Rain and storms. These haunt the people of Sundarbans throughout the year, sparking widespread panic at the slightest forecast. In mere moments, homes are demolished, leaving devastation in their wake. The adage “Life by the river, worry-free never” has become a tragic reality for the people of Sundarbans. Earthen river embankments are ubiquitous in the Sunderbans. The all-consuming river slowly erodes these embankments, such that they break down under storm winds. Agricultural land gets inundated by saline water, bringing financial misery to the inhabitants.
Amidst these yearly calamities, the people of the Sunderbans have realized that healthy river embankments, and extensive mangrove forests – can be their protective shields. The mangroves stand as a barrier between the people and the strong winds and rising tides during storms. Thus, to safeguard the future, the women of Sundarbans have risen to the challenge, actively engaging in the preservation of the river embankments and the mangroves. Mukti has played an undeniable role in empowering these women to spearhead this crucial initiative. Conducting awareness camps across various Sundarban regions, Mukti encourages the protection of the environment, the river embankments, and tree plantation drives with particular emphasis on mangroves. Beyond mangrove planting, initiatives involving the cultivation of vetiver grass and commercial dragon fruit plantations along the embankments aim to fortify and safeguard these vulnerable areas.
The Sundarbans Green Project, a collaborative effort between Mukti and SIDBI Swabalamban Foundation, is implementing these mangrove plantations, vetiver grass planting, and dragon fruit cultivation across Sundarbans. This project not only aims to fortify riverbank areas and safeguard the Sundarbans from natural calamities but also fosters self-reliance among rural women, strengthening the local economy.
Under Mukti’s stewardship, over 9 lakh trees have been planted with the assistance of rural women, fostering sustainable livelihoods for Sundarbans’ inhabitants. Additionally, Mukti has aided in the construction of more than 60 cyclone-tolerant model houses, extending support to those affected by storms.
It is Mukti’s dream that through these and similar endeavors, not only will people adapt to their natural environment, but they will also become stewards of the environment.