- To make high quality primary education available to the rural children of the Pithoragarh district, and to help make funds available for those who otherwise could not afford school fees
- To encourage and champion our students' interests in all fields of study and provide opportunities to learn outside the classroom
- To foster an educational environment for the Pithoragarh district and encourage multifaceted skill development, which can assist and improve the livelihood of the rural villages
- To focus on the relationship between our school and the surrounding villages, and to build a strong social and economical foundation
It all began with the Dairy Project. We needed a way to bring dairy to the school to include in the children’s diet and had only two options of buying milk. We could either purchase milk from the Haldwani market, a city 10 hours away, or from local villagers. We found the milk would spoil by the time it reached the school if we bought it from the market. To purchase from local villagers seemed like a promising economic partnership, but the villagers were unable to produce the amount of milk we required with their pahari cows and traditional milking practices, at production levels of 1 L of milk per cow per day. With no other options available to us, we began the research to create our own dairy farm at the school.
The process proved illuminating and challenging all at once. Collecting dairy from cows has a long tradition in the Himalayas, but it is a practice seeped in tradition and superstition. Our first lesson was that, contrary to local belief, the Jersey and Holstein cross breed cows (the cow breed with highest milk production) are well suited to the Himalaya region. Our second lesson was pure business theory of investment. We found that the more money we were willing to spend on the quality and amount of grain we fed our cows, the more milk we would receive in return. The rural Indian culture has yet to embrace the business mind set, and this type of investment for returns runs counter to the Indian way. With these two small changes, we are now producing 12-20 L of milk per cow per day, depending on their lactation cycle.
We see great hope with the dairy project. This type of phenomenal yield should be accessible to the Chaukori villagers. Unfortunately, the farmers remain skeptical of cross breed cows in the Himalaya region, and have more faith in pahari cows and their traditional dairy practices than in the investment method we are practicing. It is hard to change the minds of the elders, but we can teach what we have learned to our students. The success we have had with our dairy farm is common knowledge to our students, and we are teaching them our methods of proper dairy production. It is our hope that as our students graduate, and as those students that choose to stay in the region to help their families’ farms, they will implement the lessons we have learned, and share the knowledge. Our long-term goal is to transform Chaukori into a dairy production center, promoting the villagers’ livelihoods and increasing their incomes by three fold.
Next Steps: Community Development
Himalaya Inter College was founded fifteen years ago in a small, one-room cow shed, and now is an award winning school with a successful dairy farm. As we were able to accomplish so much in the past fifteen years, we have even greater ambitions for the upcoming fifteen years. Our commitment to our students does not end at graduation. Since many of our students stay within the Pithoragarh district upon graduation, we are striving to foster economic opportunities for them within the rural communities’ capacities.
We want HIC’s presence in Chaukori to serve as an experiment center – a place where our students can learn the basic skills for any trade they desire, and to share the best practices with the local villages.
- Rural Education
- Dairy Farming
- Knitting Cooperative
- Solar Work
- Bee keeping
- Welding & Fabrication
- Carpentry & Mason
- Tourist Guide & Home Stay
- Mechanical & Electrical work
- Computer Work & Call Center
- Health Center
- Local Food Restaurant
- Local Fruit & Jam Production
- Local Carving Production
- Photography, Documentary, Music