Jawadhi Hills is a spectacular hill range, and the community that lives within it vibrant and welcoming. However, living in the forest brings with it challenges. Where there are no roads, no education, no healthcare and often no power, life can be tricky. Through the Sustainable Livelihoods Program, Seb's Projects India helps these people to lift themselves out of poverty in a way that protects the forest around them, and their ancient heritage too.
Project 1. Eco Trail
A group of young international volunteers from Seb's Projects India were working in a government school on the outskirts of Jawadhi Hills when they got to know a group of young children who came sporadically to the school, barefoot and exhausted from trekking 14km to get to and from school. The volunteers asked the children to take them to their village and it was then that they first found Thandayankottai - deep in the forest and isolated from schools, health care or roads.
The volunteers started a small school which soon grew into a government Primary School, and before long the community were so excited about education that they wanted to earn enough to send their children to the Higher Secondary schools outside the hills and develop skills to support themselves. But they didn't know how.
The community, in partnership with the Seb's Projects volunteers and the Forest Department, conceived of a way to earn enough to educate their children, bring themselves out of poverty, and protect the environment. Thus, the Eco Trail was born!
If you would like to bring a group on the Eco Trail to support this project, please get in touch!
Project 2. Green Bags
Plastic is fast becoming a burden in India, suffocating it's cities and covering the countryside.
The Green Bags Project trains tribal women to stitch and screen print, so that they can make strong, reusable bags for ethical companies. Learning skills like these is wonderfully empowering for women that often do not even know how to count or use a pair of scissors.
Green Bags have been used by universities, small businesses, conferences, hospitals and on the Eco Trail project. The tribal women receive 100% of the profits, and save their earnings together in a Cooperative account for family needs.
We are always looking for new orders for these women, so if you need bags, let us know!
Project 3. Zaila Project
The Zaila Soap Project was conceived as both an income generation and a sanitation project. Tribal women are trained in small groups to use a simple cold process technique using local, natural ingredients to create an organic, nourishing bar of soap.
The ingredients have been proven for centuries in Tamil Nadu to soften and gently cleanse delicate skin. Besan flour acts to smooth and moisturise skin, whilst coconut oil effectively repairs lines and scarring. Palm oil ensures a rich creamy lather, whilst sandalwood and jasmine essential oils ease away the stress of the day.
Zaila soaps are popular with adults and children alike due to their gentle, nourishing effect, and are sold on a monthly basis to shops and school hostels in the plains around Jawadhi Hills. The income supports tribal families, whilst the empowerment of learning the skills to run the project are priceless to the women involved, who never had a chance to be educated.
If you would like to order a batch of soaps made in the tribal villages, please get in touch!