2018/08: Travel report by Trudi Vetsch

First steps towards independence!

Dipling, the most remo­te vil­la­ge in the Sin­ge La area

All six vil­la­ges in the La Sen­ge area are part of the edu­ca­ti­on project

The La Sen­ge dis­trict inclu­des six vil­la­ges. Around 950 peop­le live in this dis­trict. In August 2018, the two muni­ci­pa­li­ties Lings­hed and Dipling joi­ned the pro­ject. In the com­ing year, a total of 146 women will be par­ti­ci­pa­ting in the project.

And they all have a com­mon wish: to be able to read and wri­te Bho­ti, the Ladakh lan­guage. Ladak­hish is writ­ten in Tibe­tan. The Bho­ti writ­ten lan­guage is simi­lar to clas­si­cal Tibe­tan and is thus con­s­i­der­ab­ly dif­fe­rent from col­lo­qui­al language.

The pray­er books are writ­ten in Bhoti.


In the win­ter half-year 2018, the vil­la­ge women have been busy knit­ting socks and caps in the new han­di­crafts room. The various pro­duc­tion steps are split up depen­ding on age and abilities.

Socks knit using typi­cal Ladakh patterns

On their own initia­ti­ve, the women purcha­sed tools in Leh such as, for examp­le, manu­al teasels or manu­al spind­les. They paid for them using the net pro­fit gai­ned from pro­ducts they had sold.

The pro­gress in the use of the English lan­guage is impres­si­ve! In the cour­se of two mon­ths in win­ter an hour of English and the Ladakhi Bho­ti lan­guage was taught dai­ly. The women can now read and wri­te simp­le sen­ten­ces in English. They read the Ladakhi lan­guage fluently.

During the sum­mer sea­son 2018, only a few trek­king groups pas­sed through the vil­la­ge. The pro­fits from the han­di­craft pro­ducts have been very low this sum­mer. The con­struc­tion of the new road has cau­sed the trek­king groups to choo­se other rou­tes in the La Sen­ge region.

This pro­blem was dis­cus­sed in the mee­ting and a solu­ti­on was sought. In order to adapt to the new situa­ti­on, the vil­la­ge women are con­s­i­de­ring set­ting up a coope­ra­ti­ve with neigh­bou­ring vil­la­ges. They would then be able to sell their pro­ducts in the vil­la­ge most fre­quent­ly visited.

Nya­raks, Ski­um­pa­ta and Gongma

In June 2017, the­se three vil­la­ges were incorpo­ra­ted into the adult edu­ca­ti­on pro­ject. 25 Women par­ti­ci­pa­te in schoo­ling. The Ladakhi lan­guage is taught during the win­ter mon­ths. In the sum­mer mon­ths, the sub­jects inclu­de English, mathe­ma­tics and Bhoti.

Mee­ting in Skiumpata

During the mee­tings in the vil­la­ges, the women proud­ly dis­play their exer­cise books and show what they had lear­ned in the past year.

They are inte­rested in han­di­crafts and, in the next sea­son, have deci­ded to knit more socks and caps. The asso­cia­ti­on pro­vi­des the knit­ting need­les needed.


The moun­tain vil­la­ge is a disper­sed sett­le­ment and is loca­ted at an alti­tu­de of 3,950 meters.

It is the lar­gest vil­la­ge in the La Sin­ge area and has 490 inh­a­bi­tants. The sett­le­ment is sub­di­vi­ded into seven are­as. The vil­la­ge is a five-hour march from the road con­nec­tion in Yulchung.

During the mee­ting in the vil­la­ge, dis­cus­sions resul­ted in the deci­si­on that the women would like to be taught in the Bho­ti lan­guage. The 95 women have inde­ed set them­sel­ves a gre­at goal:

In 2021, the Bud­dhist spi­ri­tu­al lea­der, the Dalai Lama, will be visi­ting Lings­hed. Their grea­test wish is by then to be flu­ent in both writ­ten and spo­ken Bho­ti, in order to be able to take notes during inst­ruc­tion. I have pas­sed a credit for employ­ing a tea­cher for each area.


Dipling lies in a fer­ti­le val­ley. As a result of the village’s seclu­si­on, the 145 inh­a­bi­tants live to a lar­ge extent from their own resour­ces. As far­mers, they gua­ran­tee their own living. The nea­rest vil­la­ge, Lings­hed, can be reached on foot in ten hours.

What inte­rested me was to find out what edu­ca­ti­on and han­di­crafts meant for the women and which needs and wis­hes the inh­a­bi­tants have. During the mee­tings, the women infor­med me that they would like to learn Bho­ti. EAL finan­ces a teacher.

For the own use, the women knit various garments using sheep wool. With the rough wool from Yaks, the men wea­ve car­pets and pro­du­ce las­sos. The herds­men use the­se rope slings for catching the animals.