'3 Idiots' school opens its doors to homeless, orphans

"Many children have become orphans because of the cloudburst. Not only orphans but also homeless. Homeless parents can't take care of their children, so we will take them to our school where they will be taught and fed," Jampal Paul Thong, Chairman, Live to Love, Ladakh Disaster Relief Committee, the humanitarian arm of the Drukpa Buddhism sect told PTI.

The school is run by the Drukpa Buddhism sect. The organisation is looking for sponsors to help such children especially those "who can sponsor them until they graduate."

Even though the school was hit by the flash floods on the intervening night of August 5 and 6, the structure remained intact.

"Of course, all the doors and widows have been damaged but the structure is still there," Thong said.

The school has won numerous awards for its architecture, including the best green architecture award, the most environment-friendly building and also the best architecture design award.

"We are going to share our expertise and knowledge about the architecture. We cannot change the climate but we can educate the people about making such structures," he said, adding "this kind of things (cloudburst) may happen again, so we need to change the structure of the houses."

According to estimates, over 10,000 houses have been damaged and over 200 lives have been lost due to the cloudburst.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who visited here earlier this week, had said the priority would be to build new houses before the onset of winter.

The chief of the Drukpa sect, 12th Gyalwang Druk Chen has already announced Rs 50 lakh for the relief and rehabilitation work in the district.

At present about 700 children study in the school, set up 10 years ago, that includes 175 hostelers.

At present the school has an upper limit of class VIII, but the school management plans to increase it by one class each year.

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