SECMOL aims for a diverse group of students from all regions and social sections of Ladakh and neighbouring regions. We have had Buddhists, Sunni and Shia Muslim Ladakhis, and all local castes. We have had students from Leh, Kargil, Zangskar, and Paddar (Kishtwar in Jammu). The only restriction is that they should be able to communicate in Ladakhi — students from neighbouring areas with closely related languages such as Kargil, Zangskar and Paddar find that they get used to the Leh accent in a few days or weeks.
- Song and dance — fun dance parties and traditional dance
- Ladakhi, English, Hindi, and other movies
- Debate, quiz contest, public speaking
- Volleyball, cricket, football
- Ice skating and hockey (winter only), and swimming (summer only)
- Understanding the news in Ladakhi
- Traditional Ladakhi songs
- Painting, educational games
- Activities taught by volunteers
Practical skills are important too:
- Student responsibilities cover cleaning, maintenance, fee collection, shopkeeper, food shopping, the cows, gardening, etc. Students elect their own leaders, the Coordinator and Secretary.
- Daily work hour might be gardening, digging, building, preparing the sports ground, washing carpets, cooking, etc.
- Students get involved in new solar installations or other sustainable technologies. In 2013-14 we made a biogas digester, a rocket stove, installed commercial solar water heaters, rebuilt the solar heated hall, built a new compost toilet, and experimented with storing winter water as an ice tower. In 2015 we built a new small house and installed solar water pumps and a buried year-round pipe from a new deep bore-well. In 2017-18 we built the new TIMKEN Hall (solar heated dining and events hall) and hostel, plastered the irrigation pond to make it a swimming pool, built more composting toilets, made a solar still for maintaining batteries with distilled water, and are trying a new type of solar heated biogas production.
- Students learn how to prepare food for their Ladakhi winter: apricot jam; Ladakhi anchar pickle; Korean kimchi; Italian capers; drying vegetables, both wild and cultivated; underground storage; and seabuckthorn juice.
Sustainable Living and Learning Through Alternative Education by the Pulitzer Center, 2017.