ONGOING PROJECTS  |  2019 Onwards

Secure Himalaya

A unique initiative to educate and help children think critically about their natural and cultural heritage. The project is supported by UNDP.

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The high-altitude Himalaya, characterized by huge geological formations, largely infertile due to extreme weather conditions, have pockets of land where immense biodiversity exists. These resource rich areas provide great value for the subsistence of nomadic communities, like the Changpas of Ladakh, who have traditionally engaged (and survived) with nature and its resources, as these oases not only provide food and medicine for their wellbeing but also water for millions of people living downstream.


With time, various changes have taken place in the lifestyle of Changpas. Their sustainable relationship with nature, have suffered disruptions with the introduction of industrial alternatives, tourism and the new economy around it, uneven access of technology and education, resulting in urban migration and resettlement. However, in recent years, remigration (return) to the region and conversations on how to strike a balance between traditional knowledge and beneficial aspects of technology are being observed. Thus, the documentation and dissemination of traditional knowledge systems and availability of such resources within local formal education platforms has become increasingly relevant and necessary.

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In view of this, the Wildlife Management Department, Union Territory Administration of Ladakh and United Nations Development Programme, through the project SECURE Himalaya, worked closely with Achi Association India (AAI) for the documentation, dissemination and revival of conservation based traditional practices. AAI, whose work has contributed immensely to the preservation of extraordinary but endangered cultural heritage of Ladakh, conducted a series of interviews and workshops with Changpa elders and students of the Nomadic Residential School, Puga with the aim of introducing traditional knowledge-based modules in the education system.


The content and methodology were conceptualised by Abeer Gupta and Joyoti Roy, AAI, workshops conducted by Ruchi Mathur, Tundup Churpon, Jigmat Norboo and Jigmet Namgial. They were made possible with the immense contribution of the Changthang High Altitude Nomadic Research Institute, who have set up a craft studio and research centre in Puga. Based on the material generated, a content and illustration team, with Haninder, Sharwari S. Dorge and Saloni Mathur made the volumes come together with additional inputs and photographs from Gulzar Hussain and publication design by Varun Manoharan.

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Image description. Try and keep this as short as possible.. You can go to a max of 4 or 5 lines.. This line is to make 5.

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