This year because the staff were keen to visit a renowned temple called Kathgarh temple near Indoor which is at quite a low altitude so gets hot, we decided to hold the picnic in March this year. The party of over 35 people set off in a bus and travelled for over 3 hours to get there. This temple is famous for its huge split Lingam which moves according to the weather. A large ornate mandir has been built near the ancient tree and shrine. The temple has beautiful gardens and provides a daily free lunch which we all enjoyed. On our way back we enjoyed visiting the Fort at Nurpur where there is a beautiful black Krishna. We sat on the grass and shared our fruit with the monkeys before heading home.
Tutored by Nishtha Trustee Puja Anand, Nishtha Students gave a wonderful performance of English skits and poems followed by the local Gaddi dance in full costume. The audience included an Exodus Travel group of visitors who were highly impressed with the students and are keen to help support them in their studies.
Concerned about a number of Rakkar school children who are not doing well in their studies, Nishtha organized eye check ups by three opticians from Bharat Optical, Dharamsala. They came and held a camp in our Community Center during which 32 children were carefully checked and of these 15 were recommended to have spectacles.
The local kids are delighted that the playground spaceship climbing frame has been restored! It was created from old tyres by Austrian civil servant Gaban last year – congratulations and thanks to everyone!
Simon, our latest Austrian Civil Servant, after three months working on Nishtha’s organic farm, reflects that organic agriculture is not just about cutting out the use of inorganic chemicals but entails nourishing the earth from which plants take their nutrients. Only if a complex and fine network of invisible helpers in the soil: fungal strands which attach to the plant’s roots to trade for sugars, bacterial communities, which graze for minerals and a huge variety of predatory microbes that keep the system in check is the earth truly ‘alive’ and becomes a truly organic organism.
At Nishtha we are working to cultivate compost rich in these nutrients and microbial life. During recent months we have built more than 100 raised beds and planted a diverse mixture of vegetables and trees. Simon says: “Learning about nature, experiencing as well as developing its beautiful relationships, is making volunteering for this Organisation worthwhile.”
In order to further our Completely Clean Rakkar Campaign and support our tireless workers in their task, Nishtha has put up these bright new posters asking our villagers and visitors not to burn plastic, to segregate waste and to clean without shame. The artwork was done by our Tibetan volunteer Chokey and the slogans were created by the Nishtha staff.
This week our team went to the remote Village of Harnera in Sharpur block. The health education camp was organized by our oldest activist Gyni Devi and our newest activist Ranjana. It was attended by 37 women, both young and old and several with small babies. As usual Dr Kusum led a lively an informative discussion group particularly focusing on female reproduction, joint pains and hypertension. Several women had their blood pressure checked and all received useful information how to ease their pain and stay well using local herbal treatments and exercise.
Suresh is responsible for maintaining the water filters Nishtha has installed in our three local government schools. Every week they have to be cleaned and checked and twice a year we change the filters and replace any other parts that are worn or damaged. In this way we are ensuring clean drinking water for not only the school children but also the local families who have access to this water.
After preparing the cricket pitch using nice clay, the Nishtha tournament started from last week with the local Rakkar team playing the Sidhbari team. During the next month 15 teams will compete on the village ground bringing lots of activity to warm everyone during the chilliest weather.
Nishtha Single Women’s activists tirelessly held a series of important meetings this month including the 6 month block meeting attended by 80 rural women, a training in communications skills and a series of meetings with village council members to try to implement a scheme to get faster, cheaper more effective legal representation for women at Panchayat level. Their work really has effect empowering the most deprived section of society.