By Daniel Mung:
Baman Deh is a remote village, surrounded by disappearing forestlands in Rajasthan. World Vision India implemented the Climate Change Project in the village by providing fuel-efficient wood-stoves, biogas, and solar home lighting. Children learn about the importance of environmental protection and conservation, through various ‘learn with fun’ approaches and are also encouraged to plant, nurture, and protect trees.
The area was once a lush green forest, but now has very few remnants of that time. Traditionally, the Sahariyas are forest dwellers. In the recent past, they were powerless to stop wood merchants from decimating the forests. Along with the forests, the wood merchants have destroyed the Sahariya livelihood and lifestyle. The Sahariyas are expert woodsmen and forest produce gatherers. Their main business was gathering and selling forest wood, gum, tendu leaf, honey, mahua and medicinal herbs.
Today, many of the Sahariya are settled cultivators. Agriculture is largely rain-dependent with merely 2% of the total land area being irrigated.
Visit this community through photos.
Dust storms are an everyday affair during summers in Baman Deh. To reach this area you must travel through shallow streams, dust and over rocks and rugged terrain. Degraded forests, changing rainfall patterns, acute water scarcity and shortage of fodder during summers have led to incidences of cattle deaths every year. This has greatly affected livelihood issues for the Sahariya community.
Chula (cooking stoves) require a daily quantity of about 10 kilogrammes of firewood to cook a day’s food. The wood required is also slightly larger in nature due to the types of trees available.
World Vision India distributed fuel-efficient wood stoves to households in Baman Deh, which has significantly reduced the stress on women from firewood collection. The wood requirement for the wood-stoves is only about 3-4 kilogrammes for a day’s food. It cooks faster and emits very little smoke. The wood-stove only require twigs unlike solid logs used in traditional chulas. This means there is no need to cut down trees, instead, one has to only collect twigs that have fallen to the ground.
Hemlata, 20, prepares chappati using a fuel efficient wood stove and her hut illuminated by the solar home lights. World Vision India also introduced biogas energy to the community. This has reduced the stress on forests, reduced indoor pollution and improved health. “Due to the clean burning wood-stove, the walls and roof of my house are clean as it emits very little smoke,” says Hemlata.
Dinesh, 21, showing the vermicompost soil in his backyard. World Vision is promoting chemical-free and organic farming in the rural communities that is environmentally friendly, healthy, and sustainable.
World Vision India teaches children about the importance of environmental protection and conservation, through various ‘learn with fun’ approaches. Children are also encouraged to plant, nurture, and protect trees.
Community land dedicated for a tree plantation. These plantation programmes initiated through children’s clubs, are improving tree coverage around the region.
Dinesh studying with the help of the solar lamps. “I prepare for my exams throughout the night,” says Dinesh. Since solar lamps are now present in all the households of Baman Deh, children are able to study at night. Dinesh is the first Sahariya in his village to complete school and pursue higher education with a Bachelors of Arts (BA) degree. He is currently completing his final year through distance learning while serving as a teacher at the Mahawadi centre.
Read more about the past work of World Vision India, here.