Keep the faith! In support of 17000ft’s incredible efforts in #education

My life is truly enriched by a few passionate friends. I’m not only driven by their energy and dedication as seen through Facebook updates and media coverage. I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in their journey, be the listening ear to their struggles and sometimes, like now, a helping hand as well. Take the case of 17000ft Foundation, started by Sujata Sahu and Sandeep Sahu.

Sujata and Sandeep were my next door neighbours. In the the two years or so that we shared a floor, I was thrilled to be occasionally admitted into the fun and frolic in their menagerie of a house (5 kids, 2 dogs, and some more in the nooks and corners). Somewhere between the chatting and eating and drinking (oh yes!), we discovered a shared passion for the social sector and I saw in my friends a will to change the status quo that most of us simply accept.

Both of them were passionate trekkers and outdoor enthusiasts and I remember envying Sujata her solo trek in Ladakh. Then the flash floods happened there and talk changed into action. Sujata, then a teacher at Shriram School, ably partnered by Sahu, plunged into Mission Julley. I’ve written before (read here) about how they came in with a refreshingly practical perspective to ‘aid’, throwing existing systems out of the window and adopting a hands-on approach that directly and effectively reached remote communities. By the end of this endeavor, the duo was hooked. Despite all odds, they decided to look at transforming the experience of schoolchildren in the remote areas of Ladakh. 17000ft was born!

From mapping schools in the State to bringing in infrastructure, from setting up libraries to training teachers, 17000ft Foundation has worked hard to bring meaningful and practical value additions to how Ladakhi children learn. They also run a successful Voluntourist Program that helps bring a little revenue to the Foundation, but more importantly, leverages on the enthusiasm and knowledge of trekkers and vacationers to contribute to the development of this remote mountainous region.

Sujata and Sahu, at a remote village in Lingshed, a quiet moment after a 7 day project to trek to a school where they setup a library and provided furniture

Sujata and Sandeep Sahu at a remote school in Lingshed, Ladakh

Breathtaking, but so so far. This is a school with only 14 children!

Breathtaking, but so so far. This is a school with only 14 children!

This school has 19 kids

This school has 19 kids

The last mile connectivity - 1 day drive, 2 days on horseback and the final mile by the students as they carry their desks and charis into the school

No mean task!  Furniture took a day’s drive and 2 days on horseback from Leh to reach this school. In the pic, students carry their desks and chairs into the school

Pleased as punch! Teachers pose with their new library. They were as eager to read as the kids were!

Pleased as punch! Teachers pose with their new library. They were as eager to read as the kids were!

Kids posing at a school in Chushul on the China border

Kids posing at a school in Chushul on the China border

High connect is essential to succeeed. 1700ft works with schools that are small in size but spread over a large difficult region

High connect is essential to succeed. 1700ft works with schools that are small in size but spread over a large difficult region

17000ft, which already reaches out to 25,000 schoolchildren and covers Leh district is now expanding to Kargil district as well. Behind the success of 17000ft, I know, has been the anxiety and toil of its founders, who have braved personal uncertainties and risks to make this possible. Like any other not-for-profit, funding challenges and the need for recognition are two sides of the same coin and I see Sujata and Sandeep struggling to keep that coin in circulation even as they work on logistics and operations on a day-to-day basis. Sujata pinged me on Facebook Messenger yesterday with an astute obervation. “More than anything else, people need to talk about and write about the not for profits they know,” she said. “It’s not just about visibility and funding, endorsements helps me keep the faith, something I’m in the danger of losing every now and then.” I, for one, am not about to let Sujata lose her faith!

Help 17000ft keep the faith!

While I do my bit by blogging about their incredible work, Nalina Suresh, a friend and ardent supporter of 17000ft has been running marathons to raise funds for the Foundation’s work. On the 23rd of this month, she is running the Delhi Airtel Half Marathon for this cause as well. Click here to donate and help build libraries for schools in Kargil!

To remain connected, do like their FB page and follow them on Twitter

Advertisements

About ramblinginthecity

I am an architect and urban planner, a writer and an aspiring artist. I love expressing myself and feel strongly that cities should have spaces for everyone--rich, poor, young, old, healthy and sick, happy or depressed--we all need to work towards making our cities liveable and lovable communities.

Posted on November 10, 2014, in Urban Planning & Policy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Reblogged this on Yummy Experiments and commented:
    Really great Initiative

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: