Joining hands – Fostering the community
A Room Of One’s Own
Himalayan Naari friends have successfully raised funds through a crowd-sourcing campaign to build a Women’s Center for the artisans of Chaukori. Construction was completed in May, 2017.
This center serves as a work shop, meeting space and also as a vibrant community hub.
Revival of Heritage Tea cultivation
In 2018, the purchase of land adjacent to the Himalayan Naari Women’s Center provided the opportunity for several livelihood initiatives. By salvaging and nurturing 200 abandoned tea plants, the women started the Chaukori Heritage Tea Nursery.
The tea of this region, known as Berinag tea was historically a highly valued and tasty brew. It was made from the leaves of a wild plant which once grew in many localities in the Himalayas. It is now only grown in Chaukori which was famous for its tea gardens established by the British. In 2019, the women harvested their first tea crop. They are exploring this tea as a potential source of revenue.
In 2018, in addition to the Tea Nursery, the women of Naari reclaimed land to be used for mixed farming. They have planted several acres of community gardens to increase local vegetable production. This land is intended to supplement food for the students of HIC and the women of Himalayan Naari. However, farming in this area is challenging because of poor soil, erosion, weather and pests.
The community is in a learning phase as it struggles to reclaim the farm. They are currently building poly houses on the land to protect the crops and to extend the growing season.
No More Knitting in the Dark
Through a partnership with SoLight Designs and Himalayan Education Foundation Foundation, solar lights are provided to all Naari and Maati artisans and also to wool-workers in both communities. These sustainable and economical lights are helping them to cope with the erratic power supply in the hills.