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Volunteer with the Ladakh Farm Project

Preserving Ladakh

Volunteers and Students are Welcome

Ladakh, in the eastern portion of Kashmir, is best known to Americans and Europeans for its trekking possibilities and nearby Dharmasala, home-in-exile of his Holiness the Dalai Lama. During the traveler’s season, April to September, you meet numerous Indians, Europeans, North Americans, as well as Ladakhis enjoying the sunny yet cool terrain.

The area is also home to a form of traditional medicine called "Amchi,” closely linked to Tibetan medicine, and there are many opportunities to learn more about this prevention-oriented medicine that is gaining worldwide attention. Amchi focuses on the whole person by seeing general imbalances as opposed to individual problems. A patient with a knee injury may receive herbal medicines, spiritual guidance, and counsel to change his or her diet.

As the population grows and becomes westernized, many organizations are working to preserve ancient Ladakhi traditions, including Amchi.

Sojourn Asian sponsors a comprehensive study tour of Ladakh focusing on Tibetan medicine and herbal medicine research.

The Ladakh School of Tibetan Medicine, Ladakh, India, may be contacted by writing directly to the school.

In nearby Dharmsala, the Men-Tsee-Khang teaching clinic provides traditional Tibetan medical care. Teaching includes identification, gathering, and preparing ingredients for hundreds of different medicines as well as diagnosing and treatment. Contact Men-Tsee-Khang, Gangchen Kyishong, Dharamsala, 176215 District Kangra (H.P.), info@tibetan-medicine.org.

The International Society for Ecology and Culture sponsors the Farm Project, which gives people of all nationalities the opportunity to live and work with Ladakhi people for one or more months during the growing season to learn about growing medicinal plants.

The Tibetan Plateau Project supports the practice of Tibetan medicine and assists local communities in developing income-generating projects using medicinal plants. It also promotes biodiversity and sustainable development: www.earthisland.org/tpp/.

More Info

Programs for local people include:

Amchi Health Worker Training Program, established by Save the Children Foundation (SCF), trains Ladakhis as Amchi practitioners to serve their local communities. Contact: Tsering Samphel, Leh Nutritional Project (LNP), Housing Colony, P.O. Box 59, Leh 194 101 Ladakh, India.

The German-based Yuthog Foundation was launched in 1997 to revive and develop traditional Amchi medicine. Contact: yuthog@earthlink.net, www.yuthog.org. The local Ladakh contact: Tsewang Smanla, P.O. Box 101, Leh 194101 Ladakh, India.

The Ladakh Society for Traditional Medicine offers training to local people in medicinal plant identification and collection with expert Amchis. Local contact: Ladakh Society for Traditional Medicines, Rizong Labrang, P.O. Box 97, Leh, 194101, Ladakh, India.

Useful Websites

www.indianvisit.com

www.mapsofindia.com/maps/jammuandkashmir/index.html

JONICE OWEN, a chiropractic physician, a naturopath and classically trained homeopath. She practices in Emeryville and San Francisco, Ca.

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