50% of the students fail after the 10th grade in the region - mostly the poor children. Reexamination is only possible by private study, so therefore most of them fail again.
Everything has been prepared and accepted according to the current laws in India and Denmark.
The purpose of the whole project is building an efterskole for about 50 students.
An efterskole where the students live at the school and therefore have good opportunities of taking part in classes every day, and during their spare time they can qualify so they can pass the exams.
The teachers live at the efterskole and are available with teaching the every individual student during the whole day - exactly like we do in Denmark.
Danish efterskole students can be connected with the school as volunteers as they have qualifications which can be of great value for the students in Ladakh.
The purpose of the efterskole is also to become a stamping ground for teachers in the area. A place where you can take part in courses and conferences, discuss pedagogic, create teaching materials and other things. It would provide a breeding ground for development in the different schools and give them something in common, which would become an advantage to every single child.
The idea originates from a co-operation between Operation Dagsværk, Folkekirkens Nødhjælp and myself in the late 90ies.
After a visit in Ladakh it became very clear to us what it means not to finish the basic school education. It simply meant that the young people in the area had two possibilities for the rest of their lives - either to work as a guide during the few months with tourists, or joining the Indian Army, but as most of the population is Buddhists it makes absolutely no sense for them and their religion. We had the terrible experience in 2001 that 70 young people were killed at the border - being used as human shields. Because of this we decided to help making sure that both boys and girls in Ladakh can have the opportunity to finish the basic education.
The idea is rooted in the local society with members in the council and the board who from the very beginning and up till now have been an active part of the whole project - this shows in great involvement and ownership of the project.
All work in Denmark is volunteer and not payed for and all travel activity is payed for by each person himself.
Thanks for reading this.
In Denmark it is only voluntary work and therefore unpaid.
The idea is examined and started after a couple of visits in Ladakh. A lawyer and an architect are connected to the project. The following years are used to gather permissions in both Denmark and India. Regulations are made and approved in both countries.
Registration of the project in India. Registered No. 4439-S of 2004.
The project gets its own homepage. The building site is donated to the project by a small Buddhist monastery in Phyang Village. Laying the foundation stone.
Measuring and architect designs are made.
The beginning of the digging and building by hand and pouring the foundations - also by hand. It is only possible to work during 4 months a year because of the weather conditions, frost and snow.
The project is allowed to have funds transfer - both register and permission of funds transfer is very difficult to obtain and has been negotiated during 5 years. The building has begun, and the work is now on the ground floor. The project has got its own CVR/SE-number.
The ground floor has been finished, and the first floor is started, but the whole area is hit by a natural disaster. We were extremely lucky as our building was still standing but quite damaged by the water.
Repairing the water damages and building the first floor. In October 2 teachers are employed for the project. Their employment starts with further education and a 3 months visit in a Danish efterskole.
The school begins with 20 poor girls who failed their 10th grade exams. 18 of the girls pass their exams. The costs of a student for a whole year is 3.500 Dkr.
Y’s Menettes Region Denmark donates economical support to a sewing workshop which is started. March: beginning of school for another 20 poor girls of which 19 carry through and 17 pass their exams. The school is attached to the monastery, but is still non-political and non-religious.
March: School begins for 20 new girls. Besides teaching this spring 113 willows were planted, a small vegetable garden and flowerbeds at our building were established. The Y’Mens’ Club in Haslev donated 3 very good DELL laptops.
During the summer holidays Prof. Pushpanadham, Barola University/India came to see us. Dr. Push has visited Denmark twice to learn about the Danish Efterskole. During Dr. Push’s stay a meeting was organized at the school together with the school board, employees, present and previous students and Executive Counsellor for Health, Dr. Sonam Wangchuk. A fantastic day: the school project was recognized for a future co-operation. “Sportigan” in Præstø donated a great Hummel school dress with the logo of the school.
During the winter season, while the school was closed, the school building was used by a group of young international engineer students, who research into and work with establishing artificial glaciers. The co-operation was arranged together with SECMOL, which is a students’ organization in Ladakh. This group organized an internet connection - which we have taken over.
Concerning drinking water we have had some challenges. After Christmas the tube was repaired by means of economic support from a citizen nearby.
School start was not to be in the beginning of March, as Kashmir was hit by violent rain which caused so much damage that all exams were cancelled. Therefore Angmo and Sonam decided to teach the 11th and 12th grade subjects to previous students, so they could keep up with their qualifications until their respective schools reopened. It turned out to be a very good idea for both “old” students and our efterskole, which became a place where others also want to participate. During the same month a greenhouse was built at our building, it was planted by our “old” students - who in that way enjoyed the early spinach themselves - and provided fine vegetables for all, when the school year started.
Not until May was it possible to start this school year after we had registered the students which caused a year with very hard work to get through the curriculum. We keep experiencing that our school has got a good reputation because of the good results.
In September the school had visitors from Denmark twice.
We started the year having measles. The disease was unknown to several parents, so a few of our students returned home.
For the first time since we started, our school has had three Muslim girls. We were also visited by a couple of volunteers from India and Korea.
At a meeting in July with His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang from the monastery in Phyang it was confirmed, that he very much supports our school and he is especially fascinated by the values of our regulations.
We also had a meeting with Hill Council concerning getting through the exams at our school. If this could be achieved the teaching terms would be much more efficient and the teachers could help in between the different exams.
In June the efterskole here in Haslev was visited by an Indian class from Delhi. After that one of their teachers visited our school in Ladakh, and this has developed into a school friendship. The Indian school girls donated their pocket money worth 4.500 d.kr - which is going to support a Ladakhi girl.
Our school board has been renewed as our previous members have decided to withdraw because of too much pressure at work, and now they are active members of our council (Repræsentantskab). We thank them very much for their effort throughout many years.
Already in January Angmo and her husband Tundup were busy cleaning the green house and getting horse manure from the village to sow spinach. So therefore, spinach was already on the menu in March together with rice and beans. As you probably know, the pass is closed from the middle of November till June because of snow and cold, so food deliveries are cut off during those six months.
Among our staff we had to say good bye to Sonam who lost her father last winter, and she had to go back home to support the family. Instead of Sonam we engaged Kunzes who has been connected with Secmol for 10 years (Secmol is a NGO supported by Denmark during the 1990’ies for teachers training). Kunzes shows a great interest for our school and is a fantastic help for Angmo, whom we have chosen for head of the school.
This year we talked about different things which should be done to the school building. We discussed the plan and economy, and agreed that it would be a rather big expense for us. But it soon turned out that all the expenses for our repairs and new purchases were to be solved in an unexpected way.
One late afternoon we noticed a trucker parked next to us. It turned out to be a German couple touring the world for the last five years. They visited us and told our girls about some of their experiences.
The next day they left, but already on the following day they returned and told us that they would love to support our project. What an offer!
It resulted in three weeks’ time together, and much more work than Angmo and I had dreamt of doing.
A big area in front of the school building was cleaned. Terraces were made, and we also planned to make a café with tables, benches and sunshades. The benches and tables were made in the finest woodwork and all the students were involved. They took part in planning, sanding and gluing - better teaching cannot be found.
Ruth and Jürgen repaired the doors which had come unstuck, made low tables for the lap tops, had our scanty water supply put into pipes with taps. They also organized our electric wires to be dug down into the ground, and installed a meter to check our use of electricity.
Some of you might think: what kind of tools do they have?
Well, you have all kinds of tools when you drive around in such a big truck to so many different places. Being able to help yourself is of great importance if you want to visit the outskirts of the world - even Ladakh.
At the end of February, we re-opened for registration of new students via the radio. This year 30 families took contact, but unfortunately, we only have room for 20 of which many come from areas far away from our school.
We started without the presence of Angmo, because she undertakes further education, so she can teach subjects from 11th and 12th grades. We are not authorized to exam these two grades, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot teach some of them!
While Angmo was away Kunzes very skilled took over the management of the school – helped by a substitute.
In the beginning of March when the team was gathered and the teaching started, another girl, whom we really didn’t have room for, arrived. She had taken the long travel of 415 kilometers hoping to be admitted in the school. Both students and teachers decided to close up and make room for her.
In March we planted apple trees, sowed and planted in the green house and made plant beds at our terrace. We focused on teaching about environment, ecology and sorting the garbage – and for the creative part knitting was started, so today all the girls can knit socks.
At the end of March, we were told that the June exams were to be changed to the middle of April. With only 30 days of teaching, it after all turned out that 3 of the girls passed and could join the 11th grade in Leh.
After the exams Kunze succeeded in finding a volunteer Indian teacher who could teach astronomy, IT, theatre and celebrities. It became a very good co-operation and rewarding for our students.
This year we have again had land from the monastery, where we can plant potatoes and be self-sufficient.
The artificial glacier/ice stupa behind our school didn’t reach the same height as last year, but even though it helped to irrigate all the small willow trees. In connection to this project we had a visit from the USA, and we were lucky that the guests from the USA told our girls how to make an artificial glacier.
We have for a very long period wanted a new building with more class rooms, and by the help from a board member we last winter got in contact with a foundation in New Jersey, which would like to support our project. Our big wish is a smaller building with a couple of class rooms, a room for IT, one for needle work, 2 guest rooms and an office. By moving the teaching out of our residence, we can have room for another 10 students, and also have the opportunity of having volunteers helping in the school.
Therefore, we have been busy this summer meeting people who can and will support our building plans. The engineer who helped us to plan the 1st floor of our building has promised to help again. He has a good education from Delhi and is a most respected person. He has promised to make the drawings together with an architect, get permissions and run the building process – free of charge! A very good friend of the school will take care of all the purchases of materials.
Of course, we know that we cannot get all the money right away for a complete building, so the building is planned in stages and the class rooms come first.
When India’s Prime Minister Modi took over government in 2014 he promised changes and new good initiatives for the poor. This has resulted in different prices for food. This has meant that for the last couple of years our budget for food has increased. Therefore, we have contacted one of the military camps and asked them to help us with rice. We were lucky enough to have a talk with the colonel. He promised to help with different things: food, water, medical help and health care.
The next day we received 4 bags of rice (160 kg), 2 big bags of sugar, lentils for dal, 6 boxes of jam and 2 big boxes of chocolate powder. On the same day a female doctor came and gave sexual education and checked on our girls.
In our school building 3 bath rooms are planned, but only one of them has been finished, so it is very busy when everyone is going to have a shower. But this is going to change as the military before December will come and finish the other two - free of charge!
In July we had visit from St. Mark´s Girls Senior Secondary School from Delhi. It turned out to be a super experience and both schools took part in the schedule. A very good friend of one of the Indian teachers also took part in this week. She is French and teaches an international class in France – so now we have created a possibility of communication between the students on-line – knowing that the internet does not always work perfectly.
Efterskole Welfare Society Phyang