Earth Trust (www.earthtrustnilgiris.org) has as its vision, Creating Viability and Well-Being in Rural Communities.
Our Mission is To Revitalize The Nilgiris By Giving Tools To Create Vibrant And Abundant Communities.
In keeping with our mission, our programs are tailored to support holistic empowering of the Nilgiris communities, targeted particularly at empowering the women. We aim to support an ongoing self-sustainability and well-being for the communities.
To this end, to date, The Earth Trust has conducted, completed, and has ongoing programs in twenty villages in the Nilgiris.
We give here an example of Kattery Village.
Approximate population: 2000
No of Houses: 400
Primary Health Care Center: Yes
Income: From Tea Estates, Agriculture
School: Kattery Village Primary School
The following programs were set up at Kattery:
THE INCOME GENERATION PROGRAM
Conducted over a period of 90 days
Number of participants: 15 women
The women learnt knitting, embroidery, crochet, stitching, dress making.
Through this program, the women learnt basic skills to keep their families warm, the children clothed appropriately for school and for day-to-day living. In addition, it also gave them the skills and opportunity to start small tailoring units of their own, if they so desired.
The women of Kattery Village are a very vibrant group. After completion of the Income Generation Program, they opted to enrol themselves in The Health Program conducted by The Earth Trust.
THE HEALTH PROGRAM
The Health Program was conducted at Kattery from March 2013 through August 2013.
Number of participants: 11 women.
The Health Program is aimed at imparting basic knowledge of the human body along with its various systems, empowering the women with knowledge to be able to handle simple ailments prevalent in villages. At the end of each system they are given traditional herbal plants which are known cures for the treatment of everyday problems pertaining to that particular system.
These plants are grown in a community garden, which by the end of the Health Program gives the community a start-up herbal garden.
The women of Kattery were also taught reflexology, massage, Reiki, preparation of homemade remedies for internal and external use, as well as preparation of some basic Siddha supplements.
At the end of the Health Program, Earth Trust’s farming personnel conducted a one-day seminar on the setting up of organic herbal as well as kitchen gardens, imparting knowledge so that each family could be self sufficient in growing their own basic vegetables and herbs for medicinal use.
From the knowledge and empowerment the women of Kattery received, they have formed a group, rented a room, and have started their own Income Generation Program. They are open to taking in commercial stitching, knitting orders etc. They are also preparing, marketing, and selling traditional snacks, in their small way working towards self sustainability for themselves, their families and their community.
The Earth Trust acknowledges them and feels proud to be associated with the Kattery village women.
In the south of Nilgiris there is a great gorge and down it 43 tight hairpin bends wind their way. From the warm road bee eaters wing up and away. Somewhere towards the bottom is a wild farm where rat snakes seem to fly out & down the slope when you pass… a king cobra stays there and when the mating season of the bears comes round, fights between the males sound like crashing metal. The sun comes up from under your feet and deer of all kinds pass through. Below the wooded slopes is the small hamlet of Geddai housing the people working at the hydro dam that is linked in with a network of dams across the hills in a massive engineering feat.
15 senior eco club students from 13 villages were scooped up and brought to a camp site right next to the river at the bottom. There they met Ganesh and Daya from FAWES organization in Chennai, an experienced and highly professional couple who aim to keep people in touch with the wilderness and build character & self reliance with the children. 1000 ft. above the village, supporters of the eco clubs- Phil and Eunice- arrived to cheer them on. The three Earth Trust eco club trainers helped organize the programe and the Forest Department came to ensure that the small herd of elephants wandering near-by were not a problem. It was a memorable time for everyone and a follow up training for the ET team is being planned.
The Benefits Of Nature Camp Includes:
Nature Camp Activities
A). Rock Climbing
B). Experiential Learning Programme In Nature Camp
Venue : Manjoor, Geddai Forest Area
Participants : 15 Senior Ecoclub students
ET Members : Ms. Vanya Orr (PD), C. Sivakumar (PC), M. Sivakumar, Suresh Kumar & Ramesh Kumar (Eco-club Team)
Special Visitors : Mr. Phil crook & Ms. Eunice.
Resource Persons : Mr. Ganeshan & Daya from FAWES, Chennai, Tamilnadu.
List of Eco-club students
1 Nagaraj Doddabetta School
2 Ramesh Adasolai School
3 Subash Kilkowahatty School
4 Kumar Kilkowahatty School
5 Jevanantham Kollimalai School
6 Haridass Bandisolai School
7 Sanjeev Attadi School
8 Pradeep Gurnsey School
9 Anand Sogathorai School
10 Santhosh Thambatty School
11 Danush Thenalai School
12 Surya narayanan Kilkundha School
13 Nagaraj Araihatty School
14 Kevenraj Thenalai School
15 Sivaraj Glenmorgan School
INTRODUCTION OF BIODYNAMIC FARMING:
Biodynamics is a spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture, food production and nutrition. This method of organic farming emphasizes the holistic development and interrelationship of the soil, plants and animals as a self sustaining system. Biodynamics is thus not just a holistic agricultural system but also a potent movement for new thinking and practices in all aspects of life connected to food and agriculture.
Biodynamic farming - to create a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself. Preparations made from fermented manure, minerals and herbs are used to help restore and harmonize the vital life forces of the farm and to enhance the nutrition, quality and flavor of the food being raised.
Biodynamic methods work toward the development of the farm or garden as a balanced and sustainable unit. They include organic practices such as crop rotation, recycling through composts and liquid manures, and increasing plant and animal bio diversity. Special plant, animal and mineral preparations are used. The rhythmic influences of the sun, moon, planets and stars are recognised and worked with where possible. These methods lead to a natural reduction of pests and diseases in plants and animals, and an increase in the nutritive and health giving value of food produced.
The biodynamic (BD) preparations are numbered 500-508. These are best interpreted as homeopathic treatments applied to the soil or compost, whereby small amounts have a tremendous impact on soil enhancement, fertility and vitality. The BD 500 preparation (horn-manure) is made from cow manure (fermented in a cow horn that is buried in the soil for six months through autumn and winter) and is used as a soil spray to stimulate root growth and humus formation. The BD 501 preparation (horn-silica) is made from powdered quartz (packed inside a cow horn and buried in the soil for six months through spring and summer) and applied as a foliage spray to stimulate and regulate growth. The next six preparations, BD 502-507, are used in making compost. Finally, there is BD preparation 508 which is prepared from the silica-rich horsetail plant (Equisetum arvense) and used as a foliage spray to suppress fungal diseases in plants. The BD preparations are listed below:
Biodynamic preparations have influence on soil structure and micro-organisms enhancing soil fertility and increasing biodiversity. And intended to help moderate and regulate biological processes as well as enhance and strengthen the life forces on the farm. The preparations are used in homeopathic quantities, meaning they produce an effect in extremely diluted amounts. As an example, just 1/16th ounce a level teaspoon of each compost preparation is added to seven to ten ton piles of compost.
BIODYNAMIC PREPARATION TRAINING at our Kollimalai Resource Nursery
Benefits of regular Application
METHOD OF PREPARATION
FARM & GARDEN USES
BORON, CHLORIDES OF POTASH PHOSPHATES, homeopathically
FARM & GARDEN USE
E. BD 505 – OAK BARK (Quercus rubra)
METHOD OF PREPARATION
FARM & GARDEN USE
METHOD OF PREPARATION
FARM & GARDEN USE
Reconnect children with Nature: Seeding the importance of conservation of the unique shola forest at the right age group in an enjoyable way.
Organic agriculture follows the laws of nature. The below mentioned 88 Eco Club students and 10 teachers from 8 rural Eco Club schools were exposed to 3 different Shola and grassland forests in Nilgiris. (Wet evergreen montane forest)
While the waste biomass accumulates, the children begin to discover and to learn the basic principles of organic agriculture. A field trip to an area of indigenous forest (Tropical montane evergreen forest/ shola and grassland forest) provides the springboard. Here they witness a self-sustaining integrated eco-system with natural mulch, humus formation, mixed species, diversity of wildlife and so on. As a comparison, they then visit an exotic forest of pine, eucalyptus, or wattle. The differences are apparent: only one species, no birds, sunlight burning the open forest floor, hard ground, little humus.
The eco-club members can easily grasp the parallels between shola forest and organic farming, and between exotic forest and conventional farming.
At the end of the programme a quiz was conducted to refresh what they have learned from the shola forest experience.
Sr.No Name of the school No of students No of Teachers Place
1 P.U.M.School ,Kollimalai 11 1 Glenmorgan Forest
2 P.U.M.School, Thenalai 12 2 Glenmorgan Forest
3 P.U.M.School, Sogathorai 9 1 Glenmorgan Forest
4 M.M.School, Attadi 12 1 Kodanadu Forest
5 M.M.School, Bandisolai 21 2 Kodanadu Forest
6 P.U.M.School, Kilkowatty 9 1 Pykara Forest
7 P.U.M.School, Adasolai 9 1 Pykara Forest
8 P.U.M.School, Odaikadu 5 1 Pykara Forest
Total: 88 10
The Earth Trust provides Income Generation Programmes for tribal village women to improve their home skills & health issues and help towards their financial improvement. They are given 100 days training in Knitting, sewing, embroidery & other craft and food processing skills. When they complete this programme they have the skill to knit & make clothes for their families and can start to generate their own income.
As an unexpected and invaluable result we also found that the women who had previously been isolated at home found friends and a new supporting community over the 3-month training period During this programme the tribal women gain the confidence to start discussing their health issues and family problems in a supportive and low key way with our team which enables many troubling issues to be resolved.
The villages we work with are of farming communities so we take them for exposure visits to organic farming fields where they get awareness about organic farming, health and herbal plants and are encouraged to grow their own kitchen herbal & vegetable garden.
During April 2012 to June 2012 we have given this training to 15 women in Kethorai village. This will complete 17 villages in which we have impacted more than 249 women and their families.
The Training modules for 3 months:
Basic Training – 1st Month:
Basic mechanisms for the sewing machines;
3 types of Hemming, 3 types of Button Stitches,
Learning to use the sewing machine with a foot pedal,
Designing and Cutting – Shorts (Boys & Girls) Petticoat, Under skirt, Skirt (Long & Short),
Embroidery for various dress materials, furnishing etc.:Pillow covers, Cushion covers, Frocks, Churidhars, blouses, Bags, Door mats, Dinner Mats and Purse/ handbag materials
Basic Training – 2nd Month
Designing & cutting on cloth and paper: Skirt (Full & Half) Skirt Blouse (Neck type U, V type etc.) Frock – Four types Pleated petticoat Gathered petticoat
Advanced Training – 3rd Month
Designing & cutting on cloth and paper: Churidhar – 2 types of Pajamas, Sun suit Waistcoats, Sari Blouse – (With a U-neck, V-neck etc) Uniform – Skirt & Blouse, Trouser & Shirt
Knitting Basic & Advanced Training
Introduction to knitting Needles Starting stitches Crocheting Taking measurements Teaching variety of Designs & Module Knitted Items Scarf, mat, cap – 4 types Socks – 2 types Sweater - 5 models Shawls - ordinary & ‘V’ shawls Sweater designs For Babies, School children, ladies & gents
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Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu