SECMOL runs residential programmes for young people of Ladakh to learn things and ideas they don't get in conventional schools.
• Foundation Year for youth who failed class 10, dropouts, and those who passed but want an extra year for real learning.
• Hostel facilities for students attending Leh Degree College in Leh town. They stay up to three years, until they finish college.
Short youth camps every year:
• Several 10-day camps for kids at class 10 age.
• Camps for Ladakhis who study outside Ladakh.
Article about Foundation Year in Learning Curve, Azim Premji Foundation: "Creating an enabling learning environment at 12,000 feet: SECMOL Alternative Institute" by Avinash Kumar.
Film 35 min. made by SECMOL Media several years ago about our Youth CampsOccasional other short camps and courses, including in recent years:
• A Natural Building Apprenticeship about solar design, earth buildings and ecological toilets.
• Traditional Ladakhi music and dance.
• Training for organic farmers about Participatory Guarantee Scheme.
• January camp on archery and ice skating.
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; 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.
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 2000 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 day for youth at SECMOL is packed with activities from early morning to late evening. Classes might include:
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.
song and dance
Ladakhi and English videos
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. Ladakhi students pay no fee for teaching, rooms and other facilities at SECMOL.
The day starts with physical exercise, meditation / introspection, and then an inspirational morning talk.
Students do one hour of daily work around the campus.
(This page last updated February 2014)