Ladakh Personal Reflection 2019-2020

Why I joined Ladakh GC:

I have always felt that education is important, especially since I have had the opportunity for a large portion of my life to attend international or private schools around the world, where I’ve been privileged to have a wise variety of resources and tools open to help me learn. As there are many regions of the world where literacy rates are low, especially in areas where children cannot go to school because of family or economical reasons, I believe it is important to support people that don’t have the same resources available to them as I do. Therefore, as Ladakh GC follows the UN Sustainable Development Goal #4 of Quality Education, I felt that it was a cause similar to one that I believe in. Additionally, the Lamdon School (Ladakh GC’s partner school) incorporates Ladakhi culture into their curriculum so culture is preserved in addition to developing other necessary skills.

Ladakh: Run for Rights 2019

Run for Rights SWOT Analysis

STRENGTHS

The strengths of our service partnership are:

  • No one got lost – no one got hurt, we had the emergency team well coordinated
  • Lot of the stuff was available from last year so there was enough guides for logistics
  • Able to make a profit
  • Offered food and water
  • We planned for many different situations
  • Were coordinated
  • Marketed to the High School and many teachers were interestedWEAKNESSES

    Identify them and add strategies to minimise them:

    • Risk assessment was late as the guides of what to do weren’t organised
    • There needs to be a more logical order for what to do in terms of logistics
    • Less people for logistics
    • Confusion between pledge cards and risk bands
    • Too late for marketing
    • Unsure of placement in kilometer marker
    • Posters along the run weren’t visible or legible
    • Not enough people encouragement for runners – didn’t create the right environment (maybe need more people)
    • Wastage of food?
    • Not enough people showed up
    • Podcast
    • Not enough people to pack up event in school

OPPORTUNITIES
Further goals for our service partnership are:

      • Printing registration form
      • More communication with service office on the steps to organise events
      • Expectations and order need to be communicated by service
      • order
      • Maybe merge pledge cards and wrist bands into one
      • Clarify that pledge cards are competitive
      • Make it more of a family event
      • Earlier market
      • More organized shifts for GC members to allow members to participate in event
      • Move the date to not be close to exams etc.
      • More people for packing up the event on Saturday in school
      • Put snacks and water every kilometer for runners to hydrate and eat

THREATS

Identify them and add strategies to overcome them:

  • Weren’t extremely prepared for rain or lighting
  • Deadlines were cut close
  • Not properly marked hazards
  • Markers were wrong so runners confused

Ladakh Video

In Ladakh, we’ve recently been working in small groups in order to produce three separate videos that can combine to form one video that displays the different goals and plans of Ladakh GC, along with how they connect to the goals and plans of the group that Ladakh GC works with.

My group was set to answer the following questions:

  1. What are the goals for Ladakh GC this year?
  2. How do the goals of both Ladakh GC and the Lamdon and Thiksey schools overlap with the UN SDGS?
  3. What does the Lamdon school do for its students in terms of education?

This involved some research from all the different members, and I directed the younger members to focus on the first question, while myself and another 11th grader each took question 2 and 3 respectively. From this, we then wrote an audio script that would be recorded separately from the visuals.

The Audio Script:

In Ladakh GC, we aim to cover multiple aspects of service in order to best support out NGO. Our indirect goal for Ladakh GC is to raise money for improving infrastructure, specifically improving sanitary conditions, while our direct goal is to raise funds, $1000, to purchase musical and sports equipment and send a project week group to Ladakh.

Part of the UWCSEA core values is to have a strong connection to the world around us, and to have personal engagement in global issues. As a result, all Global Concern service groups are connected to at least one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, along with the personal goals of the NGO or organisation.

The UWCSEA Ladakh GC aims to promote Ladakhi culture whilst aiding the efforts of Lamdon school; this will be by providing necessary classroom materials and organizing 1 key event that we will raise majority of our funds by.

The schools that we work with, the Lamdon and Thiksey schools, have a specific mission that Ladakh GC supports through shared beliefs. The schools have an extensive list of their missions and visions, as can be seen below.

Vision and Mission of Lamdon School:

  • To eradicate evils from society by lighting the lamp of education, thus to have a fully content, happy and healthy society
  • To achieve our aims and objective
  • To provide quality education and equality to all
  • To preserve and promote the rich cultural heritage of Ladakh
  • To teach the Ladakhi language as a compulsory subject
  • To install good values in the minds of the children
  • To inculcate a sense of a responsible citizen
  • To teach the basics of Buddhism from the start
  • To provide free education to the children from poor families (by promotion of sponsorship)
  • To provide an education grounded in our own culture to lead a happy and prosperous life

Overall, the mission of the schools are to improve society by giving children of all backgrounds the opportunity to receive a quality education that encompasses the cultural heritage of Ladakh, the sense of good values, and the understanding and participation of Buddhism.

From this, it is possible to connect the goals of Ladakh GC and the Lamdon school to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals number four and number ten, which are quality education and reduced inequalities, respectively. These goals align closely with target 4.7 of quality education that: By 2030, all learners can acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.

The goals of Lamdon and Thiskey overlap with the goals of the UNSDGS in terms of giving quality education to those that can’t afford it, reduce inequality and bring about a change for a better world.

The Lamdon School in Leh has 2175 students and nine other branches all over Ladakh including in the most remote areas. Eight hundred of these students are sponsored by various different donors. The Lamdon School is especially devoted to helping children from remote areas and poor backgrounds and charges a very nominal fee from those students who do not have sponsors. It focuses on preserving their culture and to which end it has made Tibetan Language compulsory till class 8. Those students interested in pursuing their traditional language have the option of continuing with it till class 12. The school has two residential hostels – one for the boys and the other one for the girls. This is an essential aspect of a school devoted to making education accessible for children from remote areas. A hostel acts as a home away from home for these children and they become a family of sorts as their families are mostly very far away. It is critical to the development of a child to have a safe sanctuary to grow up in.

Riding for the Disabled Association – Global Issues and Ethical Implications

This reflection about the RDA is less about what I do lesson by lesson and more about the deeper implications behind working at RDA and what it means not only for me, but also for the riders that we work with. This reflection is about the global value and the ethical implications that I face while working in this service, and how it impacts me.


LO 6​ GLOBAL VALUE (Engaging with issues of global importance)
The largest global issue of working at Riding for the Disabled Association Singapore is working with groups that are outside of the “normal” sphere of society. In current society, there are a lot of issues with Ableism and the way that disabled people don’t have the same opportunities that able-bodied people have. This also means that there isn’t a big connection between the two groups in society, and the groups don’t get the opportunity to interact with one another and work together. As society changes and improves, we’re finding more and more people that face different sorts of disabilities and we’re working to be more open and supportive. Doing this indirectly though is much different from directly working with a group, and that really tests how principled you can be. You have to be able to go from saying “I don’t have that discrimination” to actually displaying that you don’t have that discrimination. So far, I’ve learned a little more about down syndrome (which is the disability that my rider has) but also about cerebral palsy (the disability of another rider I worked with). I know the scientific background of down syndrome, but it’s difficult to actually compare the diagrams in science to a real person. I’ve learned more about how to work with mental disabilities versus physical disabilities, and different ways of interacting depending on what is needed. I think us working with the riders helps them as well. I think that we both don’t know much about each other. I don’t know what they do in their day to day life, I don’t really know what they go through, or what their family goes through. Riding may be the best part of their week, as it was for me, and I hope to help them through. Last week, when I was waiting with my rider for our turn to  mount our horse, the rider before us went to mount their horse, and they had the largest smile on their face. I hadn’t ever seen that from this particular rider and it was really heartwarming.

I think that we’ve been taught very little about disabilities. I think that people with disabilities are labelled by their disabilities and not by who they are, and that we can’t see past that. I feel that we’ve been taught to classify them in a different category because they are not as able-bodied/minded as we consider ourselves to be. I’m hoping that participating in this activity forces me to change whatever prejudices are internalized into my mindset and behavior. I’m hoping that I actually act as an openminded person instead of just wanting or thinking that I am one. I’m hoping to learn more about disabilities so that it isn’t a foreign topic and that it’s a comfortable idea to work with.


LO 7 ETHICS (Considering the ethical implications of actions)
The largest ethical issue that I face in RDA is the issue of safety, which can split into a few different subsets. The primary subset is the physical safety of the rider. As a side walker, you are responsible for supporting the rider and keeping up with the horse so that the rider doesn’t fall to either side. This puts an enormous responsibility of safety directly into your hands, linked with your actions. You need to make sure that the rider is steady and that to the best of your ability, there are no falls or accidents. Additionally, you have to make sure that you’re aware of the rider and the horse at all times, and do your best to tailor yourself to each rider. Some riders need more support than others, and some riders want to do things alone. The biggest question for me is how much support do I give? I really worry about the strength and capabilities of myself and my rider, and I’m scared that they could get injured if I overestimate the amount of help they

One of the sessions when I was working with a rider with cerebral palsy, I was extremely hesitant to let go. The instructor kept telling me to only support their ankle instead of their ankle and back and I was very conflicted over this. I wanted to listen to the instructor, as they would obviously know best, but I didn’t want to let go because I thought he would be more likely to fall. Although I did in the end listen to the instructor, I still felt nervous for a period of time after changing my positioning. It was a battle between what would be good for the rider and what I feared could happen.

The second subset is the safety of the rider outside of RDA. We keep information about the rider and their personal details in the RDA facility, and we also do not talk about the riders and their disabilities outside of the people working in our service group. It’s why we blur the photos that we take and is also why, as a personal choice, I do not use pronouns or names, instead say they/their when talking about a rider.

 

Riding for the Disabled Association: Sessions 1-3

For the past three sessions at RDA, I have been working with the same rider and horse, but with three different partners. The first week, I was with a partner who was from a different school but had worked at RDA before, the second time I was with someone from UWCSEA, and the last time I was with a partner who used to work at RDA when they were in high school. All in all, while it is definitely important to be able to work with different people, the whole situation is so new that working with constantly changing partners makes the dynamics of the session harder than it could be. It makes it harder to work together because we first have to get to know each other and also to know the rider and horse.

I wouldn’t say that it was necessarily easier to work with someone from UWCSEA because I also did not know many of the people from school that well. It was easier to work with the two partners who hadn’t come from school because they both had previous experience with the facilities and with other riders. Each time, I did need my partner to various extents, but I could have never done it alone. Having a partner allows for better support of both the rider and the side walkers, and is more safe. I still think safety is a huge concern. The goal is to push the rider to improve as much as they can, but I don’t really want to let go (Physically, as we stand on either size and support their legs). It’s really important to individually focus on how you can help the rider, but still be aware and responsive to the horse, your partner, the person leading the horse, and the instructors. You have to plan and initiate but also pay attention and listen.

The third session was difficult because my partner and I found that our rider was quickly getting tired and unhappy, and was rather unwilling to do the exercises. The lead instructor was getting angry with us because we could not convince her to do the activities as well as some of the other riders. This was slightly frustrating, because I think both my partner and I were trying very hard but also know that the rider themselves was tired with the activity. I don’t think either of us wanted to be pushy or mean. So it took patience, a lot of coaxing and praising: we both had to try new things for different outcomes. We had to try some new things and experiment to see what could work best for everyone.

Overall, it’s really important to challenge yourself and the rider, and try new things to meet a goal. You have to work together with everyone, but also be able to focus on yourself and your contributions.  

 

 

 

Ladakh GC – Introduction and Goal Setting

What is Ladakh GC?

I chose to do Ladakh GC because I feel that education is something that is really important to me, especially as someone who gets the opportunity to experience a high quality education in numerous different schools around the world. Because I have this privilege, I really want to share the experience of education with others who may not have the same opportunities or lifestyle.

Ladakh GC is located in Ladakh, India, and supports the communities of the Lamdon school and its affiliated satellite schools. The Lamdon School focuses on both academic curriculum and cultural foundations such as history, language, and song and dance traditions of the Ladakh community. The Ladakh GC primarily raises funds here at UWCSEA to help support the upgrade of school facilities (teaching and housing). The Ladakh GC aims to attain the UN Sustainable Development Goal #4 of Quality Education.

The first session, we split into 4 smaller groups to read and discuss the information in the links below to help us this of the main ideas of the GC and of the schools in Ladakh. This was done to help us come us with a goal we feel really strongly about.

We had discussions on the different links that we looked at and what we found interesting and important before going up to the board to write some goals and ideas for the next year. These goals were then analyzed for their strengths and weaknesses, which we compiled to make a new group goal.

What is the goal that we decided on?

In 2018-2019, Ladakh GC aims to promote Ladakhi culture whilst aiding the efforts of Lamdon school; this will be by providing necessary classroom materials and organizing 1 key event that we will raise majority of our funds by. 

Support and Friendship with Riding with the Disabled (RDA) – First Experience

In 11th grade, and the first year of the IB Diploma Programme, each student choses a Local Service to participate in for the school year. Participating in Local Service allows the student to experience direct service, wherein the student would work directly with people, animals, or the environment to support a goal.

When looking at the options for Local Service, one that really stood out to me was one under the name “Support and Friendship with Riding with the Disabled (RDA)”, and I knew from the moment that I finished reading the description, that I really wanted to be a part of this service. I’ve done recreational horse riding in two countries for the past seven or so years, and I love being around horses. To me, and opportunity to share that excitement with others who may not have the same opportunities seemed perfect. I decided then that I really wanted to work with horses in order to help provide therapy and support to the disabled community in Singapore. Animal therapy is shown to have many positive effects on the body and mind, and horse therapy is one of the most dynamic. The movement of the horse helps loosen muscle tension and stabilize the core, promoting strength all around the body, especially good for children or adults who are rely on crutches or wheelchairs for support. I wanted to able to share my love for horses with others, the way that horse riding is good for the mind, and adapt that to how others could use it to be good for their body as well. I also went to the Riding for the Disabled Association website to read more about what the organization believes in and what they try to achieve. The organization is completely non-profit, the riders who come do not have to pay for their sessions, and the organization relies heavily on donations and charity events in order to support the stable and sessions.

On Friday the 14th of September, I travelled with the other members of my service group to the RDA stable, which is located between the Singapore Polo Club and the National Equestrian Centre. There, we met some other volunteers along with one of the instructors, who guided us through our first time, including the the checklist that we needed to complete and the forms for each rider. I think that one of the small goals that we completed as a group was gaining some understanding of the processes that we will go through weekly, and understanding the style of the stable. Each rider has three supporting people: one to lead the horse and two on either side to physically support and help guide the rider through different exercises.

From riding, I already knowhow to interact and be around horses in a safe manner, additionally I have previously done an activity where I helped beginners to prepare and guide the horse once they were seated. Therefore, I would stay that I am quite comfortable with my ability to be near a horse and also be able to help people who are new to being around horses. This will be one of my strengths that I start off with, although I know I will develop other strengths along the way.

As excited as I was to do this service, I also have a healthy dose of fear (or caution). Although horses can be very gentle animals, especially when trained to be a part of therapy, I still understand that there can be things outside of our control that can alarm, scare, or injure a horse, and that this could be very dangerous to the rider and to those of us in the arena. The member of my group who was leading the horse mentioned at the beginning that our particular pony could be slightly temperamental depending on different factors. This is more of a mental challenge than a physical one for me: to understand the difference between caution and fear. I didn’t know either of the two people that I was working with, as they were not part of UWC, however, they did have previous experience which I feel was important for my first time.

This activity is fairly new to me, not because of the fact that I have to be next to a horse walking, but because of the riders we work with. Although I am not unfamiliar to different physical or mental disabilities that members of all communities face, I don’t find myself working with them very often. The rider that I was working with was quite young, just 7 years old, and has Down Syndrome. There is the combination of age along with condition to work with, and boundaries, because I’m not sure what sort of relationship I am allowed to have with the riders.

I enjoyed myself, the young rider I was working with was extremely excited to be on a horse, and couldn’t wait to tell their mother at the end of the session. They did really well with the different activities, responding with the according action and having short conversations with me and my partner. It was a fun session working with her, and I hope to do so again next week.