2016: Gaining ground

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.

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