ABOUT LINGSHED AREA
Lingshed is situated in one of the remotest areas of the Ladakh region in Northern India. The Lingshed area consists of seven villages of approximately 1000 villagers. In quiet solitude, it is surrounded by the beautiful trans-Himalayan Snow Mountains. Despite the peace and calm, the Lingshed area is also one of the poorest and most isolated area in India. Villagers here live in harsh and extreme weather conditions.
The standard of living is very low, and almost everyone is poor. Quoting Geshela, “The people are struggling to fulfil their most basic needs. Food is not about tasty or not. It is for their basic survival”. There is no electricity or communications or modern health and sanitation services. There are no roads passable to motor vehicles leading into the Lingshed area. Nearly all essential foods and construction supplies must be brought in by mule-train or man-packed.
Travelling from Leh, the capital of Ladakh to Lingshed takes four to five days under the best conditions. The long winter snow closes the roads and passes entirely for six months annually. Conversely, weak soil conditions results in a short growing season. Local farmers have to work very hard for limited crop yields. People suffer commonly from malnutrition. As a result of limited supplies, poverty and isolation, the people of Lingshed desperately need nutritious food and basic necessities of modern life, such as electricity, medical supplies, and so forth. In the entire Lingshed area, there is no hospital or even a resident doctor or nurse versed in western medicine. The people depend heavily on Amchi (doctor of Tibetan Medicine) using traditional diagnosis and herbal medicines. However, for the most part, people cannot afford the services of these Amchi due to poverty. Many in Lingshed area, young and old die of sickness due to poor medical availability. It is heartbreaking to see numerous young mothers in the Lingshed area die when giving birth to their children, due to lack of medical support.
In today’s context, less than five percent of the women living in the Lingshed area can read. This unfortunate fact has prevented the local women from controlling their own destinies. Over the centuries, instead of pursuing a career, most local women remain with their families and spend their entire lives working in the fields. For the last 40 years, primary education has been made available only to a limited number of Lingshed students. On top of that, schools were only opened during the summer months. Hence, there is no proper education for all the young in Lingshed area. Most of the children will end up working in the fields as farmers.
Although this sad situation has persisted for decades, it does not need to continue this way if there is a way to help them.