Oct 5, 2016

Health Programme Report for July-September 2016

Health Programme Report for the period July 2016-September 2016   

Our Health programme for women focuses on equipping a woman with knowledge that will improve her sense of well –being. We therefore not only inform her about her body but also all the pro-active steps she can take to optimize its functioning. Nimmi our Project Director is a Nutritionist with 30 years of experience. During the three months we conduct our programmes in a village, there always sessions where the village women learn about nutrition and sources of nutrition. What is a challenge for us is to replace 10 minute-noodles with something that can be prepared as quickly, is tasty and definitely of greater value to her family health.

The past three months, our team has been conducting an Advance course in Melkowatty which covers preparation of basic traditional Ayurvedic Choornams. These are the equivalent of health supplements which are sold all over the world by big Pharmaceutical companies. They improve digestion and shore the immune system. All of us from an older generation grew up on a yearly cycle of detoxing. Fortunately enough number of older women in the villages know and still practice these traditions. But it is getting harder and harder to convince a younger generation woman that these systems are invaluable and they are designed to flow with the seasons. These are some of the challenges we are facing. We always make all these discussions participatory.

The basic course was inaugurated at Kallakorai and Ottimaraosahatty villages. Around 15 women from Kallakorai and 23 from Ottimara joined the programme. We, who are outside of the daily running of Earth Trust try and attend these inaugurations. Naturally it is the village headman, his committee and other men who are present. The sight of all these enthusiastic women is always exciting and such a huge affirmation of the success of the programme. Looking at all these eager young women, interacting with them, one sometimes forgets to acknowledge the men-folk and their support!!! We always, always remember Vanya Orr whose brain-child the programme is. Invariably one or other of our Health team is in tears remembering her and sharing their interactions with her with the village women. This is our homage to her. We are attaching a small part of the report sent by our Team to us. The brevity and simplicity is heart-warming and deeply touching. You see, they then have to fight –in a friendly fashion of-course- for access to the office computer, to single finger type the report, coax and cajole one of the guys to draw the tables and someone else to download and upload the photographs and finally send it to us for writing this report. One constant and frustrating exercise has been to make them understand – the guys at the office- that we cannot use photographs sent as a word document. They are finally beginning to– Hallelujah! We are sharing all of this with you – as it is the only way to involve you not only with the excitement of all that is happening on the ground but all also the hurdles one has to jump over to get this report out on time!!

What the terse two sentence report does not tell you is the struggle Mala –one of our Health team members has, to make it to these remote villages by bus and at times to walk the distance to the villages. It does not tell you of Meera, the other team member who has a Damocles sword hanging above her head- her husband’s cancer label. He is 50 years old now; he was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus five years ago- in the prime of his life. After surgery, he had chemotherapy. Early diagnosis and treatment helped; he is now in remission but weak and does not go to work. Meera has been managing his health just by nutrition alone. Meera is the sole bread-winner now. She is a sterling example of what the whole Women’s Health programme is all about. She has been walking the talk – an informed woman is a source of tremendous strength. We at Earth Trust salute her.

We are doing important work here – investing in a woman’s health, encouraging her to take ownership of her body and her well -being. The battle is to make her understand that it is not the end of the world if she puts her health first before that of her family’s; that her healthy presence is the best thing that can happen to her family and by the ripple effect her community. These are constant dialogues we have with them during the three months we are there in a village. This happens every single time.

The programmes in both Kallakorai and Ottimara Hosahatty will spill over to October as well. After the valedictory function, we will move on to our next village. We cover around three villages in a year.  

Every Health programme is the same—the faces change but content is the same. Locations differ. But believe us, the fizz and energy each time does not diminish!! Every time we also learn something new.  

The union between Monsanto and Bayer looms large on our horizons—we are prepared for the long haul.  

.  


Attachments:
Oct 4, 2016

Report for the period July'16-September'16

JULY2016-SEPTEMBER 2016

The Monsoons have been erratic. Our Farming team is hard pressed to proffer solutions to farmers dependant on the rains. However, the number of farmers who have expressed a desire to join Biogain our farmers co-operative has gone up. Earth Trust facilitates the functioning of Biogain. Biogain accepts those interested farmers as members who regularly follow ET protocols for Organic/natural farming. They meet regularly. ET facilitates these meetings. The farmers decide the price of a particular vegetable or fruit or other produce after collecting data from various agencies like the open market, Uzhavar Sandhais ( State sponsored farmers’ markets) and other similar agencies. The price is then frozen for a minimum of 3 months. These decisions are taken solely by the farmers. A premium is fixed for their produce being organic, again fixed by the farmers. ET Organics (ETO) buys their produce and markets it. Payment is made on a weekly basis and the money goes directly into the farmer’s bank account. Thus the farmer not only gets a fair price but is assured of regular payment.ETO profits are ploughed back into Earth Trust. It is an effort by Earth Trust to become self-sustaining in the long run.

Providence College for women Coonoor, celebrated its Golden Jubilee (July 28th) by distributing 50 seedlings per tray per farmer and to anyone else interested. The programme was inaugurated on the platform of Coonoor railway station. The plants were being taken to Ooty by the Nilgiri Mountain Railway train. At every stop in between, farmers, house wives, students thronged the stations to receive vegetable seedlings/fruit trees saplings. It was a gala event. The Nilgiri Mountain railway has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. It is the only rack and pinion driven train in the world. It travels at a dignified speed of 10 kilometres per hour!! Nimmi - our Project Director was requested by the College to address the gathering of school and college students at Coonoor railway station. She gave a rousing speech saying that what the Nilgiris need is 100 more NGOs like Earth Trust!! Our farmers were there at every stop-5 of them, to receive plants.

August saw an increase in enrollment in Biogain. Some our farmers are quite a distance away. Raven’s nest farm at Kerkombai – is 38 kilometres away- a distance of 76 kms up and down from the office. But our Farming team is almost evangelical in its determination to detoxify the soil. So distances do not matter-every cent of land made chemical free is a step towards a Healthy Environment.

We ushered in September with unexpected Bandhs- a shutting down of all activity. This was because of the dispute between the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over the sharing of waters of the river Cauvery. More and more rain-water harvesting systems are being factored in our appeals for helping the small-holding farmer. Our marketing routines went haywire as busses and lorries were prevented from crossing over from one state to another. Dealing with produce unexpectedly not sent, had the ETO team on its toes. Value addition is the answer for such crises in the future. It is proposal writing time—trying to get information from our busy teams is like juggling with both hands as they are very busy with their respective programmes. The bigger Trusts and Funding organizations call for submissions, to be ready for disbursal from the next financial year- April 2017.The farming team is in a flurry co-ordinating with farmers regarding crop planning. We do this working backwards from the buyers’ requirements.  We cannot miss this window of the planting cycle. The harvest will be ready before the cold sets in. We go up to -1 to -2 degrees in peak winter sometimes during end December to mid January. Many big buyers are headed our way because of the trust the ET stamp engenders. We signed our first MoU with one of them from Kerala. We are in no rush to do this with others, as, we as a team, need to have a philosophical discussion on the pros and cons of being beguiled by commercial compulsions. It needs to be tempered by wisdom and our big picture vision.

Our Income Generation Programmes and Health programmes run for women are chugging along in tandem. They are being conducted at Kallakorai and Ottimara Hosahatty. These neighbouring villages are about 17 kilometres from the office.Our team members have to change two buses at times to reach there. But as always, the enthusiastic greetings from the participants make it worthwhile. Every time a programme is inaugurated or a valedictory function is held, we the Trustees or guests always groan at the thought of all the food that the village women serve. Their idea of hospitality translates into stuffing us all up to the gills. Nimmi our Project Director has started making a small dent in the menu. She was a practicing nutritionist with 30 years experience before she joined Earth Trust. Instead of sickly sweet milky tea, we are served herbal concoctions. We hope to be able to persuade them to serve millets instead of rice. It is such a pity that rice has become such a staple part of their diet. They traditionally ate a lot of Ragi- finger millet. Rafeeq our general factotum cum driver cum Health team member went for an advance course in Varma Kalai—an ancient South Indian healing system called ”art of vital points”. It evolved from martial arts training. The Gurus are Asaans –like the Japanese Sensei.

The Eco club programmes are carrying on as usual. We have had to deal with schools being closed due to the Bandhs.

Jogi- a foundation stone of The Earth Trust and part of the Biodynamic farming team has an aneurism in his brain. He has been part of Earth Trust since inception. We send this report with sadness in our collective hearts, but also with a prayer on a wing.  

Sep 26, 2016

Report for the period July 2016 to September 2016

Raven's nest farm,Kerkombai
Raven's nest farm,Kerkombai

JULY2016-SEPTEMBER 2016

The Monsoons have been erratic. Our Farming team is hard pressed to proffer solutions to farmers dependant on the rains. However, the number of farmers who have expressed a desire to join Biogain our farmers co-operative has gone up. Earth Trust facilitates the functioning of Biogain. Biogain accepts those interested farmers as members who regularly follow ET protocols for Organic/natural farming. They meet regularly. ET facilitates these meetings. The farmers decide the price of a particular vegetable or fruit or other produce after collecting data from various agencies like the open market, Uzhavar Sandhais ( State sponsored farmers’ markets) and other similar agencies. The price is then frozen for a minimum of 3 months. These decisions are taken solely by the farmers. A premium is fixed for their produce being organic, again fixed by the farmers. ET Organics (ETO) buys their produce and markets it. Payment is made on a weekly basis and the money goes directly into the farmer’s bank account. Thus the farmer not only gets a fair price but is assured of regular payment.ETO profits are ploughed back into Earth Trust. It is an effort by Earth Trust to become self-sustaining in the long run.

Providence College for women Coonoor, celebrated its Golden Jubilee (July 28th) by distributing 50 seedlings per tray per farmer and to anyone else interested. The programme was inaugurated on the platform of Coonoor railway station. The plants were being taken to Ooty by the Nilgiri Mountain Railway train. At every stop in between, farmers, house wives, students thronged the stations to receive vegetable seedlings/fruit trees saplings. It was a gala event. The Nilgiri Mountain railway has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. It is the only rack and pinion driven train in the world. It travels at a dignified speed of 10 kilometres per hour!! Nimmi - our Project Director was requested by the College to address the gathering of school and college students at Coonoor railway station. She gave a rousing speech saying that what the Nilgiris need is 100 more NGOs like Earth Trust!! Our farmers were there at every stop-5 of them, to receive plants.

August saw an increase in enrollment in Biogain. Some our farmers are quite a distance away. Raven’s nest farm at Kerkombai – is 38 kilometres away- a distance of 76 kms up and down from the office. But our Farming team is almost evangelical in its determination to detoxify the soil. So distances do not matter-every cent of land made chemical free is a step towards a Healthy Environment.

We ushered in September with unexpected Bandhs- a shutting down of all activity. This was because of the dispute between the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over the sharing of waters of the river Cauvery. More and more rain-water harvesting systems are being factored in our appeals for helping the small-holding farmer. Our marketing routines went haywire as busses and lorries were prevented from crossing over from one state to another. Dealing with produce unexpectedly not sent, had the ETO team on its toes. Value addition is the answer for such crises in the future. It is proposal writing time—trying to get information from our busy teams is like juggling with both hands as they are very busy with their respective programmes. The bigger Trusts and Funding organizations call for submissions, to be ready for disbursal from the next financial year- April 2017.The farming team is in a flurry co-ordinating with farmers regarding crop planning. We do this working backwards from the buyers’ requirements.  We cannot miss this window of the planting cycle. The harvest will be ready before the cold sets in. We go up to -1 to -2 degrees in peak winter sometimes during end December to mid January. Many big buyers are headed our way because of the trust the ET stamp engenders. We signed our first MoU with one of them from Kerala. We are in no rush to do this with others, as, we as a team, need to have a philosophical discussion on the pros and cons of being beguiled by commercial compulsions. It needs to be tempered by wisdom and our big picture vision.

Our Income Generation Programmes and Health programmes run for women are chugging along in tandem. They are being conducted at Kallakorai and Ottimara Hosahatty. These neighbouring villages are about 17 kilometres from the office.Our team members have to change two buses at times to reach there. But as always, the enthusiastic greetings from the participants make it worthwhile. Every time a programme is inaugurated or a valedictory function is held, we the Trustees or guests always groan at the thought of all the food that the village women serve. Their idea of hospitality translates into stuffing us all up to the gills. Nimmi our Project Director has started making a small dent in the menu. She was a practicing nutritionist with 30 years experience before she joined Earth Trust. Instead of sickly sweet milky tea, we are served herbal concoctions. We hope to be able to persuade them to serve millets instead of rice. It is such a pity that rice has become such a staple part of their diet. They traditionally ate a lot of Ragi- finger millet. Rafeeq our general factotum cum driver cum Health team member went for an advance course in Varma Kalai—an ancient South Indian healing system called ”art of vital points”. It evolved from martial arts training. The Gurus are Asaans –like the Japanese Sensei.

The Eco club programmes are carrying on as usual. We have had to deal with schools being closed due to the Bandhs.

Jogi- a foundation stone of The Earth Trust and part of the Biodynamic farming team has an aneurism in his brain. He has been part of Earth Trust since inception. We send this report with sadness in our collective hearts, but also with a prayer on a wing.  

Ramvel Gardens Farm
Ramvel Gardens Farm
Yoga under  gaze of an elder, machines to be used
Yoga under gaze of an elder, machines to be used
 
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