Sakyong Mipham’s father Chögyam Trungpa was the head abbot of Surmang Dutsi Til, a monastery in eastern Tibet. When the Chinese Communist party took control in 1959, he was forced to flee the country and Surmang was largely destroyed.

In 2001, Sakyong Mipham visited and pledged his support for Surmang. In a special ceremony, he was formally entrusted with responsibility for the monasteries and their people. Following this visit, he established the Konchok Foundation – named in honor of his mother, Lady Konchok Palden.

The mission of the Konchok Foundation is to help meet the spiritual, cultural, educational and humanitarian needs of the Tibetan people in Surmang and elsewhere in the Kham and Golok regions of Tibet. The Foundation is sponsoring the construction and operation of a Shedra (or monastic college) at Surmang and has been running a children’s school at several sites in the Surmang valley since the Fall of 2010.

The main focus of Konchok Foundation’s work is presently to complete the interior of the Shedra and to support the educational program for the children of Surmang. At present there are nearly three hundred children, both lay children and apprentice monks, studying Tibetan language, both reading and writing as well as arithmetic. The older children are also studying Chinese and English.