Chhiring Lama grew up in Humla, a very rural area of Nepal where much of the population is illiterate. Chhiring’s mother was a farmer and a health worker and her Dad sadly passed away when she was seven years old. Chhirings schooling was actually paid for by a former Pestalozzi alumnus who wanted to pass on the opportunity of receiving an education.
Chhiring is currently studying at Smith College in Massachusetts and working on campus as a House Community Adviser, organising social justice programmes, wellness programmes and community building projects.
‘The most important value I learnt at Pestalozzi was learning to be grateful for what I have. In Pestalozzi there are fundraising events and community events. It’s a constant reminder and encouragement for us to give back. Pestalozzi nurtured that feeling and made it at the front and centre of what I wanted to do. Coming from a poorer family in a rural area, I had a sense of responsibility for what I wanted to do to help back home and coming to Pestalozzi made that possible. Living with people from other countries opened me up to the other levels and I became more accepting and less judgemental. I would also never have known about things like SFT back home’.
Chhiring is currently in Copenhagen for a semester abroad, learning more about public health and also studying Danish. She is aiming to then undertake research work as an assistant in Mammography.
This summer she went back home and secured an internship with the Group for Technical Assistance, which helped her to seek out new connections and also gave her the chance to meet with a number of government officials.
Before attending Smith, Chhiring returned to Nepal for a gap year and had an internship with an INGO called Adara Development, which focused on public health work and funding education in Humla – this eventually became a paid job for her, because of her impact within the organisation.
‘Pestalozzi has been crucial to where I am right now. I always had dreams and aspirations but without Pestalozzi I wouldn’t be at Smith because I wouldn’t have known Smith existed. The experiences I had at Pestalozzi were so valuable. You wouldn’t get it anywhere else. People are so motivated and want to do good things and are already doing such good things. Every time I meet somebody from Pestalozzi I feel so inspired. It gave me so much, the education it funded, the friends I made, the support during and afterwards. I would want that to be part of somebody else’s life too.’
In the future Chhiring hopes to work in public health, a field which I know will benefit hugely from her empathy, compassionate nature and ability to make everyone around her laugh and feel at ease. I feel really grateful that I had the chance to meet Chhiring and high hopes for what the next few years may have in store for her.