The pandemic as a strong impact on both the social and professional life. The borders are closed. During the lockdown the older ones have always been followed and involved in respecting the rules of hygiene and spacing, especially in outdoor activities. In particular, they contributed to the upkeep of the garden and vegetable patch, while the teachers maintained contacts with families during home visits and taking homework.

In education, and even more so in special education, the results are not apparent immediately, but are only achieved over time. Thanks to the good stimulation job the kinesitherapist had done and to the assiduous collaboration, the pupils have been able to make progress and reach important goals during the confinement: such as little Aseya, who has learned to walk at home!

>>> video Aseya’s first steps


After moving to the new buildings, the teachers have started the new school year by getting organized on the premises that are already available in the new structure. At mid March, as it is called for by the official Ladakhi calendar, twelve students and their eight tutors resumed their activities.

For the first time, the students are able to attend classes full time. A second minibus has been hired in order to guarantee their transport. ~ ~ ~~

Furthermore, a little house has been built for the guard. For the practical tasks, he is helped by the oldest students. The project is aimed at their gradual integration and will lead, for the young adults who had already been taken care of in class from a young age, to their being supported in a continuous and professional way. ~ ~ ~



2018 was an important year both by making proof of continuity and quality during the tenth anniversary of the inauguration of the first seat and by successfully launching the the big construction site of the new reception centre in Choglamsar.

The film of Fernand Melgar, dedicated to the theme of disability, also presented at the Locarno Festival, has greatly contributed to giving the projects a public platform. Part of the proceeds from the ticket sales for the projections which still continue in the German and French part of Switzerland will go to the Munsel school.

Shortly before Christmas, the RSI Television television has also shown a documentary.

Jullay Mara Lay of Niccolo Aiazzi, which was shown on 16th December 2018, can be viewed by clicking here below.



The new school year has yielded a very positive result. The team is becoming increasingly autonomous and propositive. The students are always very eager to go to school and they have also consolidated their friendly relationships: the big ones have learned to manage on their own and are helping the little ones, especially when the teachers are not around, for example at lunch time.

Among the big news there is the initiation of building site for the construction of the new seat in Choglamsar. Is will be more spacious and better suited and equipped to continue and quarantee quality standards as well as safety requirements. The digging has started and is proceeding rapidly.

The building, which will also be more central, will enable the school to admit and help a larger number of students. In fact, the number of demands and inscriptions, which had to be put on hold due to a lack of space, keeps growing.


The didactic activity keeps developing. In all, 18 students with widely varying degrees of experience, pathology and features have been admitted. The groups have been subdivided also in relation to a significant difference of age: the oldest one is still Rigzin, who is already 20 years old, while among the new arrivals there is Thalam, who is only two and a half years old.

Thanks to the volunteers who have arrived in Leh this year, too, and in close collaboration with Kunzang, the person responsible for the Munsel School, the pedagogical aims have been adjusted to the individual needs. This practically means applying 18 different personalised programmes.


In close collaboration with the Local Committee and the Parents Group, who are gradually getting more and more involved in the management of the school, the search for a plot for the construction of the new Munsel School begins. The project is discussed in view of the expiration of the rental agreement for the grounds and the buildings of the present old school site.

In the meantime, the collaboration with volunteers continues. Especially during the summer, they work alongside the tutors, sharing knowledge and experience.


The all-round activity remotely managed by Mara Casella progresses successfully: from Switzerland and on regular trips to Ladakh she continues to supervise the teachers’ work, their training and the individually prepared programme for the older pupils, in order to facilitate their insertion, little by little, into the working world.

Cédric, the young man who concluded his experience as a volunteer at the Munsel School in October, as part of his Swiss civil duty, has built furniture and other articles in wood, directly involving a youngster. The experience of this first workshop was very positive and shall be developed further .

During this first important year of transition, the local Committee and the Group of Parents have provided a significant contribution to facilitating the hand-over. In fact, the goal fixed since the very beginning remains to entrust the local people with the entire conduction of the school. Furthermore, a piece of land has been detected for the building of the new school center. Preparing ourselves for the end of the tenancy agreement of the present, provisional school, the first steps have already been taken towards a detailed planning of a structure that will guarantee the continuation of the projects and the care of the pupils.


In the middle of March, for the first time, the teachers have managed the start of the new school year on their own, receiving the pupils, meeting the families and coordinating the activities according to the indications received from Mara Casella, who arrived only later after her long winter holiday, which she usually spends in Switzerland.

Starting in September also the task transfer to the future person responsible for the Munsel School has begun: Tsering, who ever since the beginning has contributed very significantly to the realization of all the projects created on site, will officially and completely take over her new role, within the plan of involving more and more the local personnel, which remains the base of continuation of all the various initiatives.

As from next winter, Mara Casella will supervise the work constantly from Switzerland, from where she will travel regularly to Ladakh according to the specific needs.

As for the projects aiming at the professional education of the grown-up pupils the first part of a carpenter apprenticeship has been concluded by Ringzin, soon turning 18. He will continue attending the Munsel School, while working part-time at the work-shop, where he is being assisted individually by a carpenter. For the near future, the possibility is being examined to offer a similar apprenticeship in the food and beverage sector to Diskit, who is already doing well helping the cook in the Munsel School kitchen.


This year most of the work in the field will be centered on staff training.

At the end of February began the first project directly co-ordinated by Mara Casella on her return to India.

Before the beginning of the school year in Leh, some helpers and a number of teachers took part in a visit and in exchange and interaction meetings with other bodies working with handicapped persons, with the aim of comparing the various ways of accommodating the handicapped within the Indian system.


The Munsel School obtains additional important recognition in the region.

The official day of presentation to the institutions of the capital Leh makes it possible to strengthen ties with local education managers. At the same time, the network of contacts with the various Indian and foreign organizations active in Ladakh to support people with disabilities continues to develop and consolidate.


A new twelve-seat minibus enables the school to offer an invaluable service even to the poorest and most destitute families who had trouble reaching the school. The tutors, two more compared with the previous year, take turns driving and pick up the students with the greatest mobility problems at their homes.

The Munsel School keeps developing. A toilet facility is built in in the garden. A second kerosene heating system is installed in the sensory hall, which can thus be used even on the coldest days. To enhance the didactic activities, materials and games of the Montessori method are acquired.


The expansion of the school continues. The demand keeps growing and a second teacher joins the staff. A third hall is added to the infrastructure in order to enable teachers to work on sensory stimulation, furnished with the necessary pedagogical equipment. Outside, there is an open veranda joining the three parts of the school: the older students also join enthusiastically in the construction work.

It is thanks to the generous support of the Santa Lucia foundation from Massagno that, among other things, two pumps are installed for water, which up until then had to be gathered and transported to the school in periods of dry weather.

In order to facilitate mobility, a small utility vehicle is purchased.


The Munsel School is officially inaugurated. It is the first and only specialized school in Ladakh.

Mara Casella, who moves to Ladakh in order to assist individually disabled children and young people, assembles the first groups in a couple of rooms equipped in a very basic but practical way. Kunzang, who starts working with her on a part time basis, will continue over the years to collaborate actively and to become the person responsible for the didactic part of the project.