Genesis: The work of LEDeG was initiated by Helena Norberg-Hodge, a Swedish linguist who first came to Ladakh in 1975, just after the region had been opened up to tourism. In the 1970s, Ladakh emerged from a virtual isolation of about 25 years. The first of the many visitors were braving up the Himalayas to see Little Tibet for themselves. Concerned by the speed at which the winds of change were blowing, and the growing trends towards ‘western modernity’ and the resultant dismissal of local culture and environmental degradation, Ms. Norberg-Hodge set up the Ladakh Project in 1978 which later evolved into the ISEC.
Mission: While we intend to avoid the hazards of 'development', we do not want to put a fence around Ladakh, alienating it from change - this would be unnatural as well as impossible. Instead, we are exploring ways of guiding the direction of change in order to strengthen the local economy and raise the standards of living of our communities.
With our primary mission as the promotion of ecologically and socially sustainable development which harmonises with and builds upon traditional Ladakhi culture, we have set out the following as our aims and objectives:
To encourage awareness in the Ladakhi people of the need to consider the long-term effects of development,
To encourage awareness in the Ladakhi people of the potential value of traditional culture in Ladakh’s development,
To encourage the use of perpetually renewable natural resources in Ladakh,
To test and demonstrate low-cost technologies which make use of such perpetually renewable natural resources,
To provide financial assistance for appropriate, community based development projects,
To raise funds for the achievement of the objective through donations, grants, collection etc, and through the carrying on of any business, this may help to promote the above objectives,
And to pursue the above objectives with the goal of encouraging, an ecologically sound and sustainable future for the Ladakhi’s people and their land.