Kanda is a remote village in the district of Bageshwar, in the Kumaoni hill range of Uttaranchal, a hilly province of northern India. It is a dispersed settlement cluster of about 30 villages, home to over 20,000 people and is some 86 kilometers from well situated Almora (once the British capital of Kumaon). The Kanda valley settlements have an approximate elevation of 1400- 1800 meters. The people of the area are mainly involved in farming, forestry, horticulture, tea gardening, handicrafts, jewelry, and lately, mining. Soldiering is also in the Kanda blood. Many of its villagers are in the armed forces or live as retirees in the area.
R.O.S.E. is centered within the Kanda area at a distance of about 500km from Delhi and close to the Nepalese border. You will find your hosts, the Verma family, based in the small village of Sonargaon, a ten minute walk from Kanda market.
Amidst these terraced hills live the Kumaoni people. Theirs is a beautiful world of fertile soils, richly forested slopes and magnificent Himalayan peaks (including Nanda Devi). The small villages of Kanda share unpolluted air and a healthy environment surrounded by mountain scenery. The landscape is visually appealing as its terraced farming and numerous wild flowers present pleasing shades of color to the eyes. The hills around Kanda offer an unrivaled tranquility.
The Kanda area is distinct for its rich biodiversity of flora and fauna. It is a paradise for nature lovers, bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts. The whole Kumaoni area is full of medicinal plants, spices and herbs, many of which grow naturally and are cultivated by the local farmers.
The people of Kanda are poor. Over 50% of villagers live below the poverty line, lacking even the basics of life such as healthcare, sanitation facilities and adequate shelter. Land holdings are small, as they have been continuously divided among male heirs for several generations. Cow, buffalo, goat, and ox rearing is very popular for meat, milk and the plowing of fields. The dominant religion is Hindu and it is also a way of life. Women do most of the work in the home as well as in the fields while the men labor for the family income. Dependence on natural resources is high and thus resource management is necessary for a balanced and sustainable way of life. Local education and participation are some of the ways of reducing unrestricted dependence on the natural resources, and thus conserving the riches with which nature has endowed this region.