Help me get to India and Nepal!
In February a small group of OzGREEN staff and volunteers, including myself, will be travelling to India and Nepal.
In India OzGREEN has been working with our partners, the Sankat Mochan Foundation's Clean Ganges Campaign, for 25 years. In the early 1990s OzGREEN helped the campaign to begin water testing of the Ganges River, and this has continued ever since. In a city where 60,000 people bathe in the river each day, and where people believe in the clean and purifying effects of the Mother Ganga, it has been devastating to find that water quality is incredibly poor. Faecal Coliform levels, an indicator of sewage presence in the water, are well above 0 required for drinking, the 200 colonies per hundred mls required for bathing (WHO standard) and even the 1000 for boating. In fact in parts of the holy ghats of Varanasi, levels reach into the millions and hundreds of millions. Now is a critical time for the Ganges River, with the Modi government talking extensively about their commitment to cleaning the Ganga. And yet unless they are prompted to action, and the right action, it seems that this government will only talk about this issue as have the governments before them.
Therefore the aim of the trip in February will be to support the Sankat Mochan Foundation to run a YOUth LEADing the World Congress, a program that has run successfully in Varanasi for a number of years, educating thousands of children and young people about global and local environmental concerns and empowering them to make changes in their own communities. While in Varanasi we also aim to engage in a stakeholder discussion to try to cement a plan for action on the Ganges in Varanasi into the future. The team will also attend meetings in Delhi in preparation for a training program to be held for young professionals from Australia and India in the lead-up to the International River Symposium to be held in Delhi later next year.
Following our time in India, the team will travel to Nepal where we will be looking at the effects of some of the funding we have provided for relief after the April earthquake, as well as looking at potential new ways we can be working to empower young people to address the enormous environmental challenges facing Nepal. We will also be conducting facilitator training for local organisations to take youth leadership and environmental programs out into rural areas of Nepal.
My area of study and passions are especially suited this this type of work in this part of the world. I completed an undergraduate degree at the ANU in Environmental Studies, Development Studies, South-Asian Studies and Hindi language, and am currently doing my Masters of Primary Teaching at Melbourne University. OzGREEN's work engaging young people in communities around the world with the environmental issues that they face and empowering them to take action in their own lives, is something that I believe very strongly in. I was incredibly grateful last year for the opportunity to work with the Sankat Mochan Foundation in Varanasi, and later to work with an environmental program led by CARE Nepal and WWF in Nepal, and I'm really excited at the prospect of getting back to this part of the world and hopefully facilitating more positive change in these areas.
To help me get there, please click on this link to donate.