The Drukpa Trust is a UK-based charity established with the aim of raising funds for the provision of a school in Ladakh, India, providing education and training for young people and helping with school fees for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Druk Padma Karpo School began a phased launch in 2001, opening its doors to girls and boys of nursery age initially. Building continued over a 14-year period, with the opening of the Junior School and Middle School in 2004 and 2007 respectively.
This unique initiative was inspired by the Gyalwang Drukpa, Ladakh’s spiritual leader. You can learn more about the Gyalwang Drukpa in the PDF attachment to this post.
The Druk Padma Karpo School, known in English as the White Lotus School, is managed by the non-profit education society known as Druk Padma Karpo, with support from Drukpa Trust in the UK, Drukpa Humanitaire in France, Live to Love, and the Drukpa Charitable Foundation. The Craniosacral Therapy Educational Trust, established by Michael Kern is a regular supporter of Drukpa Trust.
Druk White Lotus School
Druk White Lotus School is in Shey, Ladakh’s ancient capital, with a second branch that opened in 2010 in Khachey. The school provides an education that both equips students to prosper in the modern world and gives them a firm grounding in their own local culture. Students work in three languages – the local language Bodhi, Hindi and English – as well as studying the creative arts, the sciences, social studies and sports.
Emphasis at Druk school is placed on teaching traditional Buddhist values, practice, philosophy and fellowship, demonstrating the value of Ladakh’s indigenous culture. All-round opportunities are present for both academic and vocational learning, with a child-centric educational approach. Teacher training is an ongoing programme at the school, with support in place for students and teachers.
The school is divided into four houses, titled Harmony, Courage, Unity and Wisdom. The name of the school, ‘Druk Padma Karpo’, comes from the revered scholar Mipham Pema Karpo, who lived from 1527 to 1592.
Support for Disadvantaged Children
With help from the underpinning charities, Druk White Lotus School can provide support for children from disadvantaged backgrounds who may otherwise have little or no access to educational opportunities. These include orphans and children whose families reside in remote rural locations. Children from low-income families may access a sponsorship scheme, while there are residential facilities for orphans and children travelling to school from remote areas to make education accessible to all.
There are currently approximately 950 students attending the Druk White Lotus School.
Healthcare and Sustainability
Along with educational programmes, the Druk White Lotus School provides students with on-site healthcare facilities and a grounding in health education. To promote sustainability, there are cottage gardens located in the school’s residential area. The school has won multiple sustainable design awards and accolades, which include three World Architecture Awards.
In addition, the Druk White Lotus Clinic, another initiative guided by the Gyalwang Drukpa, provides regular medical care to the local community of Druk Amitabha Mountain in Nepal and temporary clinics in Ladakh, which you can learn more about via the embedded short video.
The Druk White Lotus School seeks to address the challenges of maintaining respect for the indigenous culture while embracing a modern education. Many Ladhakis, recognising that education is vital for the creation of a viable future, want to educate their children to be able to earn a sustainable living and be adaptable to change without losing the benefits of their cultural heritage.