• What are your values and action principles?
Our action is based on:
1 - Volunteer participation by a number of AaZ members willing to implicate themselves pro bono. This puts a human face on the association thanks to many personal exchanges with the people of Zanskar. It also accounts for low overhead costs.
2 - Transparency : AaZ members are kept well informed : at the annual assembly, with reports of visits to the school in Zanskar, with a comprehensive and abundantly illustrated newsletter published twice a year.
3 – Close contact with the people of Zanskar thanks to multiple-week visits by two designated senior AaZ members, plus visits by a number of other members at their own expense.
• Do you cooperate with other associations ?
AaZ operates in Italy, Switzerland, North America and other English-speaking countries through its sister organizations AaZ Onlus, AaZ CH and AaZ US respectively.
SPONSORSHIP - GIFTING
• What is the difference between sponsoring the school and sponsoring a child?
Sponsoring the school contributes to operational expenses such as building maintenance, school supplies, and equipment such as computers, etc.
• What about sponsoring a child ?
It allows a specific child to attend the school, hopefully for 12 years, from pre-kindergarten through 10th grade, from ages 4 to 16.
• What happens if one stops sponsoring a child ?
The financial burden is typically assumed by a new sponsor found by AaZ. Otherwise the school sponsorship fund kicks-in so that the child continues his/her studies un-interrupted.
• How do we know that our money is being put to good use ?
Each year at least one, generally two senior members of AaZ spend time at the school to audit the finances and its ongoing operations, to review individual projects and to suggest new goals to the school Managing Committee. A Summer Report is sent to all the members.
• How does the school operate ?
The school is registered as an LMHS (Lamdon Model High School) Indian association. It is overseen by a Chairman and a pro bono Managing Committee of three Zanskaris. The school staff includes a Principal, a Vice-Principal, 18 teachers and 5 non-teaching staff. It is open from early March through end of October, 6 days a week.
• What is the girl to boy ratio?
The percentage of girls is monitored closely. It has grown consistently since the school foundation in 1988. It now hovers around 47 % , close to its stated objective of 50 %.
• How are the sponsored children selected ?
Because of its good reputation, the school receives about 100 applications each year but can only accomodate 30. The school management selects the applicants based on a lottery system which also takes into account gender, distance to the school, and financial standing of the family.
• How many students and classes?
There are 12 grades, from pre-kindergarten to 10th grade, for a total of approximately 300 students.
• After 10th grade how does a student continue his/her studies?
If the student passes the 10th grade exams, he/she can pursue his/her studies in another college, most often outside Zanskar. But AAZ's sponsorship stops after 10th grade. However the sponsor can, and often does, continue to help their child with direct financial support through grades 11 and 12 and beyond.
• How will I communicate with my student?
Through AaZ or directly through e-mail at the school. Many upper class students own a state-subsidized telephone and a Facebook account. Each year AaZ forwards a photo-portrait of the student with a letter hand-written by the student to his/her sponsor. Regular mail to the student is not recommended since it can take 4 to 5 months, if it arrives at all.
• Can I visit my student in Zanskar?
Certainly ! Parents and teachers warmly welcome sponsors each summer. Expect to return enchanted by their thankfulness and warmth.