STARTING A FARMSTAY AND NGO IN HIMALAYAN REGION, INDIA
Namaste from Himalayas!
We are Lieke and Karan, so nice to meet you. We love to introduce ourselves and our project to you.
Karan grew up as a mountain boy in India, walking to school every day in his proper uniform, and playing under trees and running across the farms in his free time. Later he moved to the city and got a more rushy life. He taught himself music and many other things along the way. He played as a solo-musician in restaurants, did hiking tours and worked in a homestay. In the meanwhile, Lieke grew up as a Dutch girl living with comfort around her. She lived in different countries as a child, studied social geography in The Netherlands, worked in Tanzania for Justdiggit (an NGO that restores landscapes to mitigate climate change) and decided to go to India for a course in organic farming.
In April 2019, we met in the mountain homestay where Karan used to work. The water pump was broken and Lieke helped Karan to fix it. Something struck between us. We decided to stick around a bit more together. And after 2 years of living together, we haven’t gotten the least fed up of each other. We both trusted in the relationship despite differences, committed as we were to see rather uniqueness and inspiration in each other. We continue to create a strong basis to venture further in life and to share and connect with the world through something beautiful.. We are at the start of co-creating a project in the lap of the Himalayas: Adara! In the same village where Karan grew up: Pauri. And we would love you to become a part of it, in every way possible. Feel welcome!
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Adara is the name of the project and it means ‘to care for’. That’s what we stand for: to create an environment where we care for ourselves, each other and nature. To find creative ways to live more sustainably and harmoniously. To empower, inspire, connect, learn and grow together. The project is about the empowerment of local people through learning/working/growing opportunities. We aim for a centre of exchange where knowledge, ideas, traditional and modern life can be combined, so we will find new ways forward for simple yet abundant living :). It is also for people from all backgrounds, as we set up a homestay where everyone is welcome (yes! you too).
The location of the project is an English colonial building over 100+ years old. It has been in Karan’s family for generations. It is very well built and gives us the opportunity to start without rent, on a site that is ours. The land around it is almost an acre; enough for a productive farm and communal activities.
We aim to set up a sustainable financial system as quickly as possible, with programs that finance the project as well as self-reliant activities. Ideas and input are always welcome; after all it is a communal project!
Some of the programs we aim to run are:
- Colonial house renovation
- A homestay for people to retreat, relax, energize, enjoy
- Organic farming
- Social enterprise for local artisan products
- Educative programs & workshops (like English, organic farming, rainwater harvesting, waste management, woodwork, painting, cooking, yoga, upcycling)
- Learning-working space for local community in the area of their interest and talents
- Solar energy
- Rainwater harvesting
WHAT HAVE WE DONE?
We are already 2 months into the project. We have put our savings together: some part for daily living, some for the project. From the project money we have done:
- Reconstruction of terraces on the land
- Foundation of the house
- Purchase of good second-hand materials for renovation
- Connecting with government for subsidies and ideas (greenhouse, local trees, crops)
- Building a stone fence (to protect the farm from cows)
- Starting English tuitions with 5 Nepalese children
Through this work we financially empower a Nepalese family who is living and working closely with us. Nepalese are known for their hard work and their poor position here. We employ for example a wonderful woman in the household which supports her family with 4 daughters. We employ an older man for farm upkeep; it enables him to pay his rent.
WHAT WILL WE DO WITH THE FUNDING?
To proceed with the priorities we need €5000. What we will exactly do depends on the amount of funding we receive: the more funding, the more we can do! No pressure ;). Our priority is house renovation: it allows us to have the homestay up and running, which helps us to start generate income. We are very budget-conscious yet also aim for high quality.
The funds will be used for:
- A water system
- A safe electricity system
- Bathroom interiors
- Kitchen interiors
- Conservation of exterior walls of the house
- Renovation of 2 balconies
- Renovation of 2 chimneys
- Renovation of woodwork (windows and doors)
With everything we do, we aim to preserve natural and local methods and materials. We provide reasonable salary for local employees to support their families. We include students in the work process so that skill and knowledge empowerment is emphasized from the start. Later to be formalized in educative programs with certificates.
Thank you for reading and being involved. It means a lot to us that you take time and genuine interest to build together with us. We ask you to give from your heart an amount that feels good to you.
Much love and care,
Lieke and Karan
For more photo impression and developments, find us on
Facebook: Adara Farmstay