Sonam Wangchuk is inspiring millions with his inventions and innovations


There are people who just work for themselves and there are people who work for society. One such pioneer is Sonam Wangchuk. He is the man behind countless initiatives and inventions. His life is the true testimony to the power of entrepreneurship with key emphasis on social welfare.
He was born in the Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir in 1966. He could not receive formal education until the age of 9 as there were no schools in his village. At the age of 9 he enrolled in a school in Srinagar. He was addressed in a different language which he could not understand and faced many troubles. In 1977, he escaped alone to Delhi. He later went to study Earthen Architecture in France in 2011.
Wangchuk is an Engineer, innovator and education reformist. His former experiences and frustration against the education system inspired him to start the Student’s Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh to address the problems faced by the younger generation. He worked hard to reform the government school system. With his innovative ideas, he also started to harness solar energy for the benefit of villagers.
Sonam Wangchuk founded and worked as an editor of Ladakh’s only print magazine, Ladags Melong from 1993 till 2005. His wisdom and experience have been used by several government agencies and institutions. He was entrusted with the important task of creating a policy on Education and Tourism as a part of Vision Document Ladakh 2025.
He has made significant contributions to the lives of people living in extremely harsh conditions in the mountains. He has designed and built several solar mud buildings in mountain regions to save energy. His project famously known as ‘Ice Stupa’ is known around the globe. Farmers of Ladakh faced critical problems in the months of April-May. In 2014, Sonam Wangchuk and his team formulated a prototype of Ice Stupa, which has the capacity to store 1,50,000 litres of winter stream water which can be used later.
He started a project known as FarmStays Ladakh in 2016 which enabled tourists to stay with local families. He also built a solar powered school which keeps the students warm even in -30 degree celsius. In response to the Indo-China border confrontation in May 2020, he appealed to Indians to boycott Chinese products. His appeal was supported by celebrities and was covered by all the major media houses. It started a new campaign against the chinese products and a revolution has been started since then.
For his work for social welfare and breakthrough innovations, he has been honoured with many prestigious awards. He won Governor’s Medal for educational reform in Jammu and Kashmir, 1996, Man of the Year by The Week, 2001, Ashoka Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurship, by Ashoka USA, 2002, The Green Teacher Award by Sanctuary Asia, 2004, International Terra Award for best earth building, 2016, State Award for outstanding environmentalist by Jammu and Kashmir Government, 2017, Global Award for Sustainable Architecture, 2017, GQ Men of the Year Awards, Social Entrepreneur of the Year, 2017, Indians for Collective Action (ICA) Honor Award 2017, San Francisco, Eminent Technologist of the Himalayan Region by IIT Mandi, 2018, Honorary D. Litt by Symbiosis International, 2018, Ramon Magsaysay Award, 2018 and many more.
Sonam Wangchuk is a rare example of determination and willpower who defied all odds, made quality education available for the young generation and introduced agricultural innovations which reformed the agricultural sector. He has inspired millions of people and is continuing to inspire millions around the globe.


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