Sonam Wangchuk, the man who can save the world: “We need to explore our own deserts and land, which need to be healed and managed on the planet itself.”

Share this on

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Sonam Wangchuk

Remember the iconic film ‘3 Idiots’… the 2009 film that had the youngsters trippin’ on idealism, truth and friendship… The film was a blockbuster and everybody heralded this revolutionary cinematic wonder that was so starkly different from the other ‘dhak dhakmasala films that Bollywood was known for But did you know Aamir Khan’s character Phunsukh Wangdu was based on Ladakh’s maverick innovator, educationist and activist Sonam Wangchuk?

It’s sad but true… Not too many people know about Sonam Wangchuk. And why should they? No history book has bothered to document this genius’s vision. 3 Idiots was a runaway hit but the man Sonam Wangchuk was still shrouded in anonymity… a name hidden in obscurity, gathering dust in a tiny village in Ladakh, even though he won two major Global awards.

In fact, Wangchuk was recently in the news for fasting for 21 days to ‘Save Ladakh’. It was a protest against climate change, Save the Himalayas, environmental woes and government apathy. Did it make a difference? Sumita Chakraborty, Editor-in-chief, TheGlitz, profiles the innovator, environmentalist and educationist, every Indian needs to know about – Sonam Wangchuk!

Sonam Wangchuk
**EDS: SCREENGRAB VIA @Wangchuk66 TWEETED ON March 26, 2024** Leh: Education reformist and climate activist Sonam Wangchuk speaks on the 21st day of his ‘climate fast’ during a hunger strike with others demanding statehood for Ladakh and its inclusion in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. (PTI Photo)

So who is Sonam Wangchuk?

57-year-old Sonam Wangchuk is a visionary engineer, innovator, and educator hailed for his transformative contributions to sustainable development and education in the Himalayan region. Born in the mountainous terrain of Ladakh, India, Sonam Wangchuk has dedicated his life to addressing the challenges faced by communities in the high-altitude regions.

Sonam Wangchuk
Sonam Wangchuk

More About The Man

He was homeschooled by his mother as there were no schools in the hard mountainous terrain where he stayed. After he finished his schooling, his father wanted him to become a civil engineer but Sonam opted for mechanical engineering. Infuriated by his choice, Sonam’s father refused to support his further edition. Sonam, however, tackled challenges his way – he became a tutor and took tuition of 10 standard students to finance his further education in mechanical engineering at NIT Srinagar.

Sonam Wangchuk
Sonam Wangchuk

Ice Stupa

One of Wangchuk’s most notable achievements is the invention of the “Ice Stupa” technology. Concerned about the water scarcity faced by farmers in Ladakh due to melting glaciers, Wangchuk devised a brilliant solution inspired by the traditional concept of building stupas. The Ice Stupa is an artificial glacier that stores winter runoff water in the form of ice, which gradually melts during the spring and summer months, providing a reliable water source for irrigation.

Wangchuk’s innovative approach to water conservation has garnered international acclaim and has been replicated in various mountainous regions around the world facing similar water challenges. His work has not only helped alleviate water scarcity but has also empowered local communities to adapt to climate change and sustain their livelihoods.

SECMOL

In addition to his environmental efforts, Sonam Wangchuk is a passionate advocate for education reform. He is the founder of the Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL), an organization dedicated to improving the quality of education in Ladakh and fostering a culture of innovation and creativity among students. Under Wangchuk’s leadership, SECMOL has pioneered alternative teaching methods, including the use of solar-powered classrooms and hands-on learning experiences, to make education more accessible and engaging for students in remote Himalayan villages.

Sonam has also invented special heater tents for the Indian army to survive in minus zero-degree temperatures.

Awards But No Recognition

Sonam Wangchuk’s remarkable achievements have earned him numerous accolades, including the prestigious Rolex Award for Enterprise and the Ramon Magsaysay Award, often referred to as Asia’s Nobel Prize. Through his innovative solutions and unwavering commitment to social change, Wangchuk continues to inspire and empower communities in the Himalayas and beyond, leaving a lasting legacy of hope and progress for future generations.

Quote

“Don’t blame the child for forgetting lessons; make the lessons unforgettable. I believe that education should be about healing the earth and dealing with the crises that we are in. We need to explore our own deserts and land, which need to be healed and managed on the planet itself.”

Sonam Wangchuk

HAPPY EARTH DAY… #SaveLadakh
This time we celebrated in Tarchid village where Ice Stupa artificial glaciers awards were also announced.
Earlier today I got back to this moonland after a wonderful day in Bangaluru where I attended Foundation Day of@log9materials who make energy solutions in India for India. We’re exploring energy collaborations for Ladakh. I also met many ‘friends of Ladakh’ at Freedom Park… Spoke & sang few songs including the National Anthem. Thank you all for all your support 🙏

Sonam Wangchuk
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Tags

Related articles

TheGlitz has heard a lot about how aluminum is trendsetting in furniture design. So we called Mangala Patil and Varsha Yashvant, Co-founders of VAASA, to tell us more about this magical element in furniture design. Read on as Mangala and Varsha, Co-founders of VAASA tell us what makes aluminum the hero in furniture design these days.
A world of ethical luxury awaits as the doors of Avira Diamonds, India’s finest lab-grown diamonds brand swing open their fourth store in Bangalore. Each stunning piece is a testament to their passion and determination to revolutionise the fine diamond industry by making sustainable luxury attainable for every Indian family.
There's a 'Red Alert' in Maxim City for a scorching heat wave and what better way to escape the scorching heat than by seeking refuge in your inside haven replete with indoor plants in pretty planters? Whether it's your office or living room, a touch of green can make it a haven of tranquility more so with Bonasila planters. TheGlitz pick of the week: Planters by Bonasila.These exquisite planters will infuse your living space with a touch of nature, revitalizing the ambiance.
TheGlitz had heard a lot about the #ShareTheLoad campaign initiated by Ariel India. So when they announced the kickstart of their newest #ShareTheLoad campaign film event which would be graced by Sonam Kapoor, Anil Kapoor and moderated by Neha Dhupia, we gladly went over to the Sofitel Hotel, Mumbai, where the event was happening. The new #ShareTheLoad campaign film is as poignant and sensitive as the others. TheGlitz reports.
'Defying Conventions: A Maverick Healthcare Odyssey' stands out amongst the milieu of biographies. Not only because it is the biography of a truly remarkable woman like Dr. Minnie Bodhanwala but also because it is a well-told narrative of a life, truly extraordinary. Published by Asiaone Media Group, this biography chronicles detailed chapters of Dr. Minnie Bodhanwala's amazing life without giving it any added frills. TheGlitz reviews...