Himalayan NGO for sustainability

Himalayan Insight - The social wing of Himalayan Ecotourism

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An NGO in the Himalayas - Our story


Himalayan Ecotourism (HET) has been working at the grassroots level with the local communities of the Tirthan Valley. While tourism has offered many an alternate livelihood, it has detrimental effects on the surrounding natural ecosystems through intense resource use.
Himalayan Ecotourism (HET) envisions a collaboration with the local communities of the Ecozone to support socio-economic development of the local people to reduce pressures of resource use on the National Park, while diverting profits to social and ecological initiatives such as children’s education, women empowerment, reforestation and forest fire prevention.

Due to HET’s model, we’ve found the extent of our non-profit work is strongly limited by the profits we secure from tourism. Hence, we want to shift the forest fire prevention, ecological restoration and children’s education programs to our new NGO, Himalayan Insight.

To keep working for our mission, we decided to supplement our organization with an NGO. This would not just sustain our social efforts, but also scale them up. With our strong, trustworthy relations with the locals and over 10 years of operation, we are optimistic about sustaining the thriving ecosystem we created.
women self-help group meeting himalayas

First meeting

With the women of the village Pekhri in 2014.





Mission statement

local leader reforestation and cooperative in the himalayas

Local leader

Working with the well-intentioned local leaders - Keshav Thakur.


Himalayan Insight is in line with its mother organization, Himalayan Ecotourism, about its goals.

Himalayan Insight’s mission is to provide a holistic approach to nature conservation by facilitating sustainable socio-economic development of local communities and empowering them to become advocates of nature conservation. We aim at restoring a symbiotic relationship between the rural communities and all other forms of life in the Himalayas.

Based on our understanding of the inherent connection between social welfare and conservation, our strategy is to provide opportunities to the local communities for -
Fairness, inclusiveness, transparency, respect and honesty are the set of values that we nurture to achieve our goals.





Reports


This is a report about all the work we did near the Great Himalayan National Park since the inception of Himalayan Ecotourism.

Most of our social and conservation oriented work is now being undertaken under our NGO Himalayan Insight.

The second part of the report delineates our action plan for the next couple of years.
Himalayan Insight - Report 2022

Report 2022

Know more about the work of Himalayan Insight till 2022





Our Plans for the Future

Jujurana Eco-Creations


Under Jujurana Eco-Creations, we produce a range of 100% natural cosmetics like sunscreen, lip balms and handmade soaps as well as knitted apparels for sale to tourists.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the micro-enterprise was forced to halt production. We want to provide the marginalized women of Tirthan Valley with education and the creative skills training needed to become professional and talented designers, seamstresses, embroiderers, weavers, and jewelry designers of the handicraft industry. Through our program, women would gain the creative skills and financial independence by creating sustainable fashion that is life affirming and supports a healthy environment.

The range of products that these women offer with their fine craftsmanship includes soaps, oils, woolen socks and other knitted items. HET plans on reviving this micro-enterprise and beginning production of these products once again by training more women and providing the materials required. With a sustained presence and a lively business, opportunities for growth and expansion within the valley can be explored.

Child Development


Presently, our school in Bhiyar is closed because the nearby government school reopened. The school in Pekhri has seen a reduction in the number of students that regularly attend classes for similar reasons. We are determined to revive this program by collaborating with existing government schools and ensuring children can experience a holistic education both inside and outside a classroom setting.

We would like to revive our child development program as an NGO by critically evaluating the existing curriculum and training teachers with the help of education specialists. We want to curate engaging environmental education modules and reach out to government schools to conduct regular classes with the children.

Some households in Chehni Panchayat have expressed an interest in their children participating in nature workshops on Sundays and hence, we are designing activities with these children that include nature walks, nature journaling and theatrical skits.

We also want to curate workshops for yoga, meditation and up-skilling for the women and youth of the Panchayat. Through close interactions with them, we’ve come to understand that they have a deep interest in exploring yoga and meditation and building skill sets that can enhance their employability and give them the confidence to start their own businesses.

Ecological Restoration


Presently, we intend on evaluating the ecological progress of the plots, PE-Z01 and NA-Z01, for presence of invasive species, growth rate of planted fauna, succession of the planted species and what work is required for the future.

We want to diversify the flora species we are caring for in the nursery by initiating a village-wide initiative of seed collection and growing of seeds into saplings for future reforestation drives. Monitoring the succession and progress of these habitats post-reforestation is crucial for future expansion plans in the area.

We have devised a micro-plan in collaboration with local community members and experienced researchers with the encouragement of the Forest Department that we want to implement in the next 5 years. This micro-plan tackles our actions and goals for the ecological restoration of the total 5 km2 project area.

Forest Fire Prevention


We are dedicated to reviving our past work as an NGO to combat the rising prevalence of intentional forest fires. Based on previous interactions and fieldwork, we plan on conducting further interviews with villagers to better understand why forest fires are intentionally set and plan intervention measures. Relationships formed from interviews will enable us to identify trust-worthy representatives across the valley who we intend on calling ‘Defenders’. In collaboration with the Forest Department and our ‘Defenders’, a Quick-Response-System for real-time intervention and tracking of induced forest fires can be started.

This robust data collection and analysis will help obtain data on forest fires in Tirthan Valley and streamline our intervention measures. Alongside experimentation of Morel mushroom cultivation, we plan on running awareness campaigns at villages and exploring opportunities for alternative livelihoods such as handicraft and cosmetics production, inspired by our women empowerment program.




The people behind Himalayan Insight


Himalayan Insight is a Trust registered in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh. The trustees are Hema Marchal, Jagita Devi, Tara Chand.


Aashra Iype Aashra Iype

Aashra Iype

Manager
Himalayan Insight
Jagita Jagita

Jagita

An ambitious local woman passionate about the mountains, women empowerment and her community. She has demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities and has emerged as the head of our women empowerment initiatives. Jagita envisions mighty changes for the women in the valley.

Hema Devi Hema Devi

Hema Devi

Hema has been closely driving the work of HET over the years. She has been the forefront in bridging the gap between the grassroots of our community and the sophistication of the business world.
Tara Chand Tara Chand

Tara Chand

Tara is one of our cooperative member, a mountaineer and a naturalist guide at HET. He stands out with his progressive attitude, his dedication for social causes and his integrity.


Our mentors and supporters


Himalayan Insight has immense gratitude towards our friends who have been advising us and bolstering our confidence.

Payson R. Stevens

A businessman, a community-lover and an environmental scientist to organizations like NASA. Mr Stevens has played a crucial role in giving a concrete shape to our company as a social enterprise. He is now a painter, an artist and a decisive friend of the GHNP.

Sanjeeva Pandey

The first director of GHNP, ex-PCCF of Himachal Pradesh, Mr Pandey has constantly encouraged our grassroot movement in the ecozone of the GHNP since its start. By extending the support of the park, he helped us realize the vision of empowering communities and we continue to seek his mentorship.

Vinay Tandon

Ex-Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Himachal Pradesh, Vinay’s immense love for the Himalayan forests extended into his goodwill for our projects. He is deeply dedicated to empowering women and has provided great insights for our work.

Tony Gaston

Main research investigator of the establishment of GHNP, Mr Gaston has been one of our primary backbones of the reforestation programmes in the ecozone. His guidance made it easier for HET’s journey through the COVID-19 pandemic.




Recognition of Himalayan Ecotourism

Himalayan Ecotourism Awards

Our awards

Himalayan Ecotourism is the winner of the To Do award 2022 in the field of "Socially Responsible Tourism".
We are also the Overall Winner of the Indian Responsible Tourism Award 2019 and the Gold winner in the Best Adventure Operator category.
We have been declared winner of the Sustainable Tourism Award 2019 by Skal International and Biosphere.
Our cooperative-based model of social enterprise and our efforts to conserve the Himalayas are the main reasons for winning these awards.
Thank you to all our cooperative members, our customers, our friends and well-wishers !