Success Stories: Cause for Hope
As SeedTree envoys were bicycling to project sites in the remote area of Chitwan called Madi, Hiram Bishwakarma (right background), a leader of Dikurbari (Dove Garden) village halted us on the path, requesting help in providing classes for the simple schoolhouse they had built.
This request in 2001, prompted us to develop a rural environmental education course. We published a 56 page illustrated manual: "Ourselves and our Environment," written in clear and simple Nepalese by our Program Manager, Bishnu Kumar B.K. This basic course in environment and practical human ecology is having such a profound impact on the villages where we teach it, that we plan to expand this as a fundamental component of our integrated work in as many villages as possible.
This year, 2004, SeedTree awarded Hiram Bishwakarma with a scholarship for his children in appreciation for all that came from his initiative to serve his community.
Young adults remember fearing tigers as they walked moist jungle paths to school in the now dry Dang Valley, Nepal. The forest was cleared for malaria eradication, timber, settlement, and agriculture. (Ironically, recent research shows malaria correlated with deforestation.) Now dwellers struggle against loss of soil and water to eke out a living. Yet, hope and hard work are bearing fruit.
In 1996 an eroding area was the start of a SeedTree project carried out by Maya Bhandari and her women's group. The group planted tree seedlings there. Though drought hampered the project, in 1999 the same area had a small but productive community forest supplying fuel, fodder, and building materials.
In 2001, Maya and her group piloted our first Community Environmental Trust Fund. CETFs have since become an established crowning capstone program for motivated communities demonstrating initiative and responsibility in other districts.
Some of the land that was equally barren is now a model of agroforestry. We awarded Bandhu Ram Chaudhary a well for his exemplary work. When Bhandhu resolved in 1996 to work with SeedTree, his wife stopped speaking to him, thinking it folly. Now his nursery, orchard and garden supports his own and his brother's family sending all the children to school - and "his wife loves him so much!"