Children of the Himalaya

As one of her key projects for 2018 the Thika Foundation sponsors the Monastery Project of the Snow Leopard Conservancy (SLC). That project is up and running en we have high expectations for it. It focuses on teaching the teachers, the Buddhist monks, that form such an important part of Ladakhi communities, about how the snow leopards form part of daily life. But this is not the only project the SLC is involved in concerning education.

When I visited the SLC last February they told me about the importance of involving the local communities in the conservation of the precious Himalayan High altitude environment and the role of an apex predator like the snow leopard in it. An important way to involve the local community is targeting the future: the children. The children in Ladakh get their school materials from the central government in Delhi, as do all the schools in India. Needless to say that a country as large as India has many different eco-systems and the flora and fauna of Kerala cannot be compared to those of Gir Forest, known for their lions, or the Himalayan mountains. So the children are taught about tigers and monkeys and deer in an environment where there are snow leopards, argaly and ibex.

The SLC  has developed a set of teaching-materials targeting ages 6-12. It consists of a reading book, an activity book and a set of posters and games. When working with this set of materials the children learn about the history of their environment, the animals in it and the importance of each animal in that environment, the threats to their ecosystem and ways to help protect and save it. It involves also a lot of class-projects like clean ups of the villages and environment and awareness training. All the schools in Ladakh have received a set of these books and everybody is really enthusiastic about it. The teachers and children alike love working with them.

I have had the opportunity to examine a set myself and my reaction was that I would hope that the children in the Netherlands would get a set of books about their nature as informative and well written as these. We might even be able to save some of our own precious nature. Why am I sharing this with you?

Simple: the books are running out and the SLC needs a new supply. Also they would like to produce the books in the Ladakhi language as the first edition is published in English (the common language for centrally distributed schoolbooks in India as there are so many local dialects and languages). For this the books need to be translated. A new translated edition will cost about the equivalent of Euro 1500.

I have presented this story to Rotary Club Zandvoort recently and they – wonderfully – have already pledged EUR 500 for this project. Thank you again, ‘Zandvoort’!

But even with this help we are still EUR 1000 short. So I am looking for other Service Club(s) or other sponsors, companies or individuals alike, to get this new Ladakhi edition of these wonderful books realised. Even if we did it the ‘Obama way’, where many thousands of supporters gave smaller amounts but together they brought in a formidable sum!

The Ladakhi school children are counting on you…!

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