Sujata Sahu: An Iron Lady for Ladakh

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Iron Lady Sujata Sahu

Sujata Sahu is the founder of 17000ft, and a never-say-die-spirit person. The backbone behind 17000 ft’s educational initiatives, she is the happiest when travelling and teaching children in the remote villages.

Sujata Sahu, also known as the Iron Lady of Ladakh, an ex-corporate techie and a teacher by professional.


• In 2010, Sujata a computer science teacher in New Delhi, ventured on a solo trek trip to Ladakh. On the third day, she experienced difficulty in breathing due to low oxygen in high altitude

• Two trekkers helped her to get near village, they were teachers at one of schools there. They were walking to get textbooks and uniforms for the handful of students in school.

• The determination of students and teacher in extreme weather condition pushed Sujata to establish 17,000 ft Foundation.

•“I believe the biggest impact we have had on the children of these forgotten villages is the exposure that we have given them, the dreams and aspirations that we have inspired, and most of all, the feeling that they are equal in every way to children elsewhere in the world.” Said Sujata.


• 17000 ft Foundation today works in over 220 village schools of Leh and Kargil, Ladakh to improve education, empower communities and create opportunities for development.

• The Foundation has solarises and digitised 120 schools through the DigiLab program.

• Over 130 schools today have a new lease of life through installation of outdoor playgrounds and brightly coloured classroom furniture.

• Over 220 schools now have a well equipped, age appropriate Library Room.

• Over 2000 Teachers have been trained in various methodologies for improve the Teaching Learning.

• The Foundation has successfully created income spend in over 100 unexplored and off the track villages their Voluntarism Program, sending individual and Corporate Volunteerd to stay and contribute on their vacation.

• Over 10,000 villagers mobilised to actively contribute and participate to their village schools.

In 2011, Sujata was unable to find other NGOs to partner with, the three founders SUJATA SAHU, SANDEEP SAHU(sujata’s husband) and DAWA JORA, went on a three day trek to one of the most isolated villages in LINGSHED (in Ladakh), carrying 1500 kg of education material on 25 horses and crossing three mountains at extreme temperatures as low as minus 15 degrees.

Sujata Sahu’s undying passion to help people of Ladakh earned her the nickname of the ‘Iron Lady.’

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