Ladakh Trains Its Young Entrepreneurs

21 May 2018

Naropa Fellowship aims to impart entrepreneurial skills to local graduates in Ladakh

Source: Times of India, 21 May 2018

Hundreds of children in Ladakh do not have access to higher education, due to lack of infrastructure. For most local students, moving to a different city in search of better opportunities is the only option.

As a result of high migration, Ladakh also does not have many businesses or job opportunties for the local graduates, according to Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche, chairperson of Druk Padma Karpo School, and stray animal care and management centre. He is also the director of Young Drukpa Association, Ladakh.

"Children of the Himalayas did not have any access to schools earlier and they used to spend their time playing with their animals," said Rinpoche.

Government initiatives have established schools in recent decade in Ladakh, he informed. "This has given the students an access to school education, yet not all of these students opt for higher education. Even among those who do, they have to do it at the cost of leaving behind their homeland forever. Due this migration, the Ladakh region is not only less developed in modern terms, but is also losing its cultural heritage," said Rinpoche.

Entrepreneural skills can help in bringing about the change, says Pramath Raj Sinha, founding dean of the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad, and the co-founder of Ashoka University, Sonipat. "The region has untapped potential as it can be used in the hospitality, tourism, agri-food sectors. If the youth from the area develop entrepreneurial skills, they can address the challenges of the region but also provide jobs to others and turn around the migration cycle."

Rinpoche and Singh Co-founded the Naropa Fellowship - a one-year scholarship programmed that aims to impart entrepreneurial skills to students. Fresh graduates and working professionals, especially the natives of Ladakh can apply for the scholarship. The course will help the follows learn about the Ladakhi culture and get an insight on setting up a business.

"The aim of the course is to create employment in the region by entrepreneurship. We aim to inculcate the sense of purpose in these future businessmen. For instance, we would want them to set up an Uber service for women in Ladakh," says Singh.

The fellowship is currently inviting applications for the first session beginning September 2018. First 40 out of the total 50 students of the first bath will be rewarded full scholarship worth Rs10,00,000. Insterested students can appy at before July 7, 2018.