Meet the Khasi
In the hills of India’s Meghalaya region, communities of indigenous people known as the Khasi live alongside luscious cloud forests and sacred groves. Welcome to India’s Tribal Belt.
Here, we are working alongside Khasi communities, who manage around 90% of the forests of Meghalaya, to restore the native forest.
The Khasi are a forest-dependent people with a rich culture heavily tied to the forest.
They depend on the forest for shelter, firewood, medicine and food. They value its role in protecting springs, stream beds and conserving wildlife and attach spiritual significance to areas of forest identified as sacred groves. Indeed, the Khasi possess traditional forest conservation values that stem as far back as 500 years ago. They are also the ones who built the famous living root bridges in Cherrapunjee.
Pynshailang Lyngdoh (above), who we had the pleasure of meeting earlier this year, told us that “if the forests disappear, we lose our pride and honor as well”.
That’s why they need to protect it. But they need your support.
As a Scheduled Tribe, their status as indigenous people and the low socio-economic conditions under which they live have been acknowledged, with the help of the United Nations, by national legislation. However, around 50% of families are still living below the poverty line according to various government sources and even though they’re one of the world’s few matrilineal societies, women still suffer from some of India’s worst maternal health indices and are excluded from much political decision-making.
It's these low socio-economic conditions that are putting pressure on the native forest. To combat this, we're working hard to empower Khasi communities to develop sustainable, forest-friendly livelihoods. From ecotourism to tea stalls, the Khasi are choosing sustainable livelihoods so that they can earn an income without cutting down trees. Khasi people are also involved in the forestry activities, like planting and monitoring, and setting up their own home-based nurseries to supply the seedlings for transplanting to the forest.
Your support is keeping forests standing.
It's also making sure the needs of Khasi people are met, removing carbon from the atmosphere and mitigating climate change.