Samten Dakpa was born in the nomadic region of
Eastern Tibet known as Khampa. He was the seventh of nine children. There was no money
to send young Samdak (as he is known) to school so he herded goats, sheep and
yak all day. As a young boy waiting for the herd to finish grazing, he began
teaching himself to draw in the snow, dirt, mud or anywhere he could leave a
trace. By the time he was discovered creating ice sculptures and unique land
art in the frozen lakes, he was only a teen-ager.
Monks in the monastery wondered where he learned his high level of skill in Tangkha painting. Achieving such craftsmanship without pencils, paint or paper convinced them that he was a reincarnation of a great master.
At an early age he won regional competitions and was competing for commissions with masters twice his age. His journey out of Tibet into India, then to New York City, is a miracle that astounds people almost as much as the beautiful paintings, sculptures and architectural designs Samdak has created.
He is trying to give that blessing back to the children of the region he grew up in by building a community center through the Tibetan Bridge Foundation. As Executive Director, he hopes to bring a new level of understanding and awareness to the region and to the world regarding Tibetan education.
The Tibetan Bridge Foundation is a New York-based, non-profit organization created to address the current gap in education and cultural opportunity in rural Eastern Tibet for children ages 4 to 13. Due to financial and spatial limitations within the local public school system, these children do not have proper access to education. Roughly 40% of Tibetan children are not enrolled in school. Many other factors are creating this educational gap in Eastern Tibet as the region continues to open up to a large tourist population, Chinese modernization, and international influence. As a result, the driving need to give Tibetan children in this region access to education is ever-present.
The Tibetan Bridge Foundation is a non-political entity that intends to offset educational financial burdens and address long-term educational needs in two unique ways. First, the Foundation will build a community center in Eastern Tibet and second, it will develop a long-term specialized educational placement program that is non-denominational and internationally focused.
Both the school and placement program will create a foundation for an educated future workforce of Tibetan adults. The expectation is that the children who attend the school and participate in the placement program will acquire the tools and resources to develop into adults who can utilize their educations and create future opportunities for their families, communities, and villages. By doing so, they will be able help strengthen the region of Eastern Tibet from an educational and developmental perspective. It will also allow them to gain access to the greater world-at-large. A number of Chinese, foreigners, and foreign investment enterprises have already expressed interest in the Tibetan Bridge Foundation to help it realize its goals.
The theoretical underpinning of the school's philosophy is that an individual must be intrinsically motivated to succeed. Tibetan Bridge training for its staff is toward creating an atmosphere that enables its children to feel accepted and approved. The Tibetan Bridge means a connection for Tibetan children to the larger world.
Our children are nurtured as miracles of creation and supreme gifts to mankind. They are constantly reminded, by word and action, that they are special and unique and positive reinforcement is used for acceptable behavior. Children will also be encouraged to mentor one another informally and through a program of volunteer peer assistance.
The educational program of the Tibetan Bridge fosters holistic development on several levels- moral, spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional and psychosocial. This should prepare children, fueled by a positive sense of self, to brave the challenges ahead with the confidence of their ability to succeed. Tibetan Bridge is a community of students, teachers and parents united for academic excellence and personal fulfillment via an individual approach to education which serves the whole child.
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Tibetan Bridge was registered as a
"not for profit" corporation in New York in March 2009. We completed all the
necessary documentation for state income tax exemption and all papers for the
federal exemptions in June, 2008.
We are now able to accept both large and small donations.
All donations received after March 19, 2008 are tax deductible.
On February 10, 2009 we received the IRS approval as a 501 (c) (3) organization retroactive to March 19, 2008.
The IRS DLN is 17053176354008. Our IRS public charity status is 170 (b) (1) (A) (vi).
US public charity 501 (c) (3)
classification: 170 (b) (1) (A) (vi)
Federal Tax ID: 26-2132799
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