Sujata Sahu, the lady who is flourishing young minds at 17000 ft
Ladakh, the land of high passes looks dramatic and its beautiful landscape is not quite easy to forget. The drive to this beautiful Himalayan paradise is tiresome. The situation becomes tougher when oxygen level at high altitudes demands one to breath slowly. But, the journey through these rough terrains always fascinates Sujata Sahu, because of the warm welcome she receives from the children waiting for her in the remotest corners across Ladakh.
Sujata Sahu, who is often referred as the iron lady of Ladakh is continuously striving hard to spread quality education in the remote villages of Ladakh. In 2010, she went on a solo trip to Ladakh to donate books. She carried about 900 kg of education materials, including books on 25 horses. Sujata Sahu was a teacher at the Shree Ram School, a well-known elite school. She quit her job and founded 17000 ft Foundation in 2012 that aims to make education more effective in the 963 schools spreading across Ladakh.
By 2014, 17000 ft Foundation has been able to donate 50000 books. They have set up playgrounds in 15 schools and provided classroom furniture to roughly 20 schools. In April 2013, Sujata launched Voluntour, a project that engages tourists to stop at any one village and teach.
Ladakhis value what you give. They want their children to learn. They have food to eat, land to live, but no quality education. They send their children to faraway places for studies, says Sujata Sahu.
The regions where Sujata works, have limited or no access to electricity or telephone connectivity. Normally those places are inaccessible by road from November to March when snow takes over and temperatures drop to minus 35-40 Degree Celsius. 17000 ft Foundation is directly supporting 8000 students and indirectly approximately 30000.
We first adopted the schools in Leh district, 370 schools, including 60 private ones. At present, precisely 100 schools are being supported by us. Over 675 government teachers have been provided training, says Sahu.
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