Ladakhi engineer and innovator Sonam Wangchuk was on Thursday named among the six winners of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for this year. The 51-year-old was recognised for “his uniquely systematic, collaborative and community-driven reform of learning systems in remote northern India, thus improving the life opportunities of Ladakhi youth, and his constructive engagement of all sectors in local society… setting an example for minority peoples in the world,” the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation said in its citation.
Wangchuk is the founding director of the Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh that was founded in 1988. He is also famous for designing the SECMOL campus, which runs entirely on solar energy. He also invented the Ice Stupa technique that helps create an artificial glacier for the purpose of storing water in winter. In 2009, his life inspired Aamir Khan’s character in the film 3 Idiots.