The Foundation activities were initiated in Uttarakhand in November 2006 when the works of GMR Alaknanda Hydro Electric Power project started. Foundation works in two Panchayats here- Pandukeshwar and Lambagarh. The villages surrounding the hydro power plant are situated in one of the toughest terrains with temperatures touching -200 C during winter. Lack of sufficient livelihood opportunities coupled with an inhospitable terrain make life here difficult.
The hilly remote areas pose challenges to the children's education. To address this issue, Foundation is running a school bus to transport around 110 students from the project villages to their respective schools. This has significantly reduced the dropout rates of the children. Foundation is also supporting four Anganwadis to build enabling, safe and joyful environment for about 60 children of the age group of three to five years. Six government schools are also supported to improve the quality education for 370 children. Foundation supports enrolment of children, establishment of Creativity Centers, infrastructure support, exposure visits etc., round the year. Foundation's two After-School Learning Centers provide scope for the all round development of 85 children from the project villages.
Health, Hygiene and Sanitation
There are no health care facilities in these two villages and hence people are forced to travel long distances to seek specialist medical care. GMRVF runs an ambulance service and offers para medical services to fill these gaps. Around 10-12 people use the Ambulance each month. The ambulance transports emergency cases from all the neighboring villages to Joshimath Government Hospital which is around 22 kilometers away from the villages. More than 200 patients are examined every month in the clinic set up by the Foundation. Specialized Health Camps are also organized to address specific ailments as per requirement. Foundation organizes regular health check-up camps in the government schools also.
Empowerment and Livelihoods
Foundation supports 18 Self Help Groups in the project villages. The women have been mobilized to form into groups for thrift and credit. Inter-loaning for meeting their day-to-day needs has increased their confidence in themselves. Foundation is providing training to these women on income generation options. Recently Foundation has initiated a craft production unit at Benakuli village. In order to provide a viable market linkage to the local products, Foundation is in the process of linking SHGs with shops inside Indira Gandhi International Airport at Delhi. Some identified dropout youth from under-privileged communities were sponsored for the training on General Works Supervision at Construction Industry Development Council (CIDC), Faridabad.
Foundation has facilitated the formation of Gram Vikas Samitis in three villages to coordinate the development initiatives in the villages. These are seven-member committees elected by the villagers. The Samitis monitor the operation of the ambulance and school bus.
The Community Libraries established at Lambagarh and Pandukeshwar villages have not only helped to improve the reading habits but also serve as information centres. More than 400 people visit these centers every month. A Computer Training Centre has been established in Pandukeshwar village for training the village youth. Foundation also extend support to the local youth by providing them sports material and organizing sports events in order to inculcate sporting spirit among the youth.