Apurva Bhandari, founder of Sankalp Taru foundation a man whose vision was so pure and for towards nature that his story deserved to be featured first in these inspiring stories.
In the month of Jan 2020, I was looking out one of a different gift for my husband and then on Instagram, I came across a page called “Sankalp Taru”. After doing my research and knowing more about this initiative and mission I found that Sankalp Taru is one of its own kind of foundation which is based in 21 states and over 40 cities across India.
Their mission is simple “To create a cleaner, greener, and better planet by planting trees in areas devoid of greenery.”
About the foundation
I asked Apurva more about the foundation and he told “Along with our greening efforts, we strive to uplift and assist rural communities while promoting extensive agriculture across the nation. Through our state-of-the-art on-ground and online technology, we give donors a platform to plant and track their trees while supporting socio-environmental causes. We are one of the only nonprofits providing convenience, transparency, and clarity through our technology platforms. Our vision is to develop a lush, biodiverse and sustainable world for future generations. Our values focus on creating a world where everyone is enthusiastic about planting trees.“
The Foundation has planted over 1 Million Trees across its projects, reached over 30,000 farmers whose incomes have expanded thanks to the introduction of agroforestry and horticultural methods alongside traditional cropping practices, visited more than 20,000 students in city, town and village schools to grow their environmental consciousness, converted over 5000 acres of barren and desolate land like in Leh Ladakh and the Thar Desert into green spaces, and worked with corporate partners like Lakmé Fashion Week, Microsoft and Honda, as well as over 31,000 individual donors, to become the go-to environmental organization that is fighting climate breakdown every day.
Thought and ideas behind this foundation are very crystal clear to give our earth fresh oxygen and bringing back lush and greenery back. The journey must be not easy and so Apurva shared about his inspiration behind this foundation “With an MBA in Oil and Gas Management, I started my career working with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. Having worked in the I.T. industry for many years, I wanted to blend my love for nature and technology. Sowing the seeds of what would become the SankalpTaru Foundation, I presented a conceptualized model at The Times of India ‘Take Care Take Charge’ initiative in July 2011 and won the contest not only this my idea received wide recognition. The actual prototype of the SankalpTaru Foundation was created after my triumph at Mahindra’s ‘Spark the Rise’ contest. The website came online in July 2012 to enable people to plant trees from anywhere around the world. Setting up a proper I.T. system for ease of plantation, a G1 mobile application was launched in June 2013 which received Billionth South Asia Award in September 2014.
Green Leh Ladhak Project
This idea not only making our environment healthy but also people are getting more responsible for planting trees across those areas which really need more trees and plants. Among those one project is “Green Leh Ladhak” he shared more about the same..” We started Project Green Leh Ladakh because the region is dry and arid and is increasingly prone to flash flooding because of climate breakdown. There are few opportunities for people to pursue sustainable livelihood. Thus, we plant apple and apricot trees so that farmers gain a livelihood and increase green cover in the region. We have planted in many villages, including Sabu village. The saplings are transported before the winter season arrives as the snow and ice cut off the region from the rest of the country for many months. The saplings are stored in an underground bunker to keep them safe from the snow and ice. They are planted in April and May. The harvested apples and apricots are dried in a solar dryer which keeps them fresh for longer, thus increasing the period in which they can continue to be sold in the market.
Sonam Vanchuk from Vanla village is a farmer who is growing these trees on his land. He tells his story: “Vanla village suffered a large flash flood in 2015 and my community lost our farmlands. Many trees were also swept away. To overcome these losses, the SankalpTaru Foundation and many farmers from my village collaborated to bring back greenery to the valley and explore sustainable livelihood options. I look after 300 trees and all of them have a 100 percent survival rate. It takes a long time for them to grow because the soil has many pebbles and temperatures are low. When the apples and apricots ripen, I distribute them to my relatives, community members and local groups. I also sell a proportion of them in the market. Being a part of the Sankalp Taru Foundation gives me a lot of joy as I get to look to after the trees and work on transforming Ladakh’s arid and cold desert into a green haven.”
So, does this foundation helping farmers too for better living and earnings?
Apurva, shared “Farmer beneficiaries are not employed by the Sankalp Taru Foundation. However, we plant trees on their land from which gives them a livelihood. They harvest the fruits from the trees and sell them in the market. We are helping them by providing market linkage support with our farmer initiative GramYumm. We are working with over 30,000 farmers. The trees they have planted generate over 50 tons of fruits per year, and by selling the fruits the farmers receive USD 28,500 in annual income. This means they are becoming climate-resilient and not relying solely on one or two crops for their yearly income. This is helping families improve their standard of living and get themselves out of poverty. The trees also provide fresh oxygen, shade for people, livestock and wildlife, cut carbon dioxide emissions and recharge the groundwater at a time when they are dangerously low.“
Isn’t this helpful for the farmers and for our climate too? Our green guardians fight climate breakdown by sequestering 120,000 kg of carbon dioxide annually and generating over 720,000 liters of fresh oxygen per year, as well as bringing back native flora and fauna which is flourishing thanks to the forests we have nurtured. The organization also uses state-of-the-art technology that is developed in its research centers, such as the PEEPAL Research Centre in Roorkee, to better help the planet.
An example is the development of the Beejyaan 1 seed-bombing drone that was televised on NDTV’s Banega Swasth India Campaign of 2019. The drone plants seeds in tough terrains like the Tehri belt in Uttarakhand. All this has come together because of our hardworking staff and trusted partners, which include farmers and corporates, working together to achieve a shared vision of a healthy, clean and green planet.
I, myself have planted trees via Sanakalp Taru from their website and it’s really amazing to see my trees growing. Just sign up to their website, donate, gift or plant your tree which you can choose either by your Zodiac sign or to any project, even to the festival and they will plant on the location. I choose tree according to Zodiac sign and they planted it in Rajasthan, shared with me full detail about the tree and how much contribution that tree is going to give to our environment.
The best part which I loved about this whole process is they share your tree location on google map and you can track your tree and even can view all your updated reports of your tree.
You know what one thing which this foundation gives you “#TaxfreeTrees”, yes, if you plant trees with this foundation under 80G of the IncomeTax Act, you are entitled to a 50% rebate.
This foundation is one of its own kind and we are so proud of Apurva Bhandari for bringing this for all of us. If you want to contribute towards your mother nature do check on their website and do your bit.
This post is written under 26 inspiring stories series for AtoZ challenge hosted by Blogchatter!!
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