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.

Tra­vel Report by Tru­di Vetsch

Last autumn, Sonam Dor­je, Coun­cil­lor and per­son respon­si­ble for edu­ca­ti­on in the Sen­ge La area, asked me for sup­port for the win­ter tea­ching activi­ties in Kalth­se. In the col­dest sea­son, the schools in Ladakh have win­ter holi­days. During this time, win­ter tea­ching offers stu­dents addi­tio­nal learning activi­ties and pre­pa­res school lea­vers for the final examinations.

This pri­va­te­ly orga­nis­ed offe­ring can only be car­ri­ed out when the ent­i­re costs such as wages, tea­ching mate­ri­als, food, equip­ment and fur­ni­tu­re are spon­so­red. Sonam Dor­je, who initia­ted the­se efforts in coope­ra­ti­on with the EAL pro­ject mana­ger, Lob­zang Rinchen, defi­ned a bud­get for all the necessa­ry fun­ding. The EAL asso­cia­ti­on makes a con­tri­bu­ti­on for the tea­ching materials.

In order to gain a more pre­cise pic­tu­re of how a boar­ding school sys­tem func­tions during the cold sea­son, I deci­ded to visit Ladakh in the winter.

Dol­ma, who stu­dies at the nun’s school in Leh, taches stu­dents in Kalth­se during the win­ter vaca­ti­ons. (third from the left)

Ladakh in win­ter — a spe­cial experience

During the win­ter sea­son, „the High Pass Coun­try ” can only be reached by pla­ne. Even on the way from the air­port into the town, it strikes one how calm it is on the stre­ets. No hon­king cars, no clouds of dust whir­led up by traf­fic and only a few tou­rists — ins­te­ad, this quiet­ness and icy-cold, clear moun­tain air. The view up to the 6,000 meter high, snow cove­r­ed moun­ta­ins is unique.

The sun shi­nes so inten­se­ly during the day that the ther­mo­me­ter in sun­ny cor­ners that are pro­tec­ted from the wind can some­ti­mes climb up to zero degrees. After sun­set, or on a clou­dy day, it gets very cold. Only a few peop­le in the Ladakh area own an addi­tio­nal source of hea­ting apart from their coo­king sto­ve. The kit­chen is the focus of life in winter.

Most fes­ti­vi­ties such as wed­dings or clo­is­ter fes­ti­vals are held in the cold sea­son. Soci­al events are of gre­at impor­t­an­ce to the Ladakh peop­le. Now, in the win­ter, they have time for a chat, to visit rela­ti­ves or to par­ti­ci­pa­te in festivities.

Kalth­se –the boar­ding school for teen­agers from the Sen­ge La area is loca­ted here 

Kalth­se is on the main road bet­ween the dis­trict capi­tal Leh and Kar­gil. In this small town, the road to the Sen­ge La area bran­ches off. The government boar­ding school is here. From March to the end Novem­ber, some 300 stu­dents from the sur­roun­ding vil­la­ges attend school here.

During the long school vaca­ti­ons bet­ween Decem­ber and Febru­ary, vol­un­ta­ry win­ter schoo­ling occurs in the­se pre­mi­ses. 30 stu­dents, seven boys and 23 girls aged bet­ween 14 and 18 years, recei­ve tui­ti­on in English, Hin­di, Bho­ti (Tibe­tan lan­guage), com­pu­ter sci­ence, natu­ral sci­en­ces and mathematics.

It is impres­si­ve with which eager­ness and joy the tea­chers do their work. The rooms are only hea­ted by the sun­beams fal­ling through the win­dow front. The pupils sit on the floor – only a thin mat ser­ves as pro­tec­tion against the cold floor. In spi­te of the­se not very simp­le cir­cum­s­tan­ces, they demons­tra­te  a gre­at wil­ling­ness to learn.

Foto­shoo­ting on the schoo­ly­ard in Kalthse

Cul­tu­ral excur­si­on to the monaste­ry fes­ti­val in Likir

The colour­ful annu­al monaste­ry cele­bra­ti­ons are a spe­cial event for all Ladakhis. Accom­pa­nied by bass drums and horns, the dan­cers per­form their ritu­al mask dan­ces. The uni­que atmo­s­phe­re spreads out over the who­le monastic courtyard.

At the time of our stay in Kalth­se, a monaste­ry fes­ti­val was held in the near­by vil­la­ge of Likir. Sonam Dor­je allo­wed the pupils to go on an excur­si­on. They recei­ved a school-free day so that they could go to the fes­ti­val. In win­ter, the buses only run infre­quent­ly. This led me to spon­ta­neous­ly pay the costs for the bus out of the association’s kit­ty as cul­tu­ral events are not bud­get­ed as part of win­ter tuition.

Toge­ther, we first visi­ted the more than 900 years old monaste­ry site. From way down below in the val­ley, one alre­ady can see the Gom­pa on the hill. The snow-white nests of dwel­lings belon­ging to the monks with the temp­le com­plex on the hill­top offer a pic­tures­que sight. Today, around 100 monks live the­re. The novices recei­ve a good schoo­ling at the monastery’s own school.

After­wards, we were then able to free­ly visit the fes­ti­val. The wea­ther play­ed along. And so, the stu­dents enjoy­ed the spec­ta­cu­lar monaste­ry fes­ti­val with much enthusiasm.

Colour­ful mask dan­ces in the Likir monastery

On the way back to Kalth­se, we visi­ted the hydro­power sta­ti­on in Alchi. During the tour of the power sta­ti­on, the stu­dents found out lots worth kno­wing about the basics of hydro­power production.

The enthu­si­asm and the posi­ti­ve feed­back from both the tea­chers and the stu­dents have led us to bud­get such edu­ca­tio­nal stu­dy trips in the future.

News from Yul­chung village

During my stay in Kalth­se, I recei­ved news by satel­li­te tele­pho­ne from Yul­chung from the Head of the Vil­la­ge Jangdol.

Han­di­crafts room and school annex: room tem­pe­ra­tu­re above zero

The new­ly-built han­di­crafts room and the school buil­ding can now be used the who­le year through, thanks to the addi­tio­nal ther­mal insu­la­ti­on as well as the dou­ble gla­zing that was spon­so­red by the EAL asso­cia­ti­on. The pre­mi­ses are warm enough to be used even if, in win­ter, the sky is clou­ded: room tem­pe­ra­tu­re is com­for­ta­ble, as Jang­dol glad­ly infor­med us.


The quiet time of the year can now be used for arts and crafts work and for main­tai­ning soci­al rela­ti­ons­hips, as the rep­re­sen­ta­ti­ve of the women’s coope­ra­ti­ve told us. They had knit­ted many caps, gloves and socks. On their own initia­ti­ve, the vil­la­ge women set up a stand on the Cha­dar Trek win­ter trek­king rou­te which is two hours away. The knit­ted pro­ducts were sold to pas­sing trek­ker groups.

 Win­ter teaching

From mid-Decem­ber until the end of Febru­ary, win­ter tea­ching for adults and child­ren takes place. Twel­ve adults and seven­te­en pri­ma­ry school child­ren aged bet­ween five and thir­te­en years par­ti­ci­pa­te. Tea­ching is done in the new­ly built premises.

Learning con­tent com­pri­ses gene­ral edu­ca­ti­on sub­jects, the trai­ning of eco­lo­gi­cal awa­re­ness and pas­sing on the rich tra­di­tio­nal heri­ta­ge. EAL finan­ces the tea­cher for the adults and a tea­cher for the ele­men­ta­ry school clas­ses as well as finan­cing tea­ching materials.

The han­di­crafts room also ser­ves as a school­room for the adults


Suc­cess­ful sales during the 2016 sum­mer sea­son moti­va­ted the vil­la­ge women to crea­te new felt pro­ducts and to knit a selec­tion of socks and caps in the fol­lo­wing win­ter. On account of the low tem­pe­ra­tures, this year’s han­di­crafts work­shop orga­nis­ed by me took place in the old school buil­ding and las­ted seven days.

The women still need help when cut­ting out the lea­ther for the hut slip­pers. They are unac­custo­med to using scis­sors and a ruler. This is one of few jobs in which they still need inst­ruc­tion from me.

Working toge­ther with the women from the vil­la­ge requi­res a lot of per­se­ver­an­ce. It was unac­custo­med and exhaus­ting for me to have to work on my knees. Main­tai­ning an over­view over sheep-wool and lea­ther, fel­ted and knit­ted pro­ducts, tea cups and teapots was a chal­len­ge. The humour, enthu­si­asm and eager­ness of the women quick­ly let me for­get such chaotic con­di­ti­ons, however.

Last year the women used the school buil­ding as a place of work. Now, with the reo­pe­ning of the school, the buil­ding is now occu­pied by the pri­ma­ry school. On account of this, the women have made an app­li­ca­ti­on to the sta­te for a new han­di­crafts building.

Reo­pe­ning the vil­la­ge school
Thanks to the initia­ti­ve of the vil­la­gers in 2014, the pri­ma­ry school was reo­pe­ned again this spring. Up to then, the child­ren visi­ted the ele­men­ta­ry boar­ding school in Lings­hed. Nine child­ren of four to nine years of age can now attend their own school again in the village.

During my stay in Leh, I con­tac­ted the “Ladakh Eco­lo­gi­cal Deve­lop­ment Group” LEDeg. The LEDeg engi­neer respon­si­ble, Thin­ley Dor­je, show­ed Lob­zang Rinchen, the local on-site pro­ject lea­der, and me the demons­tra­ti­on object and the sup­plied us with valu­able infor­ma­ti­on. The LEDeg buil­ding in Leh is one of the most tra­di­ti­on-rich buil­dings and fea­tures solar architecture.

Go-ahead for an insu­la­ted school buil­ding and a han­di­crafts room
Ful­ly loa­ded with infor­ma­ti­on and the cer­tain­ty of having com­pe­tent, on-site pro­ject part­ners on board and after con­sul­ta­ti­on with the association’s exe­cu­ti­ve board, I secu­red the finan­cing of the ther­mal insulation.

The sta­te has employ­ed a ten-head Nepa­le­se buil­ding team that has been working in Ladakh for many years now. Engi­neer Thin­ley Dor­je is respon­si­ble for con­tact with the Nepa­le­se buil­ding foreman.

For the insu­la­ti­on of the roof, the vil­la­gers collec­ted straw in the near­by moun­ta­ins. The tra­di­tio­nal straw roof is not 100% water­pro­of and is the­re­fo­re cove­r­ed over with cor­ru­ga­ted iron sheets.

Adult edu­ca­ti­on — three new villages
The EAL pro­ject has gene­ra­ted inte­rest in the neigh­bou­ring vil­la­ges. The asso­cia­ti­on has sup­por­ted the neigh­bou­ring vil­la­ges Ski­um­pa­ta, Gom­ga and Nya­raks sin­ce June 2017. The­se vil­la­ges are only acces­si­ble from Yul­chung on foot in three hours.

Stu­dent Lob­zang Pal­zom tea­ches the women from Ski­um­pa­ta (2nd. from the right).

On site, during mee­tings with the women, I cla­ri­fied their needs and con­se­quent­ly attai­ned finan­ci­al appro­val for a tea­cher and the tea­ching mate­ri­als necessary.

In the three vil­la­ges, a total of 19 women attend schoo­ling. Inte­rest varies from vil­la­ge to vil­la­ge. In Nya­raks the women would like to learn English, as, in the win­ter, trek­king groups pass by on the fro­zen river (Cha­dar-Trek). In Ski­um­pa­ta and Gom­ga the women would, above all, like to learn to read and wri­te the ladakh “Bothi” language.

To the pic­tu­re gallery

The “Edu­ca­ti­on for Adults in Ladakh, Hima­la­ya” pro­ject is on course!

Exten­si­on of the school buil­ding and a new han­di­crafts building
For the vil­la­ge school in Yul­chung, per­mis­si­on for the addi­ti­on of two class­rooms has been gran­ted by the government in Leh. Fur­ther­mo­re, the app­li­ca­ti­on for the new han­di­crafts buil­ding has also been approved.

School buil­ding
The school buil­ding is to be con­struc­ted accord­ing to tra­di­tio­nal design. This means that the win­dows have sin­gle gla­zing and the building’s faca­de has to be made out of sin­gle-lay­er mason­ry. As a result, room tem­pe­ra­tures in a hard win­ter can go down to -30° C and, even for peop­le used to the cold cli­ma­te, can only be used under dif­fi­cult con­di­ti­ons. The sta­te only covers the costs for this tra­di­tio­nal design. Struc­tu­ral insu­la­ti­on mea­su­res such as dou­ble gla­zing, dou­ble-lay­er mason­ry with appro­pria­te insu­la­ti­on mate­ri­al and a cor­ru­ga­ted iron roof for relia­ble imper­mea­bi­li­ty are missing.

Han­di­crafts building
Ever sin­ce the women have beco­me acquain­ted with fel­ting, a room in which they can also work in win­ter at out­side tem­pe­ra­tures below zero is one of their grea­test wishes.
Moreo­ver, the com­mon workspace is of gre­at impor­t­an­ce for the women sin­ce they can dis­cuss toge­ther rou­ti­ne topics such as work in the fiel­ds, fami­ly mat­ters and domestic ani­mals without being disturbed.
For the con­struc­tion of the new han­di­crafts hou­se, the iden­ti­cal government con­di­ti­ons app­ly as for the school building.

In Leh, Tru­di Vetsch met Sonam Dor­je (Government Agent for the deve­lop­ment of infra­st­ruc­tu­re, edu­ca­ti­on and health in the area of Sen­ge LA). He pre­sen­ted the pro­jects plan­ned to her. The­reu­pon she pro­po­sed using the association’s dona­ti­ons to cover the extra costs for dou­ble-gla­zed win­dows, dou­ble-lay­er mason­ry and covering the tra­di­tio­nal roof with cor­ru­ga­ted iron she­eting to make it waterproof.

The addi­tio­nal costs for the han­di­crafts buil­ding were paid for from the association’s account.

For the­se addi­tio­nal costs for the school buil­ding exten­si­on, dou­ble-lay­er mason­ry, insu­la­ti­on mate­ri­als and the dou­ble gla­zing of the win­dows, the asso­cia­ti­on is now cal­ling for fur­t­her donations.

The asso­cia­ti­on “Edu­ca­ti­on for Adults in Ladakh — Hima­la­ya” was set up in Janu­ary 2017. The asso­cia­ti­on meets all requi­re­ments for exemp­ti­on from taxes accord­ing to the pro­vi­si­ons of Arti­cle 78 para­graph 1 lit. f StG. and Arti­cle 56 lit. g DBG. The asso­cia­ti­on, with its seat in Schiers, will the­re­fo­re be taken up in the Can­to­nal list con­cer­ning tax deduc­tibi­li­ty of vol­un­ta­ry donations.

Pro­mi­se of co-operation
The con­sul­tant of “Ladakh Auto­no­mous Hill Deve­lop­ment Coun­cil, Leh” respon­si­ble, Sonam Dor­je, has, on request of the asso­cia­ti­on, gua­ran­teed future co-ope­ra­ti­on. The let­ter is avail­ab­le in the Docu­ments section.

Plea­sant anticipation
Pre­pa­ra­ti­ons for the next trip are going full speed ahead and Tru­di Vetsch is great­ly loo­king for­ward to the four-week trip in June. A report will fol­low after her return.

Vol­un­teer work in July
A stu­dent from the Chur area will be car­ry­ing out vol­un­teer work in the vil­la­ge of Yul­chung this year. Her mis­si­on is a vol­un­ta­ry soci­al com­mit­ment. This will above all con­cern the reli­ef of the strain on the fami­lies and on the vil­la­ge school.

The enor­mous moti­va­ti­on and the pur­po­se­ful­ness of the women of Yul­chung vil­la­ge have been the suc­cess fac­tors for the suc­cess­ful sale of felt flowers and cushions in the sum­mer sea­son of 2016. In June 2016, I spent three inten­se weeks in Ladakh. The focus of my trip was pla­ced on their han­di­crafts and networking.

Fel­ting and knitting
Wet fel­ting can­not be done at tem­pe­ra­tures below zero. In the win­ter time, the women have knit­ted wool­len socks on their own initia­ti­ve. The socks, which are deco­ra­ted with tra­di­tio­nal pat­terns, can be used to make inge­nious hut slip­pers. In the spring­time, the moti­va­ted and crea­ti­ve vil­la­gers crea­ted indi­vi­du­al felt flowers and cushions.

The mana­ger on site, Lob­zang Rinchen orga­nis­ed a mee­ting with the chair­per­son of the vil­la­ge coun­cil, Sonam Dor­je, in Leh. Sonam is an important government offi­ci­al in the area and is respon­si­ble for the deve­lop­ment of infra­st­ruc­tu­re, health ser­vices and edu­ca­ti­on. He sup­ports the pro­ject with valu­able tips. Sonam cal­led for a parish assem­bly in Yul­chung which was then orga­nis­ed by the vil­la­ge people.

During a mee­ting with the ”Women’s alli­an­ce of Ladakh” (WAL), important orga­ni­za­tio­nal infor­ma­ti­on was exch­an­ged. The deve­lop­ment of the infra­st­ruc­tu­re in the Sin­ge La area with its new road allows the sur­roun­ding vil­la­ges to beco­me mem­bers of the WAL Women’s Alli­an­ce too.

Schoo­ling 2015/2016
Twel­ve women bet­ween 24 and 65 years of age and six­te­en child­ren par­ti­ci­pa­ted last win­ter in our schoo­ling efforts. The child­ren enhan­ced that which they had lear­ned in the sum­mer. For the adults, empha­sis is pla­ced on learning the Tibe­tan script and the Roman alphabet.

Learning goals for the com­ing winter
As a result of the deve­lop­ment of the area, more and more plastic was­tes find their way into the vil­la­ge. For this pro­blem the­re is still no solu­ti­on avail­ab­le. The plastic is often bur­ned in sto­ves. This fact has led to the tea­cher Stanzin Mingyur’s wish to be able to give the topic of envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion more atten­ti­on next win­ter. The learning aims are aimed to awa­ken inte­rest and respon­si­bi­li­ty in the envi­ron­men­tal area and pro­vi­de com­pe­tence for sha­ping the future.

Arri­val in the village
After the vil­la­ge women gree­ted me with a cere­mo­ni­al and cor­di­al recep­ti­on, a mee­ting was held. The women show­ed me all the things they had made out of felt. With gre­at pri­de they repor­ted on suc­cess­ful learning efforts at the school and reci­ted the alpha­bet and num­bers in English. The women had imple­men­ted their own ide­as and found pos­si­bi­li­ties for car­ry­ing out fur­t­her work which they want to do in winter.

During our con­ver­sa­ti­ons, I noted that twel­ve of the women would like to increa­se their know-how in the area of fel­ting. In order that their work in the fiel­ds was not neglec­ted, they divi­ded them­sel­ves into two groups. For five days they were busy fel­ting from ele­ven o’clock in the morning until four o’clock in the afternoon.

Very motivated and with a lot of perseverance, the village women have felted and the turned the felt into beautiful flowers and cushions.
Very moti­va­ted and with a lot of per­se­ver­an­ce, the vil­la­ge women have fel­ted and the tur­ned the felt into beau­ti­ful flowers and cushions.

Vil­la­ge coun­cil assembly
On the last day befo­re my depar­tu­re, a vil­la­ge coun­cil assem­bly was held in Yul­chung. The respon­si­ble vil­la­ge pre­si­dent and rep­re­sen­ta­ti­ve of the Sin­ge La area, Sonam Dor­je, the local pro­ject mana­ger Lob­zang Rinchen, the Women’s Coope­ra­ti­ve and the men of the vil­la­ge who were pre­sent took part in the coun­cil assembly.

Basic needs were addres­sed during the coun­cil assem­bly as were ques­ti­ons on how dona­ti­ons could be used. The basic ques­ti­on was how to cla­ri­fy what is important for the women and the vil­la­ge and what should be done next.

The women expres­sed three wis­hes: A room in which they can crea­te their pro­ducts in sum­mer and win­ter without being dis­tur­bed, a litt­le more basic equip­ment and a tea­cher for sum­mer teaching.

An unu­sed hou­se with two rooms can be made avail­ab­le imme­dia­te­ly. The space at the back of the buil­ding, howe­ver, has been fil­led up by con­ti­nuous land ero­si­on. When snow falls, water accu­mu­la­tes in the walls and mold has grown in the rooms. It was deci­ded to free the back wall from rub­b­le next year and install drainage.

As far as fur­nis­hings are con­cer­ned, the women would like a table, thick cushions for sea­ting and a kit­chen set, con­sis­ting of a coo­king sto­ve and dishes.

To the gallery

The women — coope­ra­ti­ve from the vil­la­ge make a con­tri­bu­ti­on to the adult edu­ca­ti­on pro­ject by using their craft­s­manship. In August 2015, I visi­ted the vil­la­ge and taught the women of the local coope­ra­ti­ve how to make flowers and cushions using felt. I did this becau­se I am con­vin­ced that in order to encou­ra­ge sustain­ab­le deve­lop­ment, you have to edu­ca­te adults and also pro­vi­de sup­port for their eco­no­my on a small scale.

The flowers and cushions are made from local sheep’s wool. The women wash and card the wool in their own vil­la­ges. Flowers bear a spe­cial mea­ning for Ladakhi peop­le. You can see them ever­y­whe­re in their gar­dens. They love the dash of colours in the midst of the arid, moun­tain­ous land­s­cape. For trek­kers, felt flowers and cushions are authen­tic sou­ve­nirs from the village.