2011 Semi-Finalist: Promoting Health and the Environment
Promoting Health and the Environment Through Synergy of Man and Land
PROJECT PRESS RELEASE: PDF
WEBSITE: Kevin Rohan Memorial Eco Foundation
Critical Need Being Addressed
The current situation and understanding of the people about chemical fertilizers and pesticides, is damaging our health and the environment. People’s poor quality health is the result of poor thinking and doing. Educating people in the field of biodynamic agriculture, and treating them medically, is the solution.
Description of Initiative
The KRMEF was conceptually established in 2008 located near Khokana leprosy colony in Kathmandu Valley. Our aim is to provide the underprivileged, the disabled, and the poor, with an opportunity to work on an organic farm allowing them to be productive, while enabling their children to attend school. The KRMEF tries to save the local environment by using local manpower, local waste, and educating the local population about the benefits of protecting the environment. The project currently runs free health and dental clinics in some schools and has recently renovated and opened its first free clinic in the local village community.
The KRMEF is a pilot project focused on recycling waste found in and around the city of Kathmandu and utilizing unused land by giving work to many jobless, helpless and disabled, while making the land organically productive. Currently, the Foundation hosts an eco-guesthouse, and organic garden, attracting visitors from around the world. The KRMEF is now in the process of developing biodynamic farming and a Waldorf inspired village school for the local children. The project operates two sites and is continuing to expand within the community.
BFI Assessment Summary
This project (founded by physiotherapist Krishna K. Gurung in memory of his son Rohan, who died in 2008) is an extremely impressive effort to build a multi-faceted community in rural Nepal to help empower some of the poorest and most disenfranchised people in Asia, including lepers and the handicapped. Drawing from a range of templates, including the “eco-village” and the Camphill model (communities in which able and partially-abled people live and work together, found throughout the world), this initiative, based in the Katmandu Valley, includes: free medical and dental clinics, a school, biodynamic/organic gardens and biodynamic agricultural trainings, and a series of grassroots businesses that provide employment to jobless local people, including lepers, the handicapped and the elderly.
These businesses, which are all currently operational, include: the manufacture of bio-briquettes (made from cow dung, sawdust, and waste paper) for cooking in traditional Nepalese ovens (far more affordable, safer, healthier and environmentally sound than using kerosene); the collection and re-use of bottles (otherwise not recycled) to use as materials in innovative constructions of low-cost dwellings; the conversion of local soap nut shells into detergent and their seeds into jewelry (sold locally and in the USA and Europe); the growing and marketing of locally-grown organic food; bee-keeping; the weaving of durable mats from hay and old video cassette-tapes; an eco-lodge; etc.
This nascent community is deeply inspiring because it blends the compassionate socio-economic/educational empowerment of people who are often at the bottom of the social pyramid with a model of practical, place-based eco-conscious living, including the growing of healthful, pesticide-free food, the propagation of organic farming methods throughout Nepal, and the recycling and innovative re-use of materials that would otherwise litter the streets, to create economic opportunities. It is a model that, if it were to succeed and thrive, could potentially inspire other groups of people in the planet’s poorest areas to come together to create livable communities that met their needs and improved their opportunities without damaging their ecosystems.
PEOPLE: Kevin Rohan Memorial Eco Foundation
Gurung completed his Physiotherapy in India. He then worked in some hospitals in Kathmandu for needy people. Gurung received International Post Graduate Medical Training (IPMT) in India. He has been honored with six National Awards for Service, Innovation, and Peace and achieved. Gurung’s expertise in Anthroposophical medicine and biodynamic agriculture systems of community development has led to speaking Engagements at Rudolf Steiner College, University of Virginia, Bard College(USA).
The Kevin Rohan Memorial Eco Foundation (KRMEF) was established in 2008 near Khokana leprosy colony in Kathmandu. We provide employment and training in biodynamic organic farming, sustainable building, and handicrafts for the underprivileged, disabled, and poor. While learning new skills and earning income, children are enabled to attend school. KRMEF promotes the use of local manpower and local waste, while providing education about the benefits of environmental stewardship. We currently operate free health and dental clinics in schools and recently opened our first free clinic in the local village.
The KRMEF recycles waste found in and around the city of Kathmandu to produce useable products and sustainable building materials that impact the local ecological system. Currently, the Foundation includes an eco-guesthouse, organic garden, and community clinic that attract visitors from around the world. KRMEF is now building a women’s center and a Waldorf inspired school for the local village.