Responsible Travel, India: Can you help Roma?
We at Dragoman are committed to a sustainable type of travel that 'gives back' to the people and places we visit, environmentally, socially and economically. Hear how our latest passenger and crew initiated project is helping to transform a tragedy into a triumph of human nature in Darjeeling, India.
In October last year, in a small town near Darjeeling, 21 year old Roma Subba was attending the last day of a local fair being held in nearby Bijanbari. She was crossing a small footbridge which was overloaded with people from the fair when the cable snapped sending everybody on it tumbling into the river below.
45 people died as a result. Roma, the eldest of six children, survived but broke her back. She is now paralysed from the waist down.
One of the places we stay on our east India trips is a place called 'Karmi Farm'; an Anglo-Indian homestay which, as well as hosting our groups in lovely accommodation boasting fantastic views of the Himalayan foothills, also helps local people with basic health issues at a dedicated, on-site clinic. We've been supporting this grass-roots project for several years as it's helped transform the lives of local people, but when one of our groups met Roma on a visit in January, everybody, including a nurse, were moved by her plight.
The group, and subsequent groups led by Mat Wayte , Ellen Stennard, Anja Schmidt, Jennie Dufour, and Martin Duggan, have raised donations to help improve Roma's life. After careful consideration, it was decided that the money should go towards building her a new house that was accessible by wheelchair. (At the moment she is being carried in and out by her family and even with a brand new wheelchair just donated to her by the local authority, the present house is not suitable for her needs. So far, Dragoman passengers and leaders have helped raise half the money estimated (a total of £1025) to build a new house. If all goes well, Andrew Pulger Frame, the owner of Karmi Farm who is helping to co-ordinate the build, estimates the house will be complete by June, before the monsoon rains start.
Here's some pictures of Dragoman passengers helping to clear the land in preparation for the build.
Our 16 day Calcutta to Kathmandu trip is just one of our Indian adventures that takes in Karmi Farm. Click on http://www.dragoman.com/holidays/details/calcutta-to-kathmandu for more details or visit http://www.dragoman.com/responsible-travel/our-projects?start=3 to find out more about this wonderful project.