We’ve been updating you on Namarupa’s Bandhava fundraising effort for victims of this summer’s flooding in Northern India. We now can report that the effort has topped $14,000, and as Robert Moses reports:
Swami Janardhananda reports that: “So far we have enrolled 50 students (5th to 12th standard) under the project name ‘Vidya Sankari’ from the three villages namely – Rawada, Benkoli and Sunnagar. Besides educational kits, we have sent food, clothes and other day-today use articles on 50 mules – the only possible transportation on these treacherous tracks – to the residents of these villages, thanks to the karma yoga of Brahmachari Rama, Ranjan and Francois.”
That’s just the start to the Namarupa updates.
We’ve known that Robert was heading to India for a trip, during which he’d be filming for the Hilmalayan Education Foundation. Now, thanks to this newspaper article, the world can know, too:
Unlike residents of New Hampshire who hike for fun, for a good challenge, for the exercise, or just for the views, those living in the villages nestled in India’s rugged Himalaya region must scramble up and down mountains for day-to-day travel. When Hardikar, an avid hiker in both New Hampshire and India, made this observation, he thought of a way both types of mountaineers could work together.
“Hiking in India is very different from around here,” he said. “There are no marked trails or signs, and you need to have a guide, a person from a village that knows the mountains.”
But not many guides from the Himalayas have all the required skills.
Enter Hardikar and his new project: outdoor education. Hardikar would like to train students from the Himalaya Public School to be mountain guides so they can work in their own community. “I’d like to see alternatives to commercial outfits or going to college for these kids,” said Hardikar. “I can see a market developing, where outsiders come in and see what India has to offer.”
As a pilot program, the HEF sponsored five Himalaya Public School students to take part in an outdoor leadership program in April at the Hanifl Centre for Outdoor Education in Musooree, India. The students loved their experience so much that they wanted something similar to be offered at their own school.
To run an outdoor education program, the school will need two items: equipment, which is “not easy to find in India,” according to Hardikar, and coaches. Hardikar knows mountaineers in the area near the school willing to help coach. As for the equipment, that’s where Robert Moses, a photographer and videographer for Eastern Mountain Sports and a self-described “India-phile,” comes in.
You can read all about that program and others at the link. I shall now go enjoy the description of Robert as an “India-phile,” which I guess does cover it.
Eddie Stern also has linked to this.
Posted by Steve