Pennies for Partnerships: A grassroots initiative to address Tibetan poverty and Hunger in India
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Pennies for Partnerships is a grassroots initiative which was started in 2008. Today the project is committed to economic development of the Tibetan Organic Farmers in India and food insecurity in the Indian villages where people live on less than a dollar a day and experience hunger on a regular basis. The objective of the initiative is work directly with the Tibetan community and international friends to develop economic sustainability for farmers, to support environmental awareness, and most importantly to address poverty and hunger.
The Tibetan Organic Farmers are some of the poorest Tibetans living in India yet work the hardest with labor intensive commitment to environmental sensitivity. The Tibetan Government in Exile requested in 2002 that the Tibetan Settlements make a commitment to the environment and switch farming practices to 100% organic. At this time the farmers who have made the commitment to organic have experienced a slow distribution, as there is a need for further development for marketing and logistical coordination.
History of Tibetan Farmers: There are approximately 160,000+ Tibetan refugees living in India. In the 1960’s the Indian government agreed to provide 4000 acres of forestland in Karnataka State, which at the time was nearly uninhabitable, to the Tibetan refugees. They worked diligently to cultivate the lands and make roads and now Karnataka State is the resident of the largest Tibetan colonies in exile. Over 60% of the Tibetan population in India subsists on agricultural occupations.
In 2002 the Tibetan exile Government in India adopted an initiative for organic farming. There are currently 978 farmers cultivating on 4051 acres of land in 12 major agricultural settlements in India. In Mungod, Karnataka, there are approximately 222 farmers from three camps which represents the largest number of farmers participating in the organic practices compared to other Tibetan settlements. There is approximately 877 acres being organically cultivated and an additional 2177 acres expected to meet organic certification in the next few years. The organic products are registered and meet the guidelines established since 2006 for organic certification through the Indian agency IMO Control Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore. The product is sold through the Federation of Tibetan Cooperative in India (FTCI) and the local Tibetan cooperative society. An area of need is distribution for market of the organic products and greater education of the environmental benefits and health benefits.
Pennies for Partnerships offers support in not only the purchase of the annual yield of farmers in an effort to ensure no lose to the farmers but also will be assisting in development of ways to establish a more viable market in the future. Through education of the local community and creative ways to establish markets Pennies for Partnerships is committed to support those in need in ways which will partner with existing programs and outreach.
In addition, the Pennies for Partnerships projects is committed to addressing community inclusion between two oppressed populations in India by bringing together members of the Tibetan farming community and some of the poorest of Indian villages. The project addresses hunger by giving to the villages where food security is a concern.
According to the Economist magazine 2011 India ranked 67th among 85 countries in terms of access to food with an index of 24.1 noting that values between 20 and 29.9 on the index denote an “alarming” hunger situation. Another report from 2009 stated that 230 million people are undernourished — the highest for any country in the world. Malnutrition accounts for nearly 50% of child deaths in India as every third adult (aged 15-49 years) is reported to be thin (BMI less than 18.5). According to the latest report on the state of food insecurity in rural India, more than 1.5 million children are at risk of becoming malnourished because of rising global food prices.
The way the project works: Pennies for Partnerships procures a large amount of rice with gift givers contributions and then distributes the bags of rice to the actual door steps of those who reside in poor villages where people live on less than $1.00 a day and suffer from hunger. Tibetans and volunteers arrive either in the morning or in the evening to ensure the Indian villagers are home.
The project involves the purchase of 25 kg bags of rice (55 pound bags) from organic farmers who are struggling to find distribution. The cost of one 25 kg (55 pound) bag of rice is approximately $15.00 and helps address hunger in a family of four for approximately 1 month.
|Donate to Pennies for Partnerships|
The project is ongoing and is only made possible by generosity of the gift givers who see the importance in supporting the Tibetan Refugee Communities’ organic initiatives, the global community to address hunger and poverty while at the same time communities giving to communities in need.
Thanks to the community of Fayetteville, Arkansas and the global friends at large the project continues to develop.
Anyone interested in giving to the project can donate online for the purchase of rice or offer your services of expertise or do something as easy as spread the message.
More details can be found at indiasocialwork.wordpress.com
You can also contact us directly at email@example.com
It is within the organic farmer’s project to create self sufficiency, more biodiversity, and harmonious nature for all sentient beings. Their efforts are to make the earth green and safe for future generations to come.