After three years of close collaboration with the Tibetan Exile Government, the Himalayan Institute is proud to be fully transitioning management of the Trees for Tibet program to local leadership in the Tibetan settlements of South India. More than 25,000 pongamia trees have been planted in three communities thanks to the combined efforts of Tibetan farmers, local monasteries, and Himalayan Institute Members. Already, these trees are beginning to regenerate degraded land, promote rain-water harvesting, and will soon provide valuable biofuel and organic fertilizer to an entire community.
It all started 5 years ago when representatives of the Tibetan Exile Government visited our flagship humanitarian project in West Africa. They immediately recognized the potential for sustainable agriculture to revitalize overworked soil and to provide new sources of income for marginalized Tibetan farmers. In 2009 an official partnership began:
In Rabgayling Tibetan settlement near Mysore in South India, a 50-acre demonstration plot displays the energy farming crops which are available as seedlings from the adjoining nursery. At the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement, the careful attentions of Tibetan monks have resulted in some of the best pongamia survival and growth rates we’ve ever recorded. In Bylakuppe settlement, our main focus was on introducing herbal crops. A demonstration farm and training center there now holds workshops on the cultivation of medicinal and aromatic species, as well as distributing herbal seedlings to interested farmers.
In keeping with the Institute’s humanitarian mission of community empowerment, management of Trees for Tibet is being fully transferred to the hands of the local community who embraced this project three years ago. We’re confident these projects will continue to blossom under their care. Special thanks to all of the HI members who made this project a success.
As the Trees for Tibet campaign officially comes to a close, we invite you to learn more about our newest humanitarian campaign, The Center for Leadership at Himalayan Institute Cameroon in Africa.