Teenager setting up libraries and playgrounds for children in Leh
On her own Ananya raised Rs1 million to build libraries and playgrounds in Leh, 17,000 feet up in the Himalayas
Ananya Saluja was just like any other teenager till she was 15. That was two years ago. Around that time, the Sri Ram School student in Gurgaon visited Leh in Ladakh as a part of the school's community programme.
The programme involved teaching underprivileged children. In the process, Ananya discovered her true happiness lay in this direction. In the next three summer breaks Ananya kept returning to Leh and found the girls and boys - her students -were waiting for her.
She did not go empty handed. On her own Ananya raised Rs1 million to build libraries and playgrounds in Leh, 17,000 feet up in the Himalayas.
Ananya received help from her former teacher, Sujata Sahu, who runs a foundation for children in Leh.
In the last three years, Ananya spends her summer break in various villages in Ladakh. She has been to remote villages like Liktsey, Turtuk, Tailing, and Matho. Ananya has been widely interviewed since in the media.
In her interviews her fondness and warms for the children up in the mountain comes across clearly: "During the programme, I got really close to the kids. Their happiness at being taught is a rewarding experience. I decided this is what I want to do."
Sujata Sahu has been Ananya's inspiration. Sahu founded the 17000 Ft Foundation in 2012 to help the kids in Leh to a proper education. She had famously trekked three days up and down steep paths with 1,500kg of studies related materials carried on the back of 25 horses in sub-zero temperature to 100-odd children waiting for her arrival.
Aananya was guided by Sahu's foundation. The foundation's focus to provide better opportunities for indigenous tribes of Ladakh, so they do not have to migrate helplessly into big cities far away from their eco-system without any grounding in education.
Teaching the kids and skilling them also means future employment could be indigenously generated. Other NGOs, like books by Pratham Education Foundation and Scholastic India, have contributed to the Foundation's work.
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