The KDM Girls’ Hostel started with a humble, yet inspiring incident.
Mr. Nawang Samdup has a daughter named Chhering Lhamo who, after completing 10th grade in her village, wanted to pursue higher studies in science. The only alternative left was to send her to the nearest secondary school in Kaza, but transportation was a major constrain. The distance between her home and the school was rugged terrain of about 30 km, out of which she had to cover 8 km on foot due to lack of motorable road in the valley. So, a daily trip to the school was a huge challenge for a single girl.
The school at Kaza had no boarding and lodging facilities. In such situation, he needed to find a place for his daughter. Finding such place was a daunting task for him, as he couldn’t risk leaving his adolescent daughter alone. After much deliberation, he had to rent a house in Kaza and the father and daughter had to shift there, far away from the rest of the family for the sake of his daughter’s education and future.
Fortunately, his daughter was able to attend the classes she liked without hindrances. But, his wife and other younger children were left behind in the village high up in the mountains. During winter, there was a heavy snowfall and the family were hardly in touch with each other for months. The harsh climate condition in the valley did not favour any viable mode of communication. He couldn’t afford to look after both sides of the family, so he had no choice but to shift the whole family from his ancestral home in Chicham Village to Kaza, the main town. In 2005, the family decided to move to Kaza leaving behind all his livestocks and house in the hands of his neighbours and relatives in his village. It was of course, a crucial decision involving lots of familial sacrifices which will change the course of their life forever.
About a year after this experience, Mr. Nawang Samdup realized that there must be many young enthusiastic children in a similar situation to his daughter. Especially girls from poor families in Spiti Valley who wanted to pursue their higher studies, but due to similar circumstances, they might have been robbed off an opportunity. Thus, the noble idea of starting a girls’ hostel with boarding and lodging where girls from financially backward families can access education without any barriers. He put the proposal to the office bearers of Kachen Dugyal Memorial Society. At the beginning, his idea was denied as there was acute financial resource and no workers to look after the hostel. But he remained adamant with the idea and kept pursuing it. He even volunteered to work for the project for two years at the initial stage and offered his own savings for the smooth running of the hostels. After witnessing such commitment and dedication, the working committee of KDMS finally approved and also pledged to support the cause.
This was the humble beginning of the project that supported and changed the lives of many girls of Spiti Valley. Simultaneously, the kind-hearted owner of the hostel rented the whole complex for ten years at a very minimal charge. In the last ten years, about 70 girls have benefitted from this hostel. They graduated from high schools and went on to further education in various parts of the country.