Back home from the United States after having bagged the globally-acclaimed Rolex Awards for Enterprise 2016, 50-year-old innovator Sonam Wangchuk is set to establish his dream university, the Himalayan Institute of Alternatives in his native Ladakh.
Wangchuk, who is believed to be the inspiration behind actor Aamir Khan’s character Phusunkh Wangdo in the movie 3-Idiots, currently runs an innovative school – Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL).
He has donated the award money of Rs one crore that he received for his dream project for building the varsity.
However, he is still short of funds. He has reached out to people in a video that he launched on November 29 which gives out his vision for the project. “It will take big financial resources to materialise the project, so we decided to launch a video and make people aware of our plans,” he told InUth.
Not convinced by the existing system of higher education in the country, the engineer-turned-innovator claims he wants to take learning to a ‘new level’. “Ladakhis are doubly disadvantaged by the existing education system but those in big cities too do not have any major advantage. It’s time we change; we in Ladakh are dreaming again,” he says.
Citing examples of higher studies at his proposed university, Wangchuk says the faculty of business would run real life companies on campus, while the one teaching tourism would run high-end hotels and even simple home-stays.
The Ladakh Hill Development Council has earmarked nearly 200 acres of land for the proposed campus where “Ice-Stupas have already started greening” this cold desert.
Wangchuk plans to build a campus that is “fully solar-heated university township” designed by some of the top architects in the country.
He was recently awarded in the presence of a galaxy of Hollywood stars and other celebrities for creating Ice Stupa, the artificial glacier which stores water to bring greenery in cold deserts.