SECMOL aims for a diverse group of students from all parts, regions and social sections of Ladakh and neighbouring regions. We have had Buddhists, Sunni and Shia Muslim Ladakhis, Nepalis raised in Ladakh, Brokpas; and students from Leh, Kargil, Zangskar, and Paddar (Kishtwar in Jammu). The only thing 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.
Youth camps for Ladakhis
SECMOL runs short residential programmes for young people of Ladakh to learn some important things they don’t get in conventional schools.
- 10- to 14-day camps for kids at class 10 age. Next ones are November 2015 and February 2016 for students who have just taken the J&K Class 10 exam, and April 2016 for students who have just taken the CBSE class 10 exam.
- Camp for college students and Ladakhis who study outside Ladakh. Next one is in May or June 2016.
Occasional other short camps and courses, including in recent years:
- Traditional Ladakhi music and dance.
- January camp on archery and ice skating.
In December and February, SECMOL runs annual camps for rural youth who have just taken the 10th class exam (ie aged 16-18). The purpose of the camps is to build self-confidence and awareness of cultural and environmental issues. They learn Ladakhi history and geography (which are not taught in their conventional schools), English, solar energy, and Ladakhi songs and dancing. Senior students who have been living at SECMOL for one or more years get the chance to lead activities or teach. Conversation with volunteers is a big draw to the camps.
In May or June we run a camp for Ladakhis who study outside Ladakh. Each year has a different theme, and has included vocational guidance, environmental awareness and action, and entrepreneurship.
Most years we run one camp on traditional Ladakhi music and dance, in collaboration with another local organisation.
Students from all over Ladakh meet each other and volunteers from other parts of India and the world. So far more than 2600 Ladakhis have participated, and volunteers from six continents. Everyone gets a great experience in inter-cultural exchange, and the camps grow ever more popular.
A typical SECMOL youth camp
The day is packed with activities from early morning to late evening. Classes might include:
- basic English
- conversation with volunteers
- Ladakhi history and geography
- solar energy, health, or nature
- Ladakhi language and literacy
- painting and educational games
- library hour or computer practice time
- A daily morning talk is about education problems in Ladakh, current issues, and self development.
- work hour
- song and dance
- Ladakhi and English videos
- quiz contest
- volleyball, cricket, football, or in January, ice skating
- games taught by volunteers
Campers and volunteers work for 1 hour daily. This keeps us physically fit and ready for Ladakhi village life, and keeps expenses low for the Ladakhi participants. Ladakhi students pay only basic food costs so that even those from the remotest villages or difficult family situations can afford to come; they don’t pay for teaching, rooms and other facilities at SECMOL.
35 min film by SECMOL Media about our Youth Camps