All posts by Chander_K

Past projects

Thank you!  R.O.S.E and our community members are grateful to you for your kind-hearted efforts in helping with these past projects andhelpingthe less fortunate.The most recent completed projects are:

Fair Price Community Farm Shop

past-projects_clip_image002A fair-price shop was constructed in November 2011. It is housed on the main floor of the community centre. The aim is that it provides affordable, locally sourced and ecologically sound produce for local families. The produce are bought locally from Haldwani, and are sold to the villages with a low margin.
The produce cost 20-30% less than normal shop prices as there are no additional charges for rent or electricity.  This provides the poor some relief so that they can put the 20-30% savingstowards medical aid and clothing and other essentials to improve their lifestyle.

  1. The total project cost was £3000 for capital revolving fund.
  2. £1500 for 2 employees for 1 year running shop as 1 shopkeeper and 1 helper to maintain the shop.
  3. £6000 for buying a small vehicle for transporting produce from Haldwani to Kanda


Building twin-tank toilets

past-projects_clip_image004 R.O.S.E. has researched and developed a twin tank composting toilet that is easy to build and maintain and yields nutrient-rich compost that can safely be used in the fields. A grant in the 1980’s allowed R.O.S.E to construct 40 of these latrines in the Kanda community which was, and continues to be, a great success. In addition to sanitation, these latrines offer privacy to women who are dangerously taught to wait until the cover of night to relieve themselves, no matter how many hours away that may be. With adequate funds, R.O.S.E hopes to continue with this important project.
“I don’t think I could have learnt as much about the culture of India and Indian people if I hadn’t come to R.O.S.E. Living as part of an Indian family in a small and very friendly Indian community has been life changing for me and I have come to really appreciate my own family and my standard of living back at home. You don’t realize how easy our lives are until you come here and get back down to grassroots with basic tools. When you undertake any labour tasks you can’t help but think…..If only I had that tool then I could do this so much more efficiently and it would make people’s lives a bit easier to do the task.” Chris McMenaman (UK)

The Human Problem – Life after Sunset

For the millions of villagers, life comes to a grinding halt at sunset — with no electricity, there is no light, so no ability to work or study or play. Having spent the major part of the day in the fields, the villagers can do little in the darkness. There is no light for children to study or for any family entertainment.
India has over 140 Milllion Rural Homes. Out of this some 87 Million still burn kerosene for lighting. Each family consumes between 100-150 liters of kerosene per annum.
Each liter of kerosene generates 2.6 kgs of Carbon Dioxide. Annually, this is over 22 million tons of pollution.
Carbon Dioxide is a major greenhouse gas and contributes to global warming.
Combining the sun’s energy with modern technology has now provided mankind with a better way. We try to increase the villager’s useful hours after sunset by providing them lights powered by solar energy. This digital lighting is non-polluting and eliminates the carbon dioxide being emitted from rural homes.
Technology has provided us a key part of the solution in the form of high efficiency low energy Light Emittng Diodes (LED) and Thin Film Solar solutions which can power these lighting systems even in cloudy weather situations.

In February 2009, two US volunteers called Justin and Ethan arrived in Sonargon, Kanda, Bageshwar, Uttarakhand. They stayed in Jeevan’s paying guest unit and supported the work of ROSE (Rural Organisation for Social Elevation) in Sonargon. Many poor families in the area had no electricity and lighting, due to financial reasons they cannot afford electrical connection and the monthly bills. Many activities within the household were in difficulty such as the children doing their schoolwork, cooking, washing, cleaning etc… Elderly people and very young children are the most affected.
Justin and Ethan solved this problem by providing 8 families with solar powered home lights. (The 8 families include 3 widows, 1 abandoned and 4 others).  After the works have been completed and the lights installed the families are now much more happier as they now feel. Their day to day activities have been made easier by providing these lights.
Justin and Ethan also provided 4 street lights (3 for the community centre which is being built and 1 for Jeevan’s paying guest unit), many people are benefiting from these lights including the locals, volunteers, tourists and other visitors. The Volunteers also provided a further 4 solar powered home light systems for the community centre where ROSE has a school/creche for the community’s poor children, a fair price shop, community meeting centre, training centre, communication centre, pilot demonstration centre, library and other activities.
The community members and all those who benefited from these works are very happy and satisfied/ ROSE and all the members of the community are very grateful to Justin and Ethan and wish them all the Solar Energy Lighting best in the future.
Join this movement to improve the quality of life for millions — bring light to those in darkness and help clean the environment in the process.Together with your help, we can make a difference.
Dignity through Electricty Program — brings light to familes in darkness and creates a cleaner environment.

  • Help increase the useful, usable hours of a village – with digital LED lights, their daily activities no longer need to halt at sunset.
  • Help the really stretched village housewife to perform her daily chores better — cooking, stitching, children and home management.
  • Help the village youth get better education. Help villagers who want to learn new skills after working all day in the fields.
  • Provide opportunity for new village businesses to develop.
  • Help improve personal safety, especially during monsoon months.

Use the calculator below to get an estimate for the donation required to get a specified number of products installed. The amounts are in US$, and the Total is also presented in Indian Rupees, using an approximate conversion rate of Rs.40 to US$1.[[NOTE to SS -There is no calculator on this page – should there be?]]

Some examples of previous activities of R.O.S.E include:

  • installation of twin-tank toilets
  • construction of earthquake-proof homes
  • community educational programmes on sanitation
  • opening a fair-priced shop (see note below)
  • construction of a temple
  • eco-development work
  • organic farming promotion
  • micro dairy
  • poultry rearing

Past projects have included

  • past-projects_clip_image001The construction of a bio gas system

  • Traditionally energy for cooking is provided by burning of locally sourced wood, which has many negative implications. In 1999 ROSE started work on a demonstration project using bio gas technology which safely uses a common waste product – cattle dung. The plant was completed and fully operational by April 2000.
  • Cattle houseA much needed concrete cattle house for the protection of livestock was constructed with volunteer funds in 1999.
  • Low cost housing for poor families ROSE constructed a two room house with a solid floor and concrete block walls for a mute women and her three children who previously lived under steel sheets.
  • Community centrepast-projects_clip_image002_0000Thisongoing project is intended to provide emergency shelter to families whose houses are unusable due to the seasonal flash floods/mud slides. It is also intended to be a meeting place and cultural centre. The upper storey of the community centre will be comprised of a fair price shop.
  • Fair price shopThisongoing construction will be housed in the community Centre, its aim is to provide affordable, locally sourced and ecologically sound produce for local families. Therefore keeping money in circulation within the community.
  • ToiletsR.O.S.E. has researched and developed a twin tank composting toilet that is easy to build and maintain and yields a nutrient-rich compost that can safely be used in the fields. A grant in the 1980’s allowed R.O.S.E to construct 40 of these latrines in the Kanda community which was, and continues to be, a great success. In addition to sanitation, these latrines offer privacy to women who are dangerously taught to wait until the cover of night to relieve themselves, no matter how many hours away that may be. With adequate funds, R.O.S.E hopes to continue with this important project.
  • Paths and infrastructurepast-projects_clip_image003Transportation through the Kanda village is solely by foot. Women carry large loads up and down the hills from the fields and valley area and children walk the paths daily to school. For this reason safe footpaths are very important to the community. R.O.S.E. has, in the past, constructed and maintained paths and will continue to do so in the future.
  • Soil conservation (eco development)R.O.S.E. supports the regeneration and improvement of the environment both directly and indirectly in all of its projects. Deforestation has led to erosion, low soil fertility and water shortages. The results are direct and clear. Consequentially K.S.S./R.O.S.E. has initiated a forestation effort which also serve as a means of educating the community. In addition six international volunteers, two youths and members of the Verma family worked to level sloping fields by use of locally sourced stone in a wall. This will conserve the topsoil in heavy rains.
  • Construction of Water Wellpast-projects_clip_image004_0000Six international volunteers, two locals and members of Mr Verma’s family leveled a field, dug an 8 foot well, completed a wall of stones to conserve soil and cemented a concrete foundation and wall for the well. It now provides clean drinking and washing water.
  • Irrigation Canal ConstructionCommunity members, including Verma family members, and volunteers constructed a canal by breaking and carrying stones to make a stone and earth wall.
  • Temple Site WorkVolunteers helped locals to level and clear the land on which the local temple is built.
  • Income Generation for the PoorLocal unskilled people are employed, when funds allow, on many of the above projects and all skilled labour is sourced locally, thus providing much needed income to the poor. In addition the Verma family generate work for a local deaf mute woman every day, providing her with an income.
  • Clothing DistributionROSE receives packets of clothes, stationary supplies, toys, bags and shoes from kind donors (typically parents and friends of former volunteers) and distributes them to the locals in need.


About the area

about_place_1Kanda 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.

mapAmidst 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.

about_place_2The 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.

About Rose

R.O.S.E. (Rural Opportunity for Social Elevation) is a small non-profit organization located in the village of Kanda, Uttarakhand. It’s purpose is to aid in rural development projects and promote awareness through education. It solicits the knowledge and help of Westerners to further its mission.

making-cardsR.O.S.E. was pioneered in 1988 as Jeevan Paying Guest Unit (JPGU)Sunargaon and hosted 9 International visitors. On 17th April 1999 JPGU registred under the Paying Guest scheme of U.P.State Government Tourism Department, now we are in Uttarakhand State. Today it is simply known as R.O.S.E

It works at the grassroots level, appealing to travelers to become active participants in getting involved in and funding projects to develop a better life for the local population as well as themselves. It is the goal of R.O.S.E. to improve the health, education and quality of life of the rural regional poor  while maintaining cultural integrity and ecological balance. This goal is actualized through a program which brings tourist participants to Kanda to live with the Verma family, experience local Kumaoni culture and assist physically or financially, in the rural development activites of R.O.S.E.

Mud-Brick-making2Mr. Verma has created an exceptional example of responsible rural tourism that greatly benefits the community and the visitors through genuine, respectful cultural interactions. Mr. Verma’s family has been present in the Kanda region for generations. He therefore has a deep understanding of the social, cultural and environmental issues faced by the local population. Most importantly, he recognizes that these three aspects are interdependent and thus integral parts of a fully sustainable system of living and all activites are approached with this in mind. Some examples of previous activites of R.O.S.E. include the installation of twin-tank latrines, construction of earthquake-proof homes, community educational programs on sanitation and rural employment. Further examples include a community shop,  construction of a temple, Eco development, organic farming, micro dairy, poultry rearing and others.

About the host

Mr Verma

about_host_1My name is Jeevan Lal Verma, I was born in the village of Sunargaon, which is in the Kanda, Bageshwar District of the Kumoan region in Uttarakhand, North India. I studied in Inter College Kanda, ITI Training Almora and National Apprenticeship at Scooters India limited Lucknow after I had finished my studying and visiting life in the city I decided to do social work within my village. I felt called to social work because I had a helping nature, I had always suffered from a lack of money, but my soul told me to serve the local community. I made it my hobby to connect to the whole of the world, so I participated in many training projects, workshops, visits and conferences by the youth leadership and as a social activist.

about_host_2It was June 1988 when I participated in a workshop where I met some foreign visitors looking for a host family. August the same year I hosted eight international volunteers from different nations. They participated in 15 days home stay, cultural exchange and social & rural development work camps. That was my first experience and it was very successful. My family and the whole community gave the visitors a warm welcome. The community and youth of Kanda participated and my family was very cooperative with hosting the international volunteers, who adjusted very well to our family life. I felt good because the visiting group were very flexible, civilized and had a good sense of humor. It was a valuable exchange because I learnt some skills and increased my knowledge from them.

I still participate in international seminars, workshops, training programs, fairs and festivals in India and exhibit photographs of the volunteers and village tourism so people are aware of the opportunities we provide.

My family members will also be your hosts. Myself and my wife Hema have six children together. The eldest girl Praveen is married and lives about 45 minutes away – a breathtaking walk through the paddy fields and hills. Jeetendra is my eldest son, Diptee is my second daughter (also married), Renu and Gunga are my other daughters in order of age and Sadju is my youngest son. Jeetendra’s wife also lives with us, as does my grandson Gautam (Praveen’s son).

Mr Verma’s Bio Data

Current projects

R.O.S.E. Kanda needs continuing support and unfortunately, for unknown reasons, has seen a drop in the number of volunteers in recent years. This has resulted in a lack of funding and resources which has prevented the village from launching any new projects. There are, however, a number of ongoing projects from previous years that volunteers can contribute to.

These include teaching at the local primary school, specifically set up by R.O.S.E Kanda for the poorest families in the village who can’t afford to pay for their education. Children range from 2-8 years old and classes are no more than 20 students, running from 7.30am-midday. Volunteers are encouraged to come and teach the children English songs and games during their play time and join in with English and Maths lessons from 9am onwards.

Whether or not you have a specific project in mind, the Verma family offer the option of a homestay – following the principals of eco-tourism. Here, guests pay a small contribution for the opportunity to experience rural Indian life as an extra member of the family: staying in the family home with authentic family meals and helping out where needed. In order to cover the cost of your stay a monetary contribution is required but compared to many other volunteering programs this is very small for the invaluable experience and the warm welcome you will receive. Furthermore most of this contribution is a means of fundraising for new projects in the village as the living costs are fairly low in the family home.

Alternatively, if volunteers are able to fundraise before they arrive in Kanda they would have the opportunity to carry out a chosen FUTURE PROJECT and see something they are personally interested in develop during their stay. In this case, any extra homestay charge would be overlooked and all donations would go directly to their chosen future project.

Looking towards the future and in particular overcoming its recent fundraising obstacle is currently R.O.S.E. Kanda’s main concern. In this respect, the homestay option (even for the shortest periods of time) is actively encouraged and any donations gratefully received.


9India has always attracted people seeking spiritual enlightenment. Spiritualism is about being loving, compassionate and caring, not only to others but also towards oneself. It is not religion alone that empowers the pilgrim, although it is deeply ingrained in Hinduism, but is simply the search for bliss, emptiness, joy, ecstasy and a feeling of completeness.

The yogis of India bring in people from all around the world. The mental and physical healing power of yoga and meditation has earned a great reputation and the nearby city of Rishikesh is known worldwide as a capital of yoga and meditation.

Uttaranchal with its Himalayan foothills is the perfect environment for a spiritual escape. Yoga and meditation courses, relaxation and even spiritual healing are on offer for those who are interested. The surroundings are ideal to attain self realization.

The Power of Seven Chakras

Wake up Mother Kundalini,
Thou whose nature is Bliss Eternal – the bliss of Brahman,
Thou dwelling like a serpent asleep at the lotus of Muladhara,
Sure affected and distressed am I in body and mind,
Do thou bless me and leave thy place at basic lotus?

Consort of Shiva, the Self-caused Lord of universe,
Do thou take thy upward course through the central canal,
Leaving behind Svadhishthana, Manipura, Anahata, Visuddha And Ajna,
be thou united with Shiva, thy Lord the God,
At Sahasrara – the thousand-petalled lotus in the brain,

Sort there freely,
O Mother,
Giver of Bliss Absolute,
Wake up Mother Kundalini,
Wake up