All posts by Chander_K

A Success Story

My 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. My family business was in jewellery making, we had a Goldsmiths called Sunar, so our village is called Sunargaon. 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.

It was June 1988 when I participated in a workshop where I met some foreign visitors. One was a representative from a Volunteer sending organization; he was looking for a host family. The idea was to host overseas volunteers and help them to engage with work camps in rural development, environmental protection, disaster relief and other activities. I was happy to host international volunteers and accepted the offer.

In August 1988, I hosted eight international volunteers (5 female & 3 male) 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.

As this first experience was such a success more volunteers were sent from the organization. All the visitors had tourist visas and when they came to Sunargoan they appreciated the beauty of their natural surroundings as well as sampling unique Kumoan organic local dishes and exchanging cultural activities. There was also the opportunity to engage in local religious (Hindu) Ceremonies and Festivals. In addition there was practical work such as rural development projects, building construction and craft activities which hugely increased the local villages social welfare and rural development.

Some of the volunteers suggested that it would be a better idea to invite future volunteers directly so that I could earn money for the community, which previously would have gone to the volunteer organization. Visitors were then able to connect to me directly from places such as the UK, Holland and the USA and I hosted some volunteers every year. Due to lack of marketing skills and adequate communication equipment sometime the number of visitors were few. However with patience and with new communication equipment I was able to connect to non profit volunteer organizations. I placed an entry detailing this opportunity in an International directory publication. This resulted in more visitors arriving in Sunargoan. At the start of 2000 some of the volunteers published their good experiences in an international magazine.

There has been much interest in our projects at Kanda. Professor T. V. Singh and Prof Shalini Singh of the Centre for Tourism Research and Development in Lucknow studied in Kanda and published a research article on Altruistic Tourism ; ‘Another Shade of Sustainable Tourism – The case of Kanda’

In 1999 Brigid McKay, financed by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), of Kathmandu, Nepal wrote an article on Eco-Tourism in Kanda.

Pekka Mustonem (Finland) in 2004 and Eric Coleman (USA) in 2005 both researched here as part of their University work. Many of our visitors are international University students and when they return home they relate the opportunities offered to friends and write articles for their University magazines.

In 2002 we hosted two visitors from Canada television. They were making a TV documentary about remote areas such as Kanda and included the grass root works of ROSE. The news channel of a Canadian broadcasting corporation broadcast the film.

I 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. In 2004 we were able to arrange a computer and connect with the internet. Our UK and Canadian visitors developed our websitewww.rosekanda.org as a further channel for publicity.

Future projects

If, with the kind help of volunteers, R.O.S.E. Kanda can raise enough money, we hope to launch a number of new projects which will further improve the lives of some of Kanda’s residents who are still in great need. None of the projects proposed below are hugely costly but would be hugely beneficial to those who live here. Any contribution to any of the projects (be it large or small) would be warmly welcomed. Although, raising the full amount required would of course mean we can get started straight away and would hope that volunteers could come and join us and see the benefits of their hard work!

Please click on the links below to see more details concerning any projects which may be of particular interest to you:

[toggle title=”INFRASTRUCTURE: Improving footpaths and roads and introducing safe water tanks{Expected cost: £600 for footpaths, £850 for roads and £1100 for water tanks}” state=”close” ]Objective: Public Infrastructure Development and develop a global partnership for development.
Community Benefit: Improved shared community facilities and space. Generate Employment.
Methodology: Improve footpaths and roads leading into the village, Create and maintain clean public water tanks.
Resources Needed: Funds, skilled and unskilled labors, water, cement, steel, concrete, wooden panels, pipes, stone, soil, tools, oil and cement paint
Expected Costs: US $ (1000 _ footpaths 2  KM) + ( 1400_roads 1 KM) + ( 1800_ water tanks 4 No) =4200/
Detailed Description: Transportation 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. K.S.S./R.O.S.E. has, in the past, constructed and maintained paths and will continue to do so in the future.
May and June prove to be especially challenging for locals as they wait for the monsoon to replenish their water supply. Women daily can walk up to two hours away to find water for the household that has often been contaminated. K.S.S./R.O.S.E. has constructed a handful of water catchment’s tanks to provide locals with a clean water supply year-round. With the continued erosion of the terrace system and soil, access to clean water is becoming a more pressing issue each year. K.S.S./R.O.S.E., in addition to dealing with the root of this problem, would like to construct a number of water tanks around the Kanda region. Maintenance of these tanks would also provide employment.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”EMPLOYMENT: Increasing employment opportunities by bringing in professionals to teach key skills such as animal rearing and veterinary practices, arts and crafts and project supervision
Expected cost: £3600″ state=”close” ]Objective: Generate Employment  and eradicating extreme poverty   and hunger.
Community Benefit: Self-sufficiency, Increased living standards, Circulation of money throughout the community, Access to finances for higher education, health care etc., Heightened sense of pride and confidence in skills and knowledge.
Methodology: Training in areas of goat, cow and poultry rearing. Continue efforts in beekeeping and recycled greeting card making initiatives. Create employment in environmental conservation (Ex: waste disposal, maintenance of public facilities). Train for positions of supervision in K.S.S./R.O.S.E. development projects (Ex: construction supervisor) and continue utilizing local skilled and unskilled labor for projects.
Resources Needed: Funds, cattle houses, beehive, poultry sheds, animal feed, water, machinery and tools, supply of improved breeds cattle cow, goats, poultry, bees, chap cutter ,fodder seeds-roots-spellings, feed, enquibater, refrigerator, live stock service- medition & equipment, waste paper, flowers, glue and art supplies, flower presses, training materials and professionals for job training, alternative energy source for power outages (solar).
Expected Costs: US $- 6000/
Detailed Description: As noted in the “Introduction to Kanda” section, unemployment leading to male migration has become one of the chief concerns of the Kanda region. In response, K.S.S./R.O.S.E. works to create employment for the Kanda population. In most cases, the aim is to help locals help themselves. K.S.S./R.O.S.E will teach specific skills which will allow locals to work independently to support the community and their families. Future plans, with sufficient funding will include poultry, cow and goat rearing which will include education about the animals health, the importance of sanitary animal sheds, and aid in building proper facilities. These animals sell easily in the market and therefore are a dependable source of income. The programme has already succeeded in teaching a group of women to make beautiful greeting cards from paper they recycle themselves and decorate with local dried flowers. K.S.S./R.O.S.E. aids in the international distribution of these cards. There also have been successful initiatives in teaching beekeeping. As mentioned above, increased responsible tourism could also prove to benefit the community greatly from employment both through and independent of K.S.S./R.O.S.E..[/toggle]

[toggle title=”ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY: Implementing recycling, responsible waste disposal, composting and energy efficient schemes and encouraging organic farming techniques
Expected cost: £2400″ state=”close” ]Objective: Improvement and regeneration of natural environment/ create awareness of environmental issues-( Eco- Development ) also ensure environmental  sustainability.
Community Benefit: Improved soil fertility thus heightened agricultural yields, Eco –Regeneration of soap stone mining areas, Access to clean water, Improved health, Beautification of surrounding environment, Generation of employment in related projects.
Methodology: Education of community in all areas of environmental concern, increase a forestation efforts ,regeneration of ecologically degraded by mining, soil conservation, organize eco development camp, research and implementation of alternative and/or more efficient energy sources, create waste-water infrastructure, create responsible systems of waste disposal/recycling, continue composting efforts, maintain terraces, create more efficient systems of irrigation
Resources Needed: Funds, labor, land, greenhouse, water, tools, plastic bags, alternative energy sources specifically solar panels and bio-gas plants, seeds, irrigation structures, composing systems, stones, soil, education and training facilities
Expected Costs: US $-3900/
Detailed Description: K.S.S./R.O.S.E. supports the regeneration and improvement of the environment both directly and indirectly in all of its projects. It is a member of Willing Workers on Organic Farms, bringing in volunteers to learn about traditional organic farming techniques. It uses local materials in all of it’s projects and always ensures that it’s work is of low impact on the environment. It also has a functional bio-gas system and is researching alternative sources of energy. This is mainly in response to deforestation, the most significant environmental concern of the area. The Kanda trees have been cut down for agricultural mining purposes, but the main threat is the use of wood as the primary fuel source for local families. Deforestation has led to erosion, low soil fertility and water shortages. The results are direct and clear. K.S.S./R.O.S.E. has initiated a forestation efforts which also serve as a means of educating the community
The inefficient use of water through irrigation, waste-water disposal and the eroding terraces which act as a natural water filter are also concerns that K.S.S./R.O.S.E. would like to more effectively deal with. Lastly, K.S.S./R.O.S.E. hopes to create a system of proper waste disposal and recycling to prevent littering and burning of plastics and also to generate employment.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”ECO-TOURISM: Developing the village as a tourist destination to attract more paying guests in order to generate funds
Expected cost: £2800″ state=”close” ]Objective: Promote responsible tourism(Village Tourism)
Community Benefit: Employment opportunities and income generation, Governmental aid in public infrastructure improvement, Manual aid, knowledge and skills of volunteers, Preservation of Kumaoni culture
Methodology: Appeal to various levels of Indian government to develop Kanda as a rural village tourist destination, facilitate discussions within Kanda community about responsible tourism (benefits and risks), help supervise development efforts, act as a mediator between community and developers, expand K.S.S./R.O.S.E.’s network to attract more volunteer tourists. Promote responsible tourism, yielding employment in tourist services (small restaurant, host family stay, guide, yoga   instructor, reception work, cook, manager, cleaning)
Resources Needed: Advertisement through paper and electronic media, funding to maintain and improve heritage building, telephone and internet communication, village lighting, cultural( folk) demonstration & conservation, vehicle  for side seeing-village visiting-receiving & see off, driver ,guide. beautifying of village, safe drinking water management, village cleaning, communication facility, entertainment & yoga centre, library & resource centre.
Expected Costs: UD $-4700/
Detailed Description: K.S.S./R.O.S.E.’s volunteer-based tourism programme is a remarkable example of tourism which is both environmentally and culturally sustainable while providing tourists with an unparalleled experience of living in rural India. The success of this project and the beauty of the Kanda region has prompted the Indian government to research Kanda as a rural tourist destination. This development could offer the community much needed financial input and employment, but it also brings in many risks of environmental and cultural degradation. K.S.S./R.O.S.E. hopes to act as a mediator between the community and developers and a supervisor of projects to ensure that the community’s well-being is always kept at top priority in these developments. It also aims to expand its networking to bring to its programme a more steady stream of volunteer tourists who support the rural development projects of K.S.S./R.O.S.E..[/toggle]

[toggle title=”HOUSING: Constructing and maintaining low-cost rural housing to elevate living conditions Expected cost: £1800″ state=”close” ]Objective: Construction of safe, respectable, low-cost, environmentally sound and long-lasting living spaces for community members.
Community Benefit: Raised standard of living including health, safety, comfort and self-respect, Employment generation.
Methodology: The construction of appropriate homes for community members in need including a ventilated kitchen space, access to water and latrine facilities. Use local materials and labour.
Resources Needed: Funds, cement, concrete, stone, bricks, sand, wood, skilled and unskilled labour, tools, pipes, water, tin-sheet, aluminum-sheet, steel, iron, toilet pan, plastic pipes, wire mesh, oil and cement paint, binding wire.
Expected Costs:US $-2880/for 2 Nos
Detailed Description: As a basic human right, all people should have access to adequate housing. For much of the Kanda community, this is not the case. Homes are often made of scrap material that proves unsuccessful in providing protection from the elements. Kanda is faced with below-freezing temperatures in the winter and 3 months of heavy rain in the summer monsoon, making sufficient housing absolutely necessary. K.S.S./R.O.S.E. had designed a simple, long-lasting structure made from local materials that, with sufficient funds, could be build en mass. The design includes latrine facilities and a well ventilated kitchen and is also earthquake-proof, providing security for a population who was traumatized and devastated by a recent earthquake. Currently these homes are built every few years with specific donations. K.S.S./R.O.S.E would like to secure more stable finances in order to build homes for the large number of families in need.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”WOMEN’S DEVELOPMENT: Empowering women through health education and professional training to open up their employment prospects as an alternative to their traditional role as housewives and promote gender equality
Expected cost: £3000″ state=”close” ]Objective: Women’s empowerment and promote gender equality.
Community Benefit: Support and information for local women, Improved awareness about women’s health and social issues, Alternative  technology application for time saving and improving work efficiency, Raised levels of self-esteem and empowerment, Establishment of a strong base of female leaders for social change, Connection to international women’s programmes, reduce child mortality and improve maternal health.
Methodology: Create a safe place where women can access information and support on women’s issues, Education about women’s health, Promote discussion of social problems and offer resources for empowerment, Support open expression of opinions and problems in a group setting, Connect to international women’s movements and organizations, Facilitate discussion between women’s group and men in community, Celebrate and motivate the strength of women in society. Providing alternative technology tools and
Equipment for agriculture farming ,cooking , cattle  rearing, and  others.
Resources Needed: Training material, training instructor, translator, training/meeting space, medical professional resource, communication, food and drink, stipends.
Expected Costs: US $-5100/
Detailed Description: The role of most women in rural India is of silent obedience and grueling work. The day begins with the sun, cooking cleaning, collecting fire wood and water and preparing the children before going into the fields for a full day. They then return only to continue with household work as the rest of the family relaxes into the evening. On a daily basis, women deal directly with all of the social and environmental issues that K.S.S./R.O.S.E. works to improve: the health of their families, poor soil and low agricultural yields, lack of adequate sources of water and fuel and clearly, gender inequality. In their strength and experiential evidence, Kanda women carry high potential in acting towards positive change. The only thing lacking is support. K.S.S./R.O.S.E aims to create a space where women can join together and find this support in a comfortable setting. They also seek to educate these women about family planning, women’s health, nutrition and pre-natal care. It is common for women to be too ashamed to seek medical advice, even when symptoms of illness are severe. K.S.S./R.O.S.E. aims to be a place where women can access advice and information and ask for whatever it is they need, be it a meal for their family or a doctor’s appointment. Currently K.S.S./R.O.S.E. has a small women’s group led by Mr. Verma’s wife, Hema. They meet regularly in the family’s kitchen over chai and a meal for informal discussions. There have also been successful efforts to facilitate discussions between the women’s group and male community leaders about making changes in the community.[/toggle]

[toggle title=” SANITATION: Improving standards of health through education and simple infrastructure to combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases
Expected cost: £1500″ state=”close” ]Objective: Raise standards of health within community and combat HIV/AIDS &
Other  diseases.
Community Benefit: Higher standards of health and general education about health issues in the general community.
Methodology: Sanitation efforts including construction of latrines and education on the importance of sanitation, Provide access to information about health issues, Create safe space for community members to come to discuss personal health problems.
Resources Needed: Funds, skilled and unskilled labor, cement, wood, stone, toilet pan,  plastic piping, educational resources, training/meeting space, basic medical supplies.
Expected Costs: US $-2500/for 5 No
Detailed Description: The Kanda community faces many common rural health issues, many of which could be eradicated through education and simple infrastructure. One primary concern is contamination of the water supply by excreta-borne diseases. This is dues almost entirely to the common practice of open-air defecation in the fields. K.S.S./R.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 K.S.S./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 many be. With adequate funds, K.S.S./R.O.S.E hopes to continue with this important project.
Another main initiative is to make K.S.S./R.O.S.E. an educational centre for all heath issues, specifically sanitation and women’s health. Mr. Verma knows from experience the difficulty of breaking deeply engrained, unhealthy habits and recognizes education as the most important factor in doing so. K.S.S./R.O.S.E. currently offers basic first aid and seminars on these issues, but would like to drastically increase their efforts.[/toggle]

[toggle title=”SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Creating a community space with sufficient facilities to unite and educate the population
Expected cost: £4800″ state=”close” ]Objective: Development of training and awareness programmes
Community Benefit: Increased awareness in any number of issues ranging from health and sanitation to environmental, community and social justice concerns, A community meeting space.
Methodology: Build a facility where community members can meet to learn and discuss issues of concern, facilitate educational seminars, use IT equipment to aid in educational/awareness generating seminars, promote the use of folk-media and cultural activities to create interest and support the local culture.
Resources needed: Building materials for facility, IT equipment (computer, printer, scanner, slide projector, camera & video equipment), pens, paper, information and training material, small portable generator.
Expected Costs: US $-7900/
Detailed Description: K.S.S./R.O.S.E. recognizes education as the primary means of facilitating change in the Kanda community. It is of the utmost importance that K.S.S./R.O.S.E. is able offer a space for the community to meet for discussions and educational seminars. Because locals are not accustom to traditional education, few are able to retain information from lecture-style seminars. For this reason, K.S.S./R.O.S.E emphasizes the use of interactive approaches to learning including dance, songs, skits and the help of visual aids. This also acts as a promoter of local culture and makes education a recreational activity. IT equipment would be of great help in keeping community members attentive during seminars. It would also support the networking of community members with like-minded organizations across the globe. A small generator is needed due to frequent power loss.[/toggle]

Building a home for Ganga

One of the things R.O.S.E encourages is that all donations are made in the form of projects. This way, no one family comes to be dependent on tourist charity in their everyday life. Projects are prioritized for the people most in need.
Last week I visited the home of a recently widowed young woman named Ganga. Jeevan told me that building a safe home for her is a priority for R.O.S.E because the living conditions for the family have become unsafe.
<PHOTO of Ganga>
On October 24, Ganga received news that her husband met with an accident and died while at work.  He worked in another village transporting cargo on mules. The family has no life insurance as it is the case with most of the poorest families here.  The family lives hand-to-mouth and didn’t have enough money to pay for her husband’s funeral, so Jeevankindly offered to cover the cost.
<PHOTO of mother>
<PHOTO of children>
Ganga is a young mother of two boys, and lives with and cares for her parents-in-law and mother, as it is typical in a nuclear family in India.  Ganga’s family does not own farm land, and she works on other farms and makes a modest salary Rs. 1500 or $28 CAD per month.  Right now, Jeevan provides food for the children but hopes that Ganga will find a better paying job in the coming months to become more independent.
I didn’t talk to Ganga or her family because the loss was obvious in their faces. I wanted to tell Ganga that she has already received a generous $700 from my friends and family in Canada, and that she has support from people that don’t even know her. But not being able to speak the language, I didn’t risk being disrespectful of their mourning period.  So I quietly took photos, helped Jeevan take some measurements and got my information from him later.
<PHOTO of house inside>
As in the photo below, their neighbour’s roof collapsed under the weight of the monsoon rains.  Shortcuts were taken and the house was constructed with cheap quality materials such as low quality steel rods.  Because Ganga’s house shares a wall and roof with them, it’s clear the family needs a safer place to live.
<PHOTO of fallen roof>
Jeevan says land is available, and there are some raw like stones and sand. But cement and steel rods and other resources need to be purchased. The cost of building a new home, including two rooms and a sanitary toilet and bath, is around $4900 CAD.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thankall my friends and family for thegenerous donations! 🙂  With the money Jeevan will be placing an order for steel rods. Jeevan plans to collect as much as he can until Christmas and depending on the amount, either a new home will be built for Ganga’s family, or the existing one with be renovated (with stronger roof and wall reinforcements, and sanitary toilet).
If you’d like to donate to Ganga’s homefeel free to drop me a note.  I’m happy to pass on all donations.  Hopefully Ganga and her family will have a safe place to call home in 2013J
Other photos:

Ganga, recently widowed, lives on a monthly salary of Rs. 1500 or $28 and cares for her parents-in-law and mother who live together
Ganga’s mother-in-law lost her son on Oct 24, 2012
The roof of their connecting-neighbour’house collapsed under the weight of the recent monsoon rains. The cause is a poorly built home with the use of cheap materials like low quality steel rods and cement and bricks.
Neighbors house destroyed by monsoon rains. Ganga’s house shares a wall and a roof with this house – which is clearly unsafe to live in.
Helping Jeevan take measurements of the house to buy steel rod re-enforcements.And a new born puppy beside him taking a nap!
Ganga’s mother inside the house. This is the living room in the two room house where six people live.
Collapsed roof of the neighboring house.
Ganga in front of her house.
Ganga’s mother looking out the window from the living room.
Ganga’s two sons and a friend named Vidya!
The lower flow is used as a shelter for the family dairy cow. The floors are completely destroyed making it an unsafe shelter for the animals.
An unsafe and unhealthy area for the animals to live in during floods.

Another house built without cement because the owners can’t afford cement – this is dangerous because this region is prone to earthquakes.
Hole in the roof of a house nearby.
Ganga’s son with Vidya and Vidya!

Local Craft

3Kanda is a fairly isolated settlement and as such there is need for local craft expertise. This requirement is more than amply filled. Local craftsmen operate in the areas of carpentry, blacksmithing, masonry, bamboo craft, wool carpet weaving, dehydrated floral craft and Rangoli Alpana (folk painting), to name but a few.

Evidence of these craftsmen’s endeavors is everywhere in Kanda from the delicate carving work to be seen in much of the woodwork in local housing to the skilled gold and silver smiths and carpet weavers in the Market and surrounding area.

Goldsmiths, particularly, have a history in Kanda. It is believed that goldsmiths were the earliest settlers in the area, and they continue to practice their profession in Kanda Market today with great success. Visitors are welcome to stop by to watch how gold and silver are molded into beautiful ornaments by these Kanda craftsmen. Opportunities to see other crafts being practiced are also abundantly available. The making of hand made paper and particularly greeting cards is especially accessible to visitors and hands on opportunities abound.

Partnering & Funding

The following organisations have formed a partnership with R.O.S.E. and Mr Verma.See their websites for further information

Funding

K.S.S./R.O.S.E. is in constant need of funding. All past major projects, for example the building of the latrines, have been funded by volunteers through fundraising activities before their stay in Kanda. This does not mean volunteers may only come with major funds in their luggage, because the added value of the volunteer comes through the provision of labour for work that otherwise may not be afforded. This is especially the case for building projects in the community that already have materials funding and planting or harvesting. Those visitors solely interesting in cultural exchange, rather than volunteer work are also welcome. However securing funding is a sure way to ensure constant employment on a new or major project that can benefit the community in the long term.

If you would like to help ROSE but do not want to volunteer in Kanda, there are many ways you can help:

Donations
Kanda people need clothes, general medications (aspirin, plasters, fever reducer, disinfectants, etc), paper and pencils for the school, vegetable and/or flower seeds, agricultural tools, etc. You can also send money, which will be used for the most urgent needs or for future projects. Mention if you want the money to be used for a special cause.

Spread the Word
You can talk about ROSE to people around you. Maybe some people you know would like to come in Kanda or make a donation. Any form of publicity for this cause is most welcome. Those involved in University life are in especially good positions to promote the needs of the project via University magazines and newsletters/societies.

Additionally, you can always ask Mr Verma for more information on how to help ROSE via his email.

Art & Culture

Kumaoni Culture
3Artistic beauty lies around almost every corner, whether it’s the brightly painted trucks plying dusty rural roads or the exquisite body art of mendhi (henna). Indeed, a highlight of sub-continental travel is its rich art legacy, from ancient temple architecture to a dynamic performing-arts scene.

Creative knowledge regarding local arts and crafts is taught to the younger generations, and many are skilled in artistic pursuits such as dried flower decoration and painting special designs and patterns on the houses, which is called Alpana and Rangoli.

Architectural details on the houses are beautifully carved into the wooden doors and window shutters, which are opened daily. The decorations and carvings on the houses sometimes signify aspects of daily life, such as gods and goddesses, wildlife and the natural environment.

15Commonly worn by married Indian women, the sari comes in a single piece (between 5-9m long and 1m wide) and is ingeniously tucked into place without the need for pins or buttons. Worn with the sari is the choli (tight-fitting blouse) and a drawstring petticoat. The palloo is that part of the sari draped over the shoulder. Also widely worn by women is the salwar kameez, a traditional dresslike tunic and trouser combination accompanied by a dupatta (long scarf). Women also wear many different types of Jewelry, made from Gold and Silver, such as nose and ear studs/rings, necklaces, toe rings, anklets, and many colourful bangles on their wrists, often indicating their marital status.

Traditional attire for men, though not as commonly worn as the sari and salwar kameez by women, includes the dhoti, a loose garment pulled up between the legs like a long loincloth.

Hinduism/shrines

82% of Indians are Hindu. To be a Hindu is to be born a Hindu, and then to follow a certain way of life. The word “Hindu” comes from “Hind”, the old Persian word for India, and Hinduism simply means the religion of the peoples of India. With no founder and no creed, it has evolved over time. As we know it today, it can be compared to a great, deep river into which, over a period of more than 3000 years, many streams have flowed. The streams are the beliefs and practices of the numerous races, ethnic groups, and cultures of the Indian subcontinent. Hinduism has many gods, yet, for some Hindus, there is an impersonal “Absolute” behind them all, called Brahman, creator of the universe. Brahman “unfolds” into Trimurti, the holy trinity made up of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva the destroyer but also re-creator. Hindus everywhere believe in reincarnation, the individual soul born again in another body. Life flows on through death to rebirth. If people are good in one life, they will be rewarded by being well born in their next life. A very bad life on the other hand can lead to reincarnation in animal form. Eventually the circle of rebirth is escaped and the soul joins the world, free from physical restraint.

Hinduism is more a way of life than a set of beliefs.
(Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Former President of India)

ROSE volunteers learn about these religious aspects of community life. There are different religious events, some held in the temples and others in people’s homes. Events of religious significance include celebrations of various Hindu deities such as the celebration of Ramayana, Bhagwatgita, and Shivachana (worship of lord Shiva), the religious speeches of the priest and the nine days of Nawabriti (where there is worship everyday). These rituals give meaning to peoples lives and serve as entertainment. During their stay, visitors may observe various religious customs and traditions, such as marriage ceremonies, the naming ceremony of a baby, and Rakhi, the ceremony of sacred thread. Rakhi is an important ceremony where siblings tie thread around each other’s wrists, and by doing so, sisters are assured of their brother’s support and protection. There are many small and extraordinary religious events, including Jagar, the singing of Kumoani folk songs, and the classical dance Chaachari, to name but a few.

Research

The following are various research papers people have written about the project here at Kanda.

  • September 1999 Brigid McKay New Zealand
    Study on Eco Tourism in Kanda by the financial support of International Centre For Integrated Mountain Development Kathmandu Nepal.
  • April 2001 Prof. Tej Vir Singh and Prof. Shalini Singh, Centre For Tourism Research and Development, Indra Nagar Lucknow.
    Visited and research on Altrustic Tourism: Another Shada Of Sustainable Tourism. The Case of Kanda Community. Published in Tourism Recreation Research Vol.50, No:4, 2002 (also Vol.28(2), 2003).
  • Chapter on “Kanda” in the book ‘Novelty Tourism’ published in UK (CAB International) .
  • May 2004 Pekka Mustonen Researcher, Turku School of Economics Turku Finland research on Reppureissaus on Utta Massaturismia Travellerit tallovat tuttuja polkuja. Published in S K Sunnuntai 27.5.2007.
  • July 2005 Eric Coleman University Researcher from USA study on Rural Eco / Voluntary Tourism.

Organic Farming

2ROSE promotes organic farming and permaculture by using local sustainable crop seeds with organic compost and manure. The fields are ploughed using oxen and a wooden plough. Local farmers are educated in organic practices and the harm that chemical fertilizers and pesticides cause. The organic crops produced are much more beneficial to the health.

ROSE offers a wide variety of activities for anyone interested in learning about organic farming methods. The agricultural work changes from season to season, but there is always work to be done. During the monsoon, volunteers can help the women plant rice in the paddy-fields (June-July). Which although hard work, is extremely enjoyable. During harvest (September-October) visitors are shown how to cut the various crops using only a knife. These crops include rice, wheat, millet, soya, beans and chickpeas to name but a few. The quiet farming months are December, January and February when path maintenance and tree planting takes place if the ground is soft enough. Wheat and rice grains are pounded with a mortar and pestle to make flour for the chapattis eaten at most meals. In the organic garden: onions, chillis, garlic, mustard, greens, beans, radish, peas, spinach, cabbage and many more vegetables are planted. These vegetables are staples in the Indian diet. Creating a better understanding of what goes into the meals offers the visitor a chance for greater appreciation of the food.

In addition to the foods mentioned above another prominent crop in the area is tea. The opportunity to visit a working tea plantation is one that is often of interest to the visitor.