Our work is not about putting a wall around cultures. On the contrary, it is about establishing closer contact between the most and least industrial parts of the world. We have found that this contact is genuinely empowering, and can help to strengthen communities in both North and South.
~ Helena Norberg-Hodge ~
Ladakh, also known as ‘Little Tibet‘, is a beautiful desert land in the Western Himalayas, with few natural resources and an extreme climate. Yet, it has been home to a thriving culture in tune with nature for over a thousand years. Traditions of frugality and cooperation, coupled with detailed location specific knowledge, enabled the Ladakhis to prosper.
When Ladakh was opened up to ‘modern development’, the forces of the global growth economy and centuries of ecological balance and social harmony came under threat. Ladakh now faces many of the problems associated with industrialized countries, such as a rural to urban migration, unemployment, pollution and conflicts. However, Ladakhi civil society is responding to these issues with a growing number of positive initiatives that is helping Ladakh find its own path, rather than blindly emulating Western-style development.
Local Futures (and its predecessors) has been part of this process for a long time. Our work in Ladakh is based on over 40 years working in the region.
Since 1978, Local Futures has been providing Ladakhis with information about the impact of conventional development in other parts of the world, while exploring more sustainable patterns of development in Ladakh itself, based on the use of local knowledge and resources. Local Futures has helped to establish and still collaborates with several important indigenous organizations in Ladakh, including the Ladakh Ecological Development Group (LEDeG), the Women’s Alliance of Ladakh, the Amchi Association, and the Ladakh Environment and Health Organisation (LEHO). To read more about our actions in Ladakh Local Futures’ History in Ladakh.
The summer of 2017 was a busy period for Local Futures. We organized a four-day Mindful Futures Workshop, brought about in collaboration with Flowering Dharma – a youth-led organisation – and Skarma Gurmet from Juley Ladakh. We also developed a Learning from Ladakh programme for Operations Groundswell (OG). Youth from the US, Canada and Mexico took part in the programme, which involved a five-day intensive workshop, fieldtrips and encounters with Ladakhi NGOs and innovators. Read more about all our activities in Ladakh in 2017: Experiences in Ladakh 2017.