SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: Tibetan Children’s Villages).

Leh is the one of the two capitals of the Union Territory of Ladakh, located in the upper north of India. Around 31,000 people live in this city, and the territory is disputed between India, Pakistan, and China. Many inhabitants of Leh are ethnic Tibetan, and, as they try to make a life for themselves in exile, they also face climate change. Children are most vulnerable to these difficult living conditions.

Since 1975, Tibetan Children’s Villages (an independent charity which is partly supported through SOS Children’s Villages sponsorships) has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Leh-Ladakh.

Average temperature increase in Leh

Children vulnerable to climate change

Leh is located in the montainous Himalayas. In the last forty years, there has been an average temperature increase of 3°C, causing less snowfall and faster melting. The excessive glacier melt in the area influences 80% of farmers in the region. The water of the glacier is their primary source of water, which they use for irrigation. Furthermore, the melting of the glaciers creates floods, which has devastating consequences for people in the city, destroying hundreds of lives and homes. In one of those floods, in 2010, around 300 people were killed. Children are especially vulnerable to these floods, having to survive in the chaos that follows.

Tibetan refugees in Leh

Children as refugees

After the first emigration in 1959, two generations of Tibetans have been born and raised in exile in India today. In addition, new refugees continue to arrive from Tibet, the autonomous region of China. They have often suffered repression and brutality, which led them to flee to India. The scars of these experiences remain. About 6,700 Tibetan refugees live in exile in Leh. Dharamsala is the seat of the Central Tibetan Administration and the 14th Dalai Lama. Many Tibetan children are sent to Dharamsala by their parents because they see it as the only opportunity for their child to receive a Tibetan education.

Your support makes a different for children in Leh-Ladakh

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Learn at out kindergartens and schools
Strengthening communities and children. We work hard to make sure that children stay at school for as long as possible (photo: Tibetan Children’s Villages).

How your support helps in Leh-Ladakh

Providing quality education
SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children and young people have access to high-quality education, in accordance with their Tibetan beliefs. We help them learn and develop in a safe and supportive environment. We train teachers on children’s rights and child-centered learning, so that each child can get the most out of their education. Young children spend time playing and learning at kindergarten. This prepares them for primary school.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in Leh-Ladakh. Due to the great number of children in need of care, houses may have up to thirty members and sometimes even more. In order to allow caregivers to spend more time looking after the needs of the children, all the meals are prepared at a central kitchen and then distributed to the homes. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare.