First steps towards independence!
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.
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.
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.
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.