Sonam Wangchuk: Ladakhi engineer, innovator and education reformist

Sonam Wangchuk: Ladakhi engineer, innovator and education reformist

Sonam Wangchuk (born 1 September 1966) is a Ladakhi engineer, innovator and education reformist.He is the founding-director of the Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) which was founded in 1988 by a group of students who had been in his own words, the ‘victims’ of an alien education system foisted on Ladakh. He is also known for designing the SECMOL campus that runs on solar energy and uses no fossil fuels for cooking, lighting or heating.

Wangchuk was instrumental in the launch of Operation New Hope in 1994, a collaboration of government, village communities and the civil society to bring reforms in the government school system.He invented the Ice Stupa technique that creates artificial glaciers, used for storing winter water in form of conical shaped ice heap.

Awards and honours

  • Ramon Magsaysay Award, 2018
  • Indians for Collective Action (ICA) Honor Award 2017, San Francisco, CA 
  • GQ Men of the Year Awards, Social Entrepreneur of the Year, 2017
  • Global Award for Sustainable Architecture, 2017
  • State Award for outstanding environmentalist by J&K Govt., 2017
  • Rolex Award for Enterprise, 2016
  • International Terra Award for best earth building, 2016
  • UNESCO Chair Earthen Architecture, by CRATerre France, 2014 
  • Real Heroes Award by CNN-IBN TV, 2008
  • The Green Teacher Award by Sanctuary Asia, 2004
  • Ashoka Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurship, by Ashoka USA, 2002
  • Man of the Year by The Week, 2001 
  • Governor’s Medal for educational reform in Jammu & Kashmir, 1996


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