Many months have passed since my days teaching in Ladakh, but the memories are still vivid. The fact that it has been over 6 whole months since I last saw those smiling faces and helped those tiny hands draw human body parts hasn’t quite sunk in, but I clearly remember the feel of those hands and the sparkle in those eyes till now.
Ladakh left us with so many lovely memories and we wanted to give something back to the people. We were full of stories of our times and happily we found so many listeners.
I am so thrilled to share with you the news that we have succeeded in raising enough money for playgrounds in two remote schools of Ladakh. No amount of thanks is enough for all the people who helped us make these playgrounds possible by contributing so generously.
Some of the best moments of my early childhood were those spent playing in a playground, climbing up and down slides, feeling the rush of air against my face as I swung to heights which at the time felt sky high, hanging off monkey bars – in fact, as children there wasn’t much more that we wanted, but to be out in the playground.
These children too, being children after all, have the same complaints and wants, the same frustrations and dreams. Some of them walk 4 kilometers in the cold to school – why not put a spring in their step, give them this means of unadulterated pleasure, something new and exciting to look forward to? We saw how the children in Turtuk rushed in their lunch hour to raid the cupboard which had old and broken rackets, frayed skipping ropes and how much fun they had playing with all of it.
These children, who wait on the steps in the morning for school to begin, why not gift them the exhilarating experience of whooshing down a slide, of swinging high to try and touch the sky?
As a child, the playground was my sanctuary, and having spent time with these children I know how much joy they would obtain from it too. The money we have raised will help 17000 ft Foundation bring another two playgrounds to remote villages in Ladakh. Though I may not be able to see it, I can already picture the smiles that would light up their faces, and I hope that the joy they get from the playground is a hundred times more than the joy I get from just thinking about it.
I’m your average seventeen-year old girl from New Delhi studying in the 12th grade at The Shri Ram School, Moulsari. I volunteered during my last three summer vacations in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, teaching children in the schools of remote villages through the 17000 ft Foundation. It was the most life changing experience, and the childrens’ amazing reactions and responses made even the occasional accompanying altitude sickness worth it.