope!

I want to thank you because reading your story my heart has filled with hope and love. Human being like you, inspire us to put our heart there and serving other people in need. That's how we can change the world!
Amazing work to change these girls life, empower them and at the same time their families will be benefit.
Grattitude to you!
Best,
Ale

Maria Alejandra Alcaraz

jampa's picture

Hey Friend

Thanks for dropping by and read my journal.
Your support and comment mean to keep me sharing the story of amazing women like Shamo.
All the best,
Jampa

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