The project hostel renovation Jamyang Ling in Reru/ Zanskar in the Indian Himalayas

The school project "Jamyang Ling", initiated by Shambhala e.V. in 1993, has been supported by the Indian non-profit organization Lungnak Youth Association since the beginning. We are in constant contact with those being responsible.

A particularly urgent measure is the renovation of the hostel complex in Reru. This hostel currently accommodates 86 children who are unable to live with their parents due to the geographical conditions of the long streched Lungnak Valley. Especially the hostel kitchen, the 1st floor and some classrooms should be renovated after the extraordinary heavy rainfalls last years.

As all school buildings have been built according to traditional construction methods with mud bricks, wooden and clay ceilings. Moisture and prolonged snow loads during the fivemonth winter caused major damage that needs to be repaired. Another issue is the equipment of the hostel, some of which is over 20 years old. A particular concern here is the expansion and renovation of the old hostel kitchen, nowadays being black and sooty from the constant use of kerosene and wood stoves. Furthermore, the small rooms are to be enlarged, breakthroughs and a staircase to the upper floor have to be newly built.

The result should be a new, finally tiled workspace and washing-up area for the cook, enlarged storage space for food and a new stove in the large lounge and dining room of our small hostel residents.

Another meaningful improvement will be the expansion of the menu for the 86 hostel children. For years, Tsampa, roasted barley flour, was (and still is) the staple food. Due to the remoteness and barrenness of the arable land in Zanskar, fresh vegetables and fruits were a rather rare addition for many years. Another cook for the children in the hostel has to be hired. The extension of the road from Reru to Padum, as well as the purchase of two more private jeeps in the village make daily trips to Padum village and to the bazaar over there possible for the first time after more than almost 30 years. This way, the menu can be expanded to include vegetables and fruit (if available in Padum).

Need of the project Hostel Renovation:

Currently we have one thin blanket for each student. However, due to the severe winter weather conditions, this is insufficient. With the younger students the blankets often fall off the bed so we are looking to provide our students with a thick heavy Duvet. We also need a new stock of pillows and bed sheets due to natural wear and tear. 

Besides at present we have kind of beds which were bought many years ago and with the time they are not able to be used by now so we wish to have some Iron Beds which will be more stronger and will be used for a longer time.

So it is our wish to have this stock of Duvet, pillows and bed sheets before the next season. This will also help prevent our students getting cold and flues. This will make their living conditions considerably more comfortable.

In May 2023, remodeling work began on the 1st floor oft he Hostel. Since all the buildings were constructed using traditional earthen construction methods, the damage caused in recent years had become too great. In winter, during prolonged snowfall, many villagers had to be mobilized to clear the flat roof of the heavy snow loads. But again and again, meltwater seeped through the ceilings. 11 migrant workers from Nepal, with the support of local helpers, have now begun to gut the 1st floor to create a U-shaped opening to the south. An additional reinforcement of the mud walls is intended to create a comfortable climate for the hostel residents. Especially the very young ones suffered from colds in the unheated rooms in March and April every year when temperatures were below zero.

We hope that the work can be completed by the time of our visit this summer and that the students now housed in the village will be able to move into their new quarters in time for the 29th anniversary of the school on July 27, 2023.

Bernd Balaschus

Chairman of the Association Shambhala e.V.