In 1988, I made my way to India to practice forest management alongside the professionals of Seva Mandir. Little did I know then how profoundly that experience would impact my subsequent professional life!
With a degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, my Ford Foundation grant allowed me to explore the importance of community organizing to achieve forest restoration. Many of the villages around Udaipur were highly dependent on forest resources for a variety of benefits, however the forests had become highly degraded. Working closely with communities, we were engaged in natural forest regeneration, water conservation techniques and the planting of multi-purpose tree species to restore the forest cover. However, the core focus was helping organize communities into forest protection committees in order to close access and allow natural regeneration to take hold.
When I came back to the United States, I started working in the field of land and water conservation. Now, years later, I’m doing conservation work in New England. Just like in India, it’s all about the community -developing strong relationships, helping organize, and supporting communities and partners to carefully manage their natural resources.
Seva Mandir has long welcomed volunteers from all over the world, requesting little of them in return. It truly is in the spirit of seva, or service, that the organization offers opportunities. Seva Mandir supports people in need in the communities surrounding Udaipur, while also giving incredible exposure and education to the volunteers, whether Indian or foreign.
Please join me now in giving back to this successful non-profit organization which has a tremendous impact in resource constrained communities in India.
Your investment in Friends of Seva Mandir will go directly into the fieldwork of Seva Mandir in India. The leverage of your dollar in village India is huge; imagine how just $100 can allow a classroom of children to be immunized or an entire hillside to be reforested!
Thank you for your generosity and kind consideration in this season of giving.
Hanover, New Hampshire
Seva Mandir volunteer, 1989-91