Season of 2018 started in Zangla
In the beginning of July Balázs, our architect team leader arrived to Zangla. In the meantime, a group of 12 volunteers was also making their way, but choosing a different route: trekking through the mountains from Photoksar, with the help of a guide and a horseman with his horses, they reached the village in 6 days.
Upon arrival they were greeted by Joanna, who was responsible for preparing the fieldwork in June. One by one she visited every family in Zangla to talk with the villagers about the Community Solarisation project. She had meetings with the village committee to discuss which families would most need the help of the Foundation to boost their winter heating with solar windows that help utilise the heat of the Sun, which houses could be refurbished with passive solar building design and to choose the potential participants of this year’s project.
This year we also cooperate with the community of the Zangla Nunnery within the frameworks of our Community Solarisation project. We will help the nuns to winter-proof the nunnery by laying the foundations for a new classroom that will enable winter schooling for the children. Our volunteers and the nuns are already collecting the stones for the construction.
Our definition of Community Architecture is to cooperate and co-learn in a partnership with the community. The project should always be based on local needs and aimed at supporting the village community with materials that cannot be produced locally (e.g. glass panes), architectural planning and coordination, volunteer work.
Community Architecture is accompanied by our long-running educational initiative. Apart from the children, this year we are aiming to reach more adults through our Homestay English programme. Teaching-volunteers will visit the families and provide education primarily for local women.
We also have a group of three researchers surveying the Zanskar Valley. Panni, Peti and Stanzin are gathering data which will help us better understand the present and the future of Ladakhi society. The focus is on communities’ relation towards their cultural heritage, how communities see the past and the future of the region and also on how different generations experience transformations brought about by fast modernisation.