This is the sixth post of 7 about our visit to India in 2019.

In Gangtok we stayed at the Bamboo Grove Retreat, which we used in 2017. It is quite close to MG Marg, the main street, but maybe 150 metres higher. The distance by road is some way, but it is possible to take a shortcut via precipitous steps which means it is less than 10 minutes on foot.

Here we said goodbye to Sangdup, who has responsibilities essential to the childrens’ education at DGH. At start of term he has to organise them getting together at Jorethang. Some of the children travel some distance to get there, so timing is fraught. Then they hire two jeeps and travel to Kalimpong. At the end of each term – the reverse. He is also the first point of contact if DGH has a problem with a pupil, and he looks after various of their needs.

So our thanks indeed to Sangdup.

The next day, by now the 21 October, we caught up with the students at the Baker’s Café on MG Marg.

Magi would have first met these young people in 2004, 15 years previously.

The Hindu festival of Diwali was coming up on Sunday 27 October. Sikkim, although essentially Buddhist, celebrates this like everywhere else. Several students had come back to their families for the holiday, travelling locally to Gangtok to meet up with us.

These students all want to help support their families and communities once they start earning, but they are also keen to help other younger students. So Rha said he would talk to Hissey about tutoring options for the IAS exam. Nimphuti will help Miksim apply for a government grant to attend nursing college.

Nedup has finished his undergraduate studies in Gangtok and wants to do a Masters. Nimphuti has finished a three-year course in General Nursing and Midwifery in Bengaluru, and wants to go on to do a BSc. Leemit’s course is in Mass Media. Dichhen is in his last year studying Sociology at Namchi College. Whilst Rha Tschering is now in a Master’s Course in marketing at St Xaviers college in Kolkata. We were also hoping to meet Kinzangkit, but she had to go back to Kolkata.

After a late lunch together at The Dragon Wok, we said our goodbyes outside the Bamboo Grove. In the evening we were invited to visit Loden Lepcha’s home in Gangtok. Loden was the director of a small school Mayel Lyang Academy in Dzongu, near Sangdup’s homestay, which was also supported by the Trusts before it shut because of a problem with building instability. Miksim, for example, was educated there before she moved to Dr Graham’s. It was good to see Loden and his wife Nimkit again – they gave us a great supper with the family.

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The Children of Sikkim exists to support the education of disadvantaged children from Sikkim, in the Himalaya, NE India.

We are a UK registered charity which helps such children to be educated in Sikkim and elsewhere in India, from primary school through to college or university.

We give a child continuity of support so as to allow them to achieve their potential.

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