India and Switzerland recently celebrated 75 years of their enduring friendship and fruitful collaboration in a beautiful Kumaon village nestled in the Uttarakhand region of India. The three-day event, aptly named ‘Swiss Himalayan Bounty,’ unfolded last week at a charming homestay in Satoli village, positioned at an altitude of 6,000 feet near Mukteshwar in the Nainital district. This celebration saw the convergence of participants representing various NGOs, stakeholders, and beneficiaries of the longstanding partnership between these two nations.
Empowering Rural Women: The Triumph of Collaboration
A significant focus of the celebration was the showcase of the remarkable achievements of rural women in the Champawat district who have reaped the benefits of projects supported by the Switzerland-based organization, Swiss Himalayan Amity (SHA). SHA’s involvement in the region revolves around four distinct programs: Aarohi, Arogya, Alaap, and Cankids. These programs are designed to provide crucial support in the domains of education, healthcare, and reforestation.
Aarogya: A Beacon of Maternal and Child Healthcare
One of the standout accomplishments under SHA’s aegis is the Arogya project, which established a model delivery point at a community health center in the Pati block of Champawat district. The success of this endeavor has led to the establishment of another similar facility, further emphasizing the commitment to improving maternal and child healthcare in the region. Sushil Sharma, the driving force behind the Arogya project, shared this encouraging development with pride.
Smokeless ‘Chulhas’ and Rural Midwives: A Holistic Approach
Robert Graf, the head of SHA, outlined the organization’s holistic approach to uplift the hill communities of Uttarakhand. He emphasized their efforts to promote the use of smokeless ‘chulhas’ (stoves) in the region, addressing both health and environmental concerns. Additionally, SHA has been actively engaged in programs aimed at educating and empowering midwives in rural areas. These initiatives underscore the multifaceted nature of the collaboration between India and Switzerland.
A Diverse Gathering
Among the attendees who graced the celebration were notable figures such as Kamal Musale, a Swiss-Indian filmmaker, historian Shekhar Pathak, and photographer Anup Shah. Their presence served as a testament to the rich cultural exchange and the enduring bond between these two nations.
The ‘Swiss Himalayan Bounty’ event not only celebrated the past 75 years of fruitful cooperation but also laid the foundation for continued collaboration between India and Switzerland. With a focus on sustainable development, healthcare, and empowerment, this enduring partnership promises to bring forth even more success stories in the years to come.