“A socially innovative, technology-enabled Non-Profit Organization that is working towards reforestation and environmental conservation across India,” is SankalpTaru as defined by Mr. Apurva Bhandari, Founder. The NGO was founded in 2012 in Hyderabad and has empowered people to do tree plantation conveniently by accessing it remotely from desktops and mobile phones. Mr. Bhandari adds, “People can tag their wishes and track their trees on GPS maps.”
“SankalpTaru is amongst the first NGOs to be working and planting trees across the length and breadth of India,” says Mr. Bhandari. It is funded by corporates and contributions received from individuals. The programs are targeted to help the rural poor by planting trees in their land who maintain the same under the supervision and guidance of the NGO. The produce from the grown plant is reaped by these beneficiaries as incentive.
“Our projects are socio-environmental impact oriented which are based on self- sustainable and livelihood supportive ecosystem models,” shares Mr. Bhandari and adds, “Predominantly fruit bearing and medicinal trees are planted.” The NGO follows a screening process to choose plantation site and beneficiaries who are sensitized to ensure a 100% survival rate.
“The farmers believe in the project and the saplings they have been given are their main and most times only source of income to support their families,” says Mr. Bhandari. The beneficiaries are able to enjoy sustainable returns from the produce and gain some horticultural skills to further hone themselves.
The projects have helped add greenery and connect people through trees. The NGO has developed various schools across India for clean and green schools. It has also been successful in growing mango orchard for tribal villagers in Talupula, Andhra Pradesh and fruit bearing and medicinal trees for the poor farmers in Takari, Maharashtra, amongst others. “Over 10,000 trees have been planted and cultivated,” informs Mr. Bhandari.
SankalpTaru at present has undertaken Project Protect Himalayas to check soil erosion in landslide areas of Uttarakhand. The project is aimed at engaging school students and to encourage them to take charge to protect sinking hills by planting trees.
2.5 to 3 years is the duration of plantation projects. “However we stay operational in our project areas for longer term and include more and more beneficiaries aboard,” adds Mr. Bhandari.
Since the concept was very new, the NGO had to sensitize corporate sponsors as well as rural beneficiaries about the functioning of the program. “However due to uniqueness and transparency related features very soon it was well accepted,” adds Mr. Bhandari.
“We have recently started a program called Organic Greens which assists urban residents to grow organic kitchen garden at their homes in a compact form,” informs Mr. Bhandari. SankalpTaru endeavors to bring more and more people to go greener and create a wide socio-environmental impact.
Mr. Apurva Bhandari is an Electronics and Communication Engineer and has an MBA in Oil and Gas Management.
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