You’ve never heard of Basanti – but you definitely should have.
Basanti lives in Uttarakhand, one of the northern-most states in India, a place bordered by the ancient Himalayan mountains.
She comes from a place where women are sent into forests to collect fodder to feed their livestock – despite farmers keeping their cows out of the very same forests for fear that their precious livestock will be eaten by tigers.
In Uttarakhand, women are subjugated, isolated and discriminated against; men are disenfranchised, abusing their power and turning to illegal alcohol for respite; forests decimated because the trees are sold off to big corporations with no benefit to the local community; and the cycle of hunger keeps on turning, as it has for generations gone by.
The cycle continues because to date, solutions have always been band-aid fixes, and have never been addressed in a sustainable way. Social, economic and environmental issues have never been considered as interwoven.
This way of life is not sustainable – It perpetuates the cycle of hunger and poverty.
The Hunger Project is working in partnership with champions of change to create sustainable solutions to ending their hunger. In fact, sustainability is a core principle of The Hunger Project’s work, and is key to any solution we implement in partnership with the community.
This end of financial year, invest in the champions of change in Uttarakhand.
The Challenges of Life in Uttarakhand.
In the mountains of Uttarakhand, life is very different depending on your gender.
95% of the state is mountainous so terrace farming and agriculture is the main way of life but men still have more opportunities than women.
Men in Uttarakhand often sign up for the defence force. The state of Uttarakhand has the highest number of enrolments in the Indian Army. Other common jobs that men have include taxi drivers, store managers or farmers.
For women, there isn’t as much variety. Women work on the land, in hard, back breaking roles. Women often run the home: getting up early in the morning, feeding domestic animals, preparing breakfast, going into the forests to collect fodder in rough terrain. After that they come back, prepare lunch and then fetch water from wells far away from the home. After all of this they’ll return home to prepare dinner and do other household duties.
Progress is in the air.
Despite the harshness of this environment – which puts people’s safety at risk daily; dampens people’s spirits and freedoms over decades; and threatens the vitality of the woods and land – there are people living in these mountains who are champions of change for their communities.
Basanti is evidence that norms are shifting, and that – while not inevitable – it is possible to replace band-aid fixes with sustainable solutions.
Over the next few weeks we will reveal how Basanti – a champion of change – has created a sustainable end to hunger through social, economic and environmental change.
Stand with Basanti and invest in change.
You can make a difference to the people of Uttarakhand: stand with Basanti and invest in The Hunger Project. In doing so, you will enable even more champions of change to lift their villages out of hunger and poverty in a sustainable way.
All donation over $2 is tax-deductible.
^2018 United Nations Development Report, India Human Development Indices.
~ Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations.
*World Health Organisation.
**These are some examples of how funds could be used. They will be applied to the area of greatest need, as determined by The Hunger Project.