Ladakh is the highest plateau of India, with much of it being over 3,000 m (9,800 ft). It spans the Himalayan and Karakoram Mountain ranges and the upper Indus River Valley. Vegetation is extremely sparse due to thin air. Human settlements are marked by lush fields and trees, all irrigated with water from glacial streams, springs, and rivers. The economy of Ladakh rests on three pillars: the Indian army, tourism, and civilian government in the form of jobs and extensive subsidies. Agriculture, the mainstay only one generation ago, is no longer a major portion of the economy, although most families still own and work their land. At altitudes of 3,000 to 4,300 m (10,000 to 14,000 ft), the growing season is only a few months long every year.
Ngari Institute, with the support of Jullay Project for Singapore, worked jointly on creating a plantation in 2009 with 1,000 tress and in 2010 with 1,500 trees. Due to the lack of water facilities, we could not continue the plantation for some time, because we have to load water from the Indus Valley in a tanker and transport it to the project area. But in the future we will transform the institute’s area from a desert zone to a green zone, to be an example to other NGOs and government offices.
Monthly Program for Foreigners
We are working very hard to share what we know with others. Presently we are using our library building as a classroom for foreigners in order to teach about Buddhist science and Buddhist culture, which will play very important parts in this world. In addition, we have built a guesthouse and are building meditation cabins for those who would like to study with us.
Sharing Dharma Views in Villages and Schools
Geshe Tsewang Dorje, Geshe Lobsang Thinley, and Geshe Ngawang Sangye visit villages every year to talk on Love, Compassion, and environmental preservation. From our surveys from the last four years, we came to know that more and more younger generations are interested in this service. Every weekend the Geshe-las take full responsibility to teach Buddhism to the schoolchildren, in a program they have titled “Dharma for Kids.” Ngari Institute contributes all kinds of services to this project.
School Bus Service for Local Students in Saboo Village
As of April 10, 2011, Saboo Village has one government primary school, which students used to walk to from their residences. They used to face a lot of distractions on the way. So for their convenience, Ngari Institute of Buddhist Dialectics arranged transportation for these students, and now they come in the minibus to school from far distances. The bus also takes students from the hostels to Siddhartha School in Stok Village and the SOS Tibetan’s Children’s Village in Choglamsar.