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Sujata Sahu

Tech Nari at 17000ft

By BWA Envoy

What drives someone to give up a successful corporate career spanning continents, to work at freezing sub-zero temperatures upgrading Govt. schools, setting up libraries, playgrounds and digital classrooms for children in the remote, inaccessible mountainous villages of Ladakh? Sujata Sahu - tech geek with a Masters in Computer Applications, with over 15 years in the field of Information Technology in India and the US, switched gears to the field of education in 2006 where she utilized her tech background to harness the power of IT in education.


Her 1st trek in Ladakh (solo at that!) in 2010 got her in proximity to a far-flung remote village. Battling a life-threatening situation, her interaction with the warm, hospitable villagers in extremely inhospitable weather conditions, gave her a peek into the harsh realities of their life. Coming back to Gurgaon after a harrowing 3 weeks at high altitudes, Sujata swung into action and set up Mission Julley, a flood relief project for the affected of Leh. Her passion and desire to nurture a solution where nature was so harsh, lit a fire of enthusiasm in her students and staff at the Shri Ram School. Within a year, this snowballed into an ambitious project to create long term support for schools, in the form of academic resources, teacher training and student exchange programs. 17000ft Foundation was officially set up as an NGO in 2012.

Her grit, tenacity and passion were bolstered by her husband Sandeep Sahu, who also left his flourishing advertising practice to join Sujata in her dream to make a difference high up in the mountains, one hamlet at a time. Together they champion the cause of the children of the Himalayas and have garnered support and funds from leading corporates and foundations to fuel this engine of change.

Today, 17000ft has upgraded 250 remote Govt. schools of Ladakh, with fully integrated IT systems, libraries and playgrounds and has trained thousands of teachers to ensure that children even in inaccessible hamlets have access to quality education. 17000ft has so far impacted the lives of over 50,000 children and is now expanding this power of change to remote areas in Sikkim.

A TedX and Josh Speaker, Sujata received the Nari Shakti Puraskar in 2015 by the Ministry of Women & Child Development and the Women Transforming India award by NITI Aayog in 2019. Sujata spreads her message via multiple forums to carry the incredible story of remote, ignored and inaccessible regions that she has now brought to the forefront through the power of the media and technology.


The material and information contained in this article is an independent take on the subject discussed and is meant for general information purposes only. You should not rely upon the material or information on the article as a basis for making any business, legal or any other decisions.