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India: A solar-powered school for the Himalayas

Economic, social  development & support

India: A solar-powered school for the Himalayas

  • Status

    Project completed

  • Location India

In the most Northern part of India, nestled between the Himalayan, Jammu and Kashmir mountains at the crossroads of the legendary Silk Road, is the village of Zanskar. At 3,500 metres high, Zanskar is one of the coldest and most isolated villages in the world: the 15,000 Zanskarpans find the roads leading to their town blocked off by snow two thirds of the year. This has a tremendous impact on the Zanskar education system.

Currently, the Landom Model High School only educates students through to the 10th grade. To complete their high school education, students must leave Zanskar on a dangerous and chaotic two-day bus ride down to the city of Jammu. In addition, classes take place in cramped quarters, with exams taken outside on dusty grounds.

To offer children in Zanskar the benefit of a high quality education, in their own environment and to permit them to bring to their region autonomy and prosperity, the Alstom Foundation is partnering with the Aid au Zanskar-AAZ NGO and the Ladakh Ecological Development Group to finance a Landon Model High School extension that will:

  • Increase classroom sizes from 14m2 to 30m2
  • Create seven new larger classrooms for the five lower grades
  • Be laid out to create two separate playgrounds for the younger students
  • Capture a maximum amount of sunlight
  • Use solar power to complement electricity in providing heat

This project is a stepping stone toward long-term plans, to eventually open an 11th and 12th grade curriculum, thereby relieving students from expatriation and expensive living arrangements away from their native culture. Two passive solar housing specialist volunteers from Architects without Borders will be dedicated full-time to the project for two months each year over four years.

Aide Au Zanskar
Aide Au Zanskar (AAZ) is a French NGO created in 1988 in connection with the Ladakh Environmental Development Group teaming up with ASF (Architectes sans Frontieres).

The Ladakh Ecological Development Group is a non-governmental organisation based at Leh. It works towards serving the underprivileged people residing in structurally disadvantaged areas of Ladakh and has been striving to address the environmental and cultural issues. 

Groupe Energies Renouvelables, Environnement et Solidarités. GERES wants to contribute to environmental preservation, reduce climate changes and their outcomes, lower the precariousness of energetic resources and improve the living conditions of the communities. 

Sponsor: Country President of Alstom India & South Asia, Sunand Sharma

This is an impressive project that brings expert architectural inputs to remodel the school to use natural sunlight for both lighting and heating and an ingenious use of alternate energy in a situation where hydro-electric power is not available for those needs.

  • Promoter

    David Bomsel