Wednesday 27 July 2022

Launch of Kangra Gardens initiative - Kangra Botanical Garden

Mr Kiran Topiwala aka Lathiwala modern Gandhi (MA Development Practice, Emory University, USA) has worked hard on the Kangra Gardens design.

Kangra Botanical Garden is the central project of Kangra Gardens and aims to embody everything Kangra Gardens stands for. In this way, it help to not only integrate various EduCARE India projects related to biodiversity, nature and environment conservation, environment consciousness, eco-enterprises, botanics, ayurveda and naturopathy for wellness, sustainable eco-tourism, but will also be a home for them.

Kiran, Sudhakar and Om Prakash working on to create a vege patch

Shabnam relaxing after a garden work bout 

The botanical garden has various purposes:

  • To regenerate the ecosystem and promote the conservation of biodiversity
  • To support community health and build towards food security and nutrition
  • To engage people in connecting better with the environment

Mr Ashish, the Pharma in the Farmer mode.  

Wednesday 30 March 2022

Creating a Task-force of Youth Volunteers for Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Response Preparedness

EduCARE India chose to scale down most of its projects to focus on covid-19 response in early 2020. The NGO continued to invest heavily on mobilising youth volunteers for Creating a Task-force of Youth Volunteers for Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Response Preparedness. 

Through early 2020 to early 2022, a total of about 5000 volunteers were trained in various skill-sets (Basic Fundamentals of Disaster Management, Volunteering, Emergency First Aid, Search and Rescue, Basic Fire Fighting) at our  Centre for Environment, Health and Safety at Kangra in association with Disaster Management Authority and the Red Cross Society. 

Some of these volunteers then went for a 2-week Advanced Search and Rescue course to Regional Mountaineering Centre, while a few select others were then sent for  advanced training to NDRF (National Disaster Response Force for their ToT (Training of Trainers) on CSSR (Collapsed Structure Search and Rescue).

Monday 26 October 2020

COVID-19 Response and Expansion of Medical and Healthcare Outreach initiatives


EduCARE India has been providing volunteer support services to local Red Cross and a charity hospital during COVID-19 pandemic response in capacity building and strategic initiatives, including infrastructural development, community kitchen, new strategic initiatives, training and development,  community disaster education, and emergency first aid.

EduCARE India volunteers and international students in internship, namely Freja from Denmark and Julia from Netherlands had initiated a "Kangra Fights Corona" initiative in the initial weeks of the lockdown in March and April 2020 while working at our Centre for Environment, Health and Safety set up in partnership with local Red Cross, Disaster Management Authority, and Maple Leaf Hospital. This initiative aimed to spread message of community mobilisation for support to vulnerable individuals and families and spreading positivity and hope during the initial days of panic and chaos of coronavirus/covid-19 pandemic response.

Later this initiative was merged into another initiative - SEHAT SEVA (Social-care Empowerment, Health Advocacy and Telemedicine through Social Entrepreneurship and Volunteer Action) that EduCARE India had started working on to deliver public health and medical outreach services to needy and elders at home during the lockdowns with support of our various stakeholders - Red Cross, Emergency Operations Centre, Block Medical Office, and Maple Leaf Hospital.

A "Red Cross Psycho-social Support Centre" was also established to help the stuck up international and national tourists and the migrants in distress.

A residential "De-addiction and Rehabilitation Centre" was re-started to meet the rising needs of the patients.

A Community Kitchen was started in support of the visiting patients, and launched an online charity heritage auction to help the charity hospital raise funds.

Awareness visits were facilitated for frontline health-workers and Corona warriors.

Some of the disused hospital facilities were refurbished to prepare for possible rising emergency admissions at the hospital medical facilities.

Engaged and facilitated several national and overseas international students and young professionals for online volunteer work and internships in support of ongoing work and their academic fieldwork certificate and experiential learning needs.

Organised several workshops, seminars and workshops in support of some of the causes and sustainable development goals.

Launched setting up of a "Regional Centre for Geriatrics and Elderly Care" on the International Day for Older Persons, and committed 10% seed funding / social investment from EduCARE India and its affiliates to this cause.

Committed to set up about 1000+ SEHAT SEVA Centres / SEHAT SEVA Centres for the need of rural population in emergency times and for home health aide of the needy and elderly and in recovery patients in the normal times,


Wednesday 15 April 2020

Kangra Fights Corona - a local platform for FIGHTING the coronavirus / covid-19 pandemic and response crisis with messages of HOPE & POSITIVE SPIRIT.

Kangra Fights Corona is a local platform for FIGHTING the coronavirus / covid-19 pandemic and response crisis with messages of HOPE & POSITIVE SPIRIT.
Freja Bang Rasmussen (Denmark) and Julia Joana (Netherlands)
March-April 2020
------------------WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER------------------
(Hindi below)
This is the time for the people to stand together and FIGHT THIS CORONA-VIRUS!
Kangra Fights Corona is for all citizens of Kangra District. This is a platform to share videos and other posts to create the positive fighting spirit Kangra needs, during these 21 days lockdown.
BE clever
BE positive
BE supportive
इस फेसबुक समूह / ग्रुप के बारे में:
कांगड़ा फाइट्स कोरोना आशा और सकारात्मक भावना के संदेशों के साथ कोरोना-संकट से लड़ने के लिए एक स्थानीय मंच है
------------------ हम सभ इसमें एक साथ शामिल हैं ----------------
यह लोगों के एक साथ खड़े होने का समय है और इस संघर्ष को बढ़ावा दें!
कांगड़ा फाइट्स कोरोना, कांगड़ा जिले के सभी नागरिकों के लिए है। यह कोरोना वायरस से संबंधित लॉकडाउन के दौरान सकारात्मक लड़ाई की भावना कांगड़ा की जरूरत पैदा करने के लिए वीडियो और अन्य पोस्ट साझा करने का एक मंच है।
आपदा के समय में आवश्यकता है कि हम :
चालाक बने
सकारात्मक रहें
सहायक बनो


Sunday 21 July 2019

As I have travelled through India I have been intrigued with how resilient the Tibetan people are and have been through out history. I will leave the deep seeded historical details for academic historians, who have more knowledge that I, to write about.
My interest comes more from a social and community interest and peeked more as I have been staying in Dharamshala, McCloud Ganj, the location of the Dahli Lama and the Tibetan exiled government in India.
This is recent history, I was barely a toddler in Canada when this was going on. Following a decade of political turmoil which started with the invasion of China into Tibet, the Chinese overthrew the Tibetan government. The Dhali Lama, on a self imposed exile, took refuge in India, with his government and over 100000 Tibetan people following.
This year marks 60 years since the Tibetan government went to India in exile, and during these six decades over a million Tibetan people have been killed, and hundreds of thousands of women have been killed, sterilized or forced into abortion, by the Chinese government. Many Tibetan citizens have been murdered for speaking out, in their own country, which continues to be under Communist Chinese rule with no freedom of religion, speech, or press.
Somewhere in the neighbourhood of 6000 Tibetan monasteries have been since obliterated by the Chinese and they have harvested the Tibetan natural resources to near depletion. Over 80% of the Tibetan forests have been destroyed, and large amounts nuclear and toxic waste have been disposed of in Tibet, the starting point for all 10 major rivers that run through the rest of Asia.
The turmoil of the 50’s you would think would be insurmountable but the Tibetan people are not only physically resilient from living in such high mountains with such difficult conditions they appear to be mentally resilient too, to have survived such torture and loss in their country, invaded by China. But it has gotten worse, since that time. The Chinese government policies have almost completely destroyed the Tibetan culture in Tibet. Chinese is now the official language of Tibet and only one in seven people are Tibetan, with the number of Tibetan people continuing to plummet.

The Norbulingka Institute – textile learning.

In India, the Tibetan people face unreasonable economic and social circumstances. They have not been able to identify as refugees, which they are, but rather on paper, in India, Tibetan people are considered as foreigners. They are not allowed to hold government employment and in some cases Universities will not allow Tibetan refugees to enrol. Some say this is the Indian Government’s way of being sensitive to not try to assimilate the Tibetan people. Some Tibetan people living in India say not having citizenship in India causes extreme difficulties when trying to migrate as many countries are not open to refugees from Tibet, while others stay in India and strive to keep their culture alive. Even with unspoken pressure (from family and friends) to take refuge in other countries can be overwhelming to some Tibetan refugees in India.
I visited the Tibetan Cultural centre a few weeks ago and I was truly impressed with how that institute continues to teach Tibetan culture so that the younger generation can carry on. The young people attending that institution were amazing, not only with their craft but their philosophy of working toward a better future while continuing to highlight the Tibetan culture.

Norbulingka Institute – crafts painting room

The Dahli Lama, the spiritual and political leader of Tibetans, an icon, in this world, has and continues to carry the message of peace, supporting and blessing hundreds of initiatives to make life better for the people of this world. Locally, in India, he brings this message concentrated for Indians and Tibetans alike. In fact the Dahli Lama calls India his second home. The Dahli Lama’s foundation has contributed one half a million Indian Rupees to the Indian Medical Association’s facilities.
Recently the Women’s association of Dharamshala has worked with the Tibetan Nun’s on the issue of taxi safety by creating a Woman’s Taxi Service, Pink Wheels Taxi. This service should be available within the year in McLeod Ganj, where most of the Nun’s require taxi service. The Dahli Lama has blessed this initiative.
I have spent the last few months travelling in Asia and have met and seen people in some very impoverished, overwhelming circumstances but the Tibetan people in India, also in some very impoverished circumstances, seem to have a way to make you feel like there is hope for all of the world. It seems through the belief and blessings of the Dahli Lama, they manage to carry on, in spite of the physical and emotional scares from the past.
I have enjoyed my time in India and will miss the cultural experiences and my new found friends when I leave. I would like to come back to India and take a more exploratory look at the Tibetan’s plight as refugees.

Leann, July 2019

Thursday 7 March 2019

‘Grassroots Innovation’ and ‘Waste is Resource’

‘Grassroots Innovation’ and ‘Waste is Resource’

When I first arrived in Naddi after resigning from my comfortable sales job at a tech giant in Mumbai, I had limited knowledge about the development sector and the catastrophic environmental challenges daunting our planet. The radical decision to leave a prosperous career in advertising technology and join Educare as an intern was fueled by my persisting urge to find a deeper purpose in my professional life.

I started the Solid Waste Management project of resource recovery with my two French project partners, Graham and Gaston. At first, none of us had the slightest idea that our project would manifest into what we have managed to achieve today. After the initial two weeks of intensive research on the subject, we concluded that we wanted to design a zero-waste system for the Naddi village on the pillars of the concepts of ‘Circular Economy’ and ‘Waste is Resource/Food’. Generated waste should either enter a biological cycle where it decomposes and provides nutrients to the soil, or a technical cycle that ensures a closed-loop manufacturing system of upcycling and downcycling. Essentially, our goal was to use the waste to support the biosphere and the technosphere - a biomimetic approach we had recently studied.

With our foundations solid and goal set, we now had to work on innovating a localized solution for this global challenge. This was the point when our Chief Director, Mr. Bhullar, introduced us to the concept of systems and design thinking, and we decided to break our goal into two tasks. First, to design a prototype of - what we now call - a ‘RRC’ (Resource Recovery Center), a platform for collection and segregation (within 30 categories) of resources. Second, to create a system around the RRC to facilitate effective and smooth collection, segregation, storage, transportation, and sustainable disposal of resources. Adopting and practicing this newly learnt approach helped us streamline our efforts, improve our focus, and see a holistic picture of what we had set out to accomplish. We were able to connect the dots and virtually actualize a systemic flow of resources from consumers to destinations of their sustainable treatment. While community engagement and behaviour change was an important component of our project, the main objective for us - as told by Mr. Bhullar - was to set up a sustainable system of resource recovery that could be continued by future interns (as it was done by Sami from Finland and Shivani from Canada).

Because we had limited resources and limited knowledge in design, it took us several attempts to develop and perfect the existing RRC. It was a continuous process of design, implementation, evaluation, and amelioration - a cycle, but a forward moving one. Moreover, in order to create a system of intelligent disposal, we made multiple trips to the nearest wholesale waste buyers and recycling facilities to understand the market for the resources we intended to sell, as well as to establish a transport system with them. Not only did these trips acquaint us with the monetary value of each material, but also helped us gain new knowledge concerning the recycling industry, allowing us to better develop the RRC. 

As illustrated in the images below, all our RRCs differ from each other aesthetically but are founded upon the same model. In order to succeed, we had to be flexible with our design but rigid with its essence. We had to move away from the ‘one size fits all’ approach and customize every RRC based on the context (location, free space available, community restrictions, and the resources at our disposal). Nothing comes easy when you work as an intern for an NGO in rural India. Yet, that is a virtue in itself; it forces you to become resourceful in your work and encourages you to do more with less. Such an environment also gives rise to frugal innovation - an approach I have been familiar with since childhood, but had deeply rooted within me after this stint. What I learnt from this experience is something that no classroom could have ever taught me.

It is true that an inter-cultural environment can spark greater creativity and innovation - the outcome of our project certainly justifies it. I am glad that I had the opportunity to work with people from different nationalities and forge some lifelong friendships - I am sure that I will have couches to crash on when I visit Europe.

Rachit Paliwal
Project Manager, Solid Waste Management
Naddi Village
Educare India