Beekeeping in the Himalayas
We at Aythos just couldn’t wait for culmination of Aythos’s first project, Apples for Peace, so we got another one started: Beekeeping in the Himalayas. In late-September, Aythos Field Manager Nima Sherpa returned from Okharani, a small village in Sindhupalchok, Nepal, where she had just organized a training for 18 men and women. These people represent our first class of beekeepers. Aythos sponsored the training so that the villagers of Okharani could gain the know-how to successfully raise bees and harvest honey to sell in local markets.
Nepal is a rapidly urbanizing country. Younger generations of Nepalis are under great pressure to move to Kathmandu or take jobs overseas. The result has a devastating impact on Nepal’s families and environment. Unregulated urbanization has seen sky-rocketing levels of pollution in Kathmandu and other urban centers. Meanwhile, children growing up in these cities often do so without one or both parents, the result of emigration. This has led to increased divorce rates as families are strained by time and distance apart, and children are often raised in boarding schools.
However, many Nepalis are beginning to once again see the potential that rural villages, such as Okharani, offer. A cleaner environment, families living together, and the possibility to make a living through sustainable agriculture are attractive options for many, including those in Okharani who have decided to revitalize the village’s economy.
This isn’t Okharani’s first experience with beekeeping. Some villagers had tried beekeeping before, but realized they did not know how to protect their hives from the cold and rain. Aythos is not an organziation guided by a religious philosophy, but it does believe in respecting local culture. As Buddhists, villagers in Okharani are uneasy with the idea of harming the bees when it came to time to harvest the honey. Aythos took all that into consideration when it sponsored a workshop that taught these villagers how to overcome these challenges. The beekeeping trainer taught the men and women of Okharani, not only how to overcome the challenges they have had in the past, but how to do so in a way that is compatible with their values.
And that’s what Aythos does in a nut shell. We help supply the knowledge that local leaders need to make their projects successful. We get to know communities in remote areas of developing countries, we listen to their ideas and their needs, and we get them the training and the resources they need.
But when it comes down to planting fruit trees or raising bees, there are no handouts. Villagers and Aythos split start-up costs 50-50, and then it’s all up to the community to make the project a success. But of course, Aythos is never far away. We will continue to work with Okharani and other communities to help ensure their project’s success, even as we move on to new projects, in different areas. Our goal is for these projects to have a lasting, sustainable, and positive impact on these communities.
A new memberof the 1% for the Planet community, Aythos is excited to exchange knowledge with like-minded individuals and organizations. To learn more or support Aythos’s work in Nepal, visit our website and our Facebook page.