Introducing our first cohort of the Naropa Fellows, a diverse group of youth from the Himalayas and beyond who are serious about making the Himalayas a better place.
**The list is presently incomplete and is still in the process of being updated.
“The Naropa Fellowship will provide an ideal climate for me to develop my multidisciplinary interests and build an environment to commit myself to work pragmatically on different problems. My eagerness to do something for my own people makes this opportunity even more significant.”
Rigzin Angmo is a graduate in Political Science from the Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Delhi University. Being a vigorous and well-determined individual, Rigzin has always been curious about things. It was in Delhi that she was acquainted with leadership skills; beginning with being elected the head girl of her school. The true meaning of education unfolded for her gradually, and it was during this time that she participated in maximum number of activities. She went for a national integration camp with the National Cadet Corps (NCC), became a core member of the Ladakh Welfare Society Delhi, worked with the Waterkeeper Alliance and the Achi Association. She believes in working for humanity and is associated with Live to Love as Programme Executive and has done many projects for the well-being of the regional youth. Her biggest difficulty lies in saying ‘no’ to people. The most beautiful and impeccable gift that she has are her parents and grandparents as they have played a great role in shaping, bringing out the best and guiding her to the right path. With every step of her education she realises how the world functions and what role she should play in it.
“The greatest danger that the world is currently facing is rapid growth and development at the expense of culture and traditions. We need to find the right approach towards development, keeping one’s culture and heritage intact in the process. Being a Ladakhi, the rapid modernisation and the deteriorating culture concerns me, and I want to use the platform that Naropa Fellowship has presented me to come up with ideas and techniques to find a balance between development and cultural preservation.”
Padma Angmo has a Masters in Political Science from Punjab University, Chandigarh, and a Bachelors in Political Science from Hindu College, University of Delhi. She is currently interning with Live to Love India as a Programme Assistant and has helped the organisation in making its Summer Youth Programs 2018 a success. Padma is a travel enthusiast who loves meeting and interacting with new people. She has been running a homestay via AirBnB for the past three years and has hosted many interesting individuals. During her high school days, she led various teams.
“The Naropa Fellowship is the need of the hour; it’s a curriculum designed to engage youth with practical issues around us. The problems faced by people living in the Himalayas need to be broadly studied and strategically solved. The entrepreneurship, social, cultural, communication and leadership tracks at Naropa will help me become a better leader. Naropa’s emphasis on entrepreneurship will help us cope with unemployment problems in the Himalayan region. I feel lucky to be a part of this Fellowship.”
Abdul Majid Attar has a Bachelors in Computer Applications from Kashmir University. He has worked with the JK Government Grievance Cell as an intern, in the field of environment. He has led various cleanliness drives in the high-altitude lakes of Kashmir and his work has been appreciated widely. He has also done basic and advanced mountaineering and skiing courses at the Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports. He is a trekker and has visited about 20 high altitude lakes. He has been an active member in various NGOs which work for sustainable development in the Himalayas. His club has been active in counteracting fires in the forests of Pahalgam, Kashmir. Majid’s professional photographs have been used in various news magazines and articles. At Naropa, he wants to enhance his skills and knowledge under the guidance of experienced faculty and other fellow mates.
“The Naropa Fellowship’s uniquely designed curriculum especially for the Himalayan region, emphasising on entrepreneurial skills, exposure to renowned faculty and its live-action project is a dream come true for a Himalayan native like myself. I believe the Fellowship will provide valuable experiences to boost my personal growth and help in finding sustainable solutions for our region.”
Tanzin Bodh is from Lahaul and received his Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from A.P. Goyal University, Shimla. Since childhood, he has always been an enthusiastic learner and fulfilled various leadership roles in school and college. He has been actively involved in promoting eco-friendly activities with the Young Drukpa Association (YDA) Garsha. Being a native of a beautiful place, he wants to preserve the distinct culture and fragile environment of the Himalayas. He also invests in tutoring younger students from his place with their academics. At Naropa, he aspires to learn to develop practical solutions for the betterment of the unique Himalayan ecology and its people.
“Ladakh remains one of the few places where nature is still strong and in its full might. My time at the Naropa Fellowship would be spent in intimately learning about that cardinal rule of nature from the Ladakhis – that it cannot be contained and tamed.”
Abhishek has a Diploma in Liberal Studies from the Young India Fellowship. He is an eternal optimist and a curious soul who has always valued experience over everything else. Being the captain of his school thought him the importance of discipline and responsibility. A degree in Engineering and then his tenure as a software engineer taught him the value of perseverance. His interest in public policy and fascination towards the Indian political system paved the way for him to work as a research associate for a Lok Sabha MP. He loves children and wishes to make education, health and governance in India more child-friendly.
“I come from an academic background which is firmly grounded in the transformative capacities of education.
The Naropa Fellowship, for me, is an opportunity to develop pedagogical models moving across disciplines, tailored to the Himalayan region. Through this Fellowship, I am looking at developing an alternative knowledge economy born of the region, to maintain cultural awareness and pride in the way of life. This model will allow the youth in the region to recognise the mono-culture that seems to be pervading under the guise of progress and take an informed stand against it.”
Ishita Jain is a performative researcher. She is currently completing her Masters in Architectural History at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, London. She has Bachelors in Architecture, English Literature and Indian Classical dance (Kathak). Her interest in pedagogy developed during the two years she taught Architectural Design and History at the Institute of Design Environment and Architecture, Indus University, Ahmedabad, India. She is currently writing textbooks for Secondary School in Sierra Leone through a collaboration with the Solon Foundation in London which works to restore the balance in school education after the ravages of Ebola.
“The Naropa Fellowship is a first of its kind programme. I believe that it will transform many young individuals like me into future leaders who can give back to society through entrepreneurship and much more.”
Stanzin Jorden has done his Bachelors in Technology from the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi. He has also done his Masters in Buddhist Studies from the University of Delhi. He is inclined towards Philosophy and Arts and he also has keen interest in learning new skills. He is an introverted person but he takes this weakness as a strength by being a good listener and observant. At the Naropa Fellowship he aspires to learn new skills under the guidance of world class faculty so that he can give back maximum to his motherland.
“Naropa has an unconventional curriculum along with the finest faculty, an innovative learning model and a beautiful cause to work for. I am definite that this will enhance my skills and further give me an opportunity to work towards this cause.”
Gurleen Kaur Kalsey has a Bachelors in Economics from Delhi University and has been an office bearer in her college societies, along with interning with various organisations like the DMRC and the MHRD. She has worked with FICCI-CSR and has actively volunteered with social organisations like CRY and My Angels Academy. She believes in the sayings – ‘Happiness is real only when shared’ and ‘The core of (wo)man's spirit comes from new experiences.’ These sayings have fired her decision to explore and create a path of her own.
“As I was brought up in a village and had never got this kind of opportunity I am excited to explore myself and work towards my vision of life. For me, the Naropa Fellowship is about learning new things!”
Thinley Nurboo hails from Liktsey village. He grew up in a typical Ladakhi joint family and went on to do his Masters in English from Jammu University. Over the past decade, he has watched a fair number of Changthang youngsters moving out of Ladakh for higher education. He understood that the Changthang people would face major challenges if they remained naive about the larger world. That is how he became committed to building their capacity along with more like-minded people from his own region. Thinley has a potpourri of interests in his profile; he loves to cook for his family and friends very often. There is a ton to weigh in his account of hardships and disappointments; he thinks that if he would have managed to grab a better education since elementary school, he could have helped at a greater scale than now. However, it is this pain that drives him to work more. He is successfully managing the SAVE Learning Centre (SLCC), Choglamsar, where he teaches English and conducts personality development workshops for Changthang students from under-privileged backgrounds. Through the SLCC, now around 80 youngsters are exploring their vision through various arts, music, outdoor and adventure activities, professional skating, career counselling and many more.
“The Naropa Fellowship is not just any entrepreneurship programme, but a life-changing experience. Though I belong to the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, I haven’t spent my life there; this distance has kept me from understanding ground realities which exist in the mountains. Here, at Hemis, I will be taught to provide solutions to these problems while being a part of the locals’ lives. Naropa’s diverse curriculum will equip me with skills to work for a cause that resonates within me.”
Anjali Panwar Bachelors in Social Sciences from the Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar and Masters in Political Science from the University of Delhi. Apart from politics, she has interests in learning about diverse histories and cultures. She served as head girl in schools and has been a leader ever since. She is a state-level chess player. She enjoys writing and has won many essay competitions in her school and college. “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile” – Anjali firmly believes in this principle, and at Naropa Fellowship, she aspires to be equipped with skills to realise it.
“The one-year intensive course on management and entrepreneurship provided by the Naropa Fellowship is a course tailored for me to achieve my goal of working for the Himalayan communities . I aim to tackle the problems persisting in the Himalayan region, particularly the lack of employment opportunities, which is the main reason for the community remaining marginalised. The Naropa Fellowship will provide me an exposure and will be the first step towards my journey.”
Akshata Pradhan graduated in Biotechnology before pursuing her Masters in Environment Science from Bangalore University. She previously worked as an intern at the Centre for Ecological Sciences at IISc, Bangalore. Her recent involvement with an NGO, Wildlife Conservation Society of India, required her to conduct field surveys and interview village households. This provided her a wholesome experience in working with communities at the grass roots level. But working briefly with ICIMOD at a young age had a huge influence in developing her interest to provide alternative livelihoods for people living in the trans-Himalayan region.
“The most difficult phase in a human’s life is change. Not all individuals want to convert their everyday lifestyle into a completely different layout. Having this in mind I would like to take a leap of faith with the Naropa Fellowship and experience head-on the true meaning of change. Combining all the essential tools of Management – Finance, Marketing and now Entrepreneurship—the Naropa Fellowship will give me an opportunity to grow individually, build the society around me, and also help me keep in check my burning desire to learn.”
Nepoleon Rai is a fresh graduate in Business Administration from Pokhara University, Kathmandu, Nepal. He has worked in the Kantipur Media Group, a leading media house, as the MIS head (Management Information System) of the Marketing Department. More recently, he had been working as the MIS executive for a trading company. Even as a child he was keenly interested to learn a variety of things. He excelled in sports as well as academics when needed to, handling immense pressure with ease. He hopes to achieve even greater heights of excellence with the guidance of the Naropa Fellowship.
“The Naropa Fellowship will give me the opportunity to sharpen my leadership skills and help to solve community problems through an entrepreneurial outlook. I want to network and learn with people who feel for the Himalayan and share the common vision for the welfare of the region.”
Sanjaya Regmi has a Masters in Public Health and graduated in MIT from the Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bangalore. He is a university rank holder and received several awards during student life. He was working for Save the Children International in a research- based community transformation project in the remote areas of Nepal with technical assistance from the International Reproductive Health, Georgetown University. He has led and contributed to many health projects in Nepal and India through his innovative inputs. He loves to travel and to study human society. He is on a mission to make the world more joyful by minimising the suffering of people through research and entrepreneurship.
“The moment I heard about the Naropa Fellowship, I somehow felt I belong here; yes, for the love of the mountains and its people. This opportunity will help me grow as an individual because it offers us good learning experiences. The idea of building the potential of the Himalayas by involving its very own people, by empowering them to build skills is the key. I am certain that all of us at Naropa will come out strong and confident and will be able enough to take a lead to foster sustainable growth in the Himalayan region.”
Aditi Sharma recently completed her Masters in Ecology, Environment and Sustainable Development from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati. The holistic approach of the course helped her open up and look through the angle which tries to bring a balance between the three key aspects of sustainability—ecology, society and economy. The love for Himalayas got reflected in her dissertation, titled “A trail of subdued echo in the mountains: A study of disaster risk perceptions of the community people affixed to 2013 Himalayan Tsunami in Rudraprayag District, Uttarakhand” for which she received the award for best research project. Prior to this, she graduated in Journalism and Mass Communication and gained a year-long work experience with a start-up company in their content and corporate communications department. Owing to her roots, Aditi’s association with the mountains comes naturally to her. She wants to give back to the nurturing Himalayas and its people in any way possible.
“The Naropa Fellowship is a unique platform where I can groom myself for future endeavours with multicultural exposure. This Fellowship will equip me with skills needed to bring positive impact and to enrich lives of people in the rural Himalayan region.”
Radha is a graduate in Social Work and Rural Development from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. Over the last three years, she has been involved with Hamro Palo (Her Turn), a NGO working for empowerment of adolescents in rural areas of Nepal. Prior to joining Her Turn, Radha was involved in various organisations volunteering and advocating for different social issues. In the aftermath of the devastating Nepal earthquake in 2015, she co-led a creative learning project for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder relief of students in some of the affected areas. She says it is important for human beings to have compassion for other beings and the environment.
“I believe that the Naropa Fellowship will be the perfect platform to understand and work towards a sustainable future for the Himalayan region. Learning from leading experts, the unique course structure and the ‘live-action project’ will prepare us for a better tomorrow and will also help me grow as an individual.”
Samrat has a Bachelors in Business Administration from the College of Management, Kathmandu. He has been president of student-led clubs in college. He was involved with several NGOs and has also taught children in a remote area in Nepal. He has worked with Educating Nepal, which provides free education to indigenous communities; and with Heartbeat, which works for street children. An avid trekker, he has explored several regions in Nepal and written about his travel exploits for a national weekly-magazine. He also has experience working with children as a public speaking coach and been involved with art projects.
“The Naropa Fellowship will provide me mentorship and academic knowledge to pilot my dream project, which is implementing waste management solutions in the Himalayan region.”
Nagender is a grounded guy who loves to dirty his hands. He wants to work for waste management and environmental issues among the tribal communities and tourist places in the Himalayas. He is a mechanical engineer by degree but a social worker by heart. He has worked in five primary government schools and in the slums of Thane, Maharashtra while doing the two-year Gandhi Fellowship. He is extroverted and likes interacting with communities. Confidence and passion reflect in his personality. He is straight forward and loves adventure. He is very adaptive, can work with diverse kinds of people and is good with team work.
"Naropa's idea of grooming young extraordinary men and women for entrepreneurial skills and motivating them to drive the change that they want to see in the world is what enthralled me. Learning from eminent faculty and living in the beautiful Hemis area would play an important role in my personal growth."
Abhishek Singh graduated in Physical Sciences from Delhi University. Being good at sports, he was always involved in many sporting events since school. He was the captain of his school football team and represented his school at the state-level Long Jump competition. He took part in dance, debate and collage competitions. Abhishek believes in being active and occupied, and has taken up many online courses including one in graphic designing and another in social change. He was the house captain in his school and knows the importance of team work and responsibilities. He strongly believes in giving back to the people of the Himalayas and India; and really believes that sport can bring about radical change.
"Delivered by leading experts, the Naropa Fellowship will equip me with the rigour of experiential learning and extensive exposure to all areas of management while being located in the Higher Himalayas. The idea of acquiring in-depth knowledge and getting equipped with the skills and tools needed to successfully promote business and enterprise is very appealing to me. The Fellowship will help me attain true happiness in knowing that I am part of a movement which can make a difference and change lives."
Himanshu has recently graduated in business administration from NMIMS, Mumbai. As a business student, he’s had a knack for entrepreneurship and marketing. He’s had the chance to delve into this passion and work on his innovative mindset through projects and ventures. He has frequently taken on management and leadership roles throughout his college life. He's always on the lookout for an opportunity to learn and explore. He’s interned at organisations like Vodafone and Hungama and has experience in market research and product development. A determined and dedicated individual, Himanshu has several achievements in sports and athletics as well. Over the years he has grown a desire to give back and bring change to society. He has actively participated in numerous social initiatives and has worked with organisations like Rotaract and Yuva. Himanshu believes in doing things on his own terms and following his instincts. He strives for perfection in whatever he does and tries to bring out his best self in every situation.
“Being a student of Environmental Sciences, I am interested in understanding the impact of development on fragile environments of Himalayas, specifically Ladakh, so that programmes and policies could be frames in such a way that there is sustainable development in the Himalayas.”
Urgain Spaldon is from Ladakh. She completed her schooling from Government High School, Igoo Leh, and her Bachelors from Jammu University. She has just finished her Masters in Environmental Science from the University of Kashmir, Srinagar, for which she submitted her thesis, “Ichthyofauna of Ferozpora Nallah of Kashmir”. She is an active member of the Student Educational Forum Igoo (SEFI), which works for the welfare of students of Igoo village.
“I am drawn by Naropa’s inclination towards the Himalayan region and the opportunity to learn from expert faculty and among vibrant companions. The Naropa Fellowship will help to develop and hone entrepreneurial skills, which will support me in exploring a sustainable and economical way of life. The sensitivity to culture will focus my energy on building upon personal growth alongside local knowledge.”
Rigzin Yangdol graduated in Political Sciences from IP College, Delhi University. She has been working on the family farm alongside her mother for some time. She is traditional when it comes to procuring food. In the summer, she works in the village farm on vegetable patches, and helps in picking fruits and grafting in her family’s small orchards. She also makes food preserves (to enjoy in winter) and is interested in wild edible plants. Currently she is involved with the Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust, which works on community-based conservation of wildlife. She has participated in projects on education and conflict mitigation also with active involvement in building a livestock enclosure. She enjoys working in groups because it induces learning from different perspectives and makes work easier and fun. She is inclined toward lifestyles with minimal waste and strictly follows it herself.