Wednesday, August 19, 2009

IT Education and English: Preface

In some forest regions, SF has been successful of getting most or all the villages resettled outside the forest. In some places, the struggle continues. The villages prior to resettlement have always been dependent on the forest for their resources and there is always an umbilical chord which keeps them tied to the forest. Though the government gives a good amount to each of the households for resettlement, the money will not last forever. Especially for the children of the villages.

Hence, there is a need to provide them with options which will help them generate a source of income in the future and thus keep them away from the forest. The first step towards this is but logically, education. Education in areas which can be used as a platform to leverage their skills – namely IT literacy and knowledge of English language.

This idea was thought and mulled over by us for a couple of months looking for ways to take it forward. Along with Kirti, one of our enthusiastic volunteers who have been involved in the “Hole in the Wall” project by NIIT, we have finally come to a point where the idea seems to be taking some concrete shape.

Early next month, we will be able to give you more news about this.
For updates and requests, please join our facebook group - Tigers of Satpuda.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Lantana: the new bamboo!

Traditionally, village craftsmen in forest areas have used bamboo for making fences, furniture and household items such as baskets. With the rapid shrinking of tiger habitats this has become a serious problem, since bamboo is an integral part of many forests. For instance in Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve the undergrowth is almost all bamboo.

Recently Satpuda Foundation organized a workshop for villagers near Pench Tiger Reserve (Madhya Pradesh). Participants were taught to make items out of lantana wood instead of bamboo. Lantana is an introduced species and it has become a problem in India, as it is invasive and harmful to native vegetation.

The group in the first photo have taken up this craft full-time and have already received orders from a local resort and other clients. I took these pictures in the village Turiya. The chair is as tough as bamboo - our Conservation Officer Anoop Awasthi demonstrated its strength to me by standing on it and jumping up and down!

This is part of our regular capacity-building training programmes, through which we empower villagers to earn better livelihoods and reduce their dependence on the forest. It's a win-win situation for all as wildlife and the environment obviously benefit when deforestation stops. It would be great if we could encourage this initiative by placing orders for lantana items. Please contact us at satpuda AT gmail DOT com, or else email me at rajashree DOT khalap AT gmail DOT com