In a gesture of gratitude to the local communities who support the conservation of forests and wildlife around their homes, a one-day free Medical Health Camp was arranged for the residents of five villages in Garo Hills, north eastern India.
The camp was part of the Garo Green Spine Conservation Project run by Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and World Land Trust (WLT), a project which has worked with the local community for over a decade to restore and protect forests which will reconnect the Meghalaya elephant landscape for wildlife.
Importance of community
The project is as much a social endeavour as an environmental one. To restore the forests damaged by slash and burn practices and create Village Forest Reserves the community needs to become less dependent on the forests and a higher value needs to be placed on conservation. To do this the project needs to strengthen the livelihood and employment opportunities of the community by improving living standards, education, and health.
The free medical clinic was part of this strategy and proved very popular, attracting around 300 people from the five local villages of various ages who were provided treatment and medicine free of charge.
Thanks all around
The Nokma (Village Chief) of one of the villages said at the end of the day “We are extremely grateful to WTI-WLT and the government medical teams for organising this health camp in our village. On behalf of everyone, I would like to thank the entire organising team.”
Sunil Kyarong, WTI’s Head of the Garo Green Spine Conservation Project, thanked the villages in return, saying “Such free health camps are a small token of our gratitude towards the people of Chandigre and surrounding villages for their continued support towards the conservation of forests and wildlife in the region. Getting adequate medical attention is a major issue for residents of the Garo Hills and we hope such camps will do their part in improving the health of the local population.”
The Garo Hills stretch over 2 million acres (over 800,000 hectares) of forest in north-east India boasting a high biodiversity of mammal, bird, reptile and fish species, as well as supporting a population of 800-1,000 elephants.
This project was originally established through WLT’s Elephant Corridor Appeal and a bespoke Reforestation Programme supported by Scottish and Southern Energy. Today the project is being developed and funded by WLT’s Ecosystem Services Programme with support from corporate partner, The Body Shop.