Project Description

Sustainable Community Development

Since 2001, PRASAD Chikitsa has been implementing meaningful and effective sustainable community development programs. Initiatives include agricultural, environmental, educational and women’s empowerment programs that provide a more stable livelihood for the people.

Self-Help Groups (SHGs)

Women in the Tansa Valley generally have little to no education, are reliant on their husbands to support the family and are traditionally not leaders within their villages. The poverty and illiteracy of the region leads to numerous family and community concerns. The creation of self-help groups has allowed women to unite and become empowered to learn new skills and become leaders within their communities.

SHGs help their members tackle the innumerable problems they face, including indebtedness, alcoholism and illiteracy. When individuals come together to form a SHG, they each agree to contribute a nominal sum of money every month to a common pool. PRASAD Chikitsa volunteers then help the group to set up systems and processes to manage their finances, decision-making, and planning, as well as to help them maintain discipline.

SHGs are involved in a range of projects, including running small businesses, improving the condition of roads and schools, organizing village cleanups, promoting HIV/AIDS awareness and accomplishing environmental initiatives.

In 2001, there were 11 PRASAD Chikitsa SHGs in the Tansa Valley. Today, there are 245 SHGs, with more than 2,900 members among them. The success of these SHGs is inspiring more and more women to form their own groups.

Organic Farmers

Farming is the main livelihood for many people in the Tansa Valley. However, there are numerous environmental challenges, a limited growing season and significant associated costs that made sustaining a family with traditional farming alone difficult.  PRASAD Chikitsa addresses this need by educating farmers about a range of issues, including how to increase crop output, conserve water, and implement year-round farming techniques. Since 2012, PRASAD has focused on organic farming and has committed to working only with farmers who pledge to use organic farming techniques.

Tree Planting

In 2007, PRASAD Chikitsa Self-Help Groups (SHGs) took the lead in implementing a tree-planting program in the Tansa Valley. So far, SHGs have planted thousands of trees around villages and schools throughout the region. The trees they have planted are helping to restore the environment. In the case of fruit trees, they also provide food and a cash crop.

Orchard (WADI) Project and Second Crop Initiative

With PRASAD Chikitsa’s support, farmers in the Tansa Valley have planted mango and chikku trees – popular fruits that are easy to sell. Amidst the trees, they also are planting cash crops such as colorful marigolds or chamomiles, and vegetables such as spinach, beans, cucumbers, peppers and squash.

Education

PRASAD Chiktisa staff members encourage the children to work hard and emphasize the importance of education. PRASAD distributes education materials (textbooks, notebooks, pens, and pencils) to children of under-privileged families to help facilitate school attendance.

Arts and Crafts Program

PRASAD Chikitsa also helps young people in the Tansa Valley find vocations that are rooted in the local culture. PRASAD began the Kalakendra Arts & Crafts Program in 1998, to preserve the cultural heritage of the Tansa Valley region. It provides the youth with opportunities for self-expression and employment.

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