We won the Rolex Awards for Enterprise

When we applied for this award more than a year ago… I had no idea how grand it gets. I had only seen the Rolex award as a means to reaching our next dream of setting up a Mountain University for Innovation and Sustainable Development in Ladakh. Using the publicity of the award we wanted to connect to like-minded people and supporters in the world and using the prize money I wanted to kick-start a contribution drive to realise this dream.

But what followed was a most grueling exercise of evaluation and selection that lasted roughly 15 months and involved Juries of Noble laureate scientists and experts from different fields. There were numerous stages such as making a film of the project to tele-con and skype interviews etc. Being in a digitally disconnected place, I remember one case where I had to fly to Jammu to do the Skype interview. Finally there was a flight to Geneva in the end of these for the semi-final round.

Yes, it was a pleasure to learn that all this hard work paid. And I had never imagined I would meet such wonderful people along the way... the most amazing people at Rolex, the hundreds of world's bests... they introduced me to ... for guidance and advice.

I feel blessed to have His Holiness Skyabgon Chetsang Rinpochey as the patron and partner blessing this effort and the leaders of the Ladakh Hill Council Government fully supporting this cause. I feel wonderful to be able to bring Aba Norphel lay to the ceremony as my special guest. This was a tribute to his pioneering work over the past three decades and has been my inspiration in starting this ice craft.

Then I feel grateful to all the students, staff and volunteers at SECMOL without whose help I would have been like a vibrant mind in a paralysed body.

Finally I have been overwhelmed by the thousands of messages, emails and social media responses from you all. It all means a lot to me and fuels my hope and desire to continue my journey on the untrodden and often lonely paths. Lets use this award into a slingshot to reach our bigger goal for establishing an Alternative University for Mountain Development…The Himalayan Institute of Alternatives, Ladakh. Support our global fund-raising campaign and together lets start the next learning revolution.

Sonam Wangchuk