Hi, my name is Priya Nadkarni. I am the founder of Mrida and we work in the Mahakaushal region (Mandla, Dindori and Balaghat districts) which is in the heart of the Narmada basin, just 150 km from Amarkantak, the origin of the Narmada.
We started off with a sports school for adivasi children and have been running this donor-funded school since 2016. To make our work in education and sports sustainable, we have embarked upon food forestry as a way to rejuvenate the large amount of barren and single crop land available here (>1400 acres in a single block of Mandla district). Called the Narmada Valley Rejuvenation Project, we are doing this in a 35 acre patch with 17 tribal farmers. This patch will be extended to 50 acres over time.
Salient features :
Farmers are paid an ecosystem service charge per month depending on land size.
32 different species are planted (can send list separately)
Technical support for this project is being provided by Mr. Patanjali Jha of Mission Prakriti.
60 pc of the produce will go to the farmer and 40 pc will go towards supporting Mrida’s work in sports and education. This could potentially transform the region as the community can then decide - if they want a hospital for example, they have the ability to get an Apollo to construct and run one in the region.
Many of the children of the farmers involved in this are also students of our school.
We have committed people willing to give us plants without charging for it.
We have worked out that if we do this in 300 acres of land, then our work in education and sports will be completely self-sustaining.
Briefly about us: I am an ISB 2010 alumnus and gave up a lucrative investment banking career to live and work in Mandla where I had no prior background. My co-founder Digvijay is an alumnus of XIM Bhubaneswar and Hindu College, Delhi and both of us have worked with Pradan before starting Mrida. We have together spent 20 years in the region and have close linkages with the community here
We need support to run this program. If this interests you, please connect.