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VKAP – Bandhavgarh TR, March 2015

To read the detailed report for this programme, click here.

A programme started in the summer of 2012, The Village Kids’ Awareness Programme (VKAP) conducted by the Last Wilderness Foundation (LWF) is in its 8th leg, and yet the learning from the students and the rural side of the wilderness continues. Attended this time around by 302 students and 13 teachers from the villages of Umaria (Bakeli), Bakeli and Salkhaniya, our participants, who were visiting the forest for the very first time, were absolutely elated at the thought of visiting the reserve and were perhaps the most enthused bunch of students we have taken so far.

However, since it was the very first time that the students were being exposed to this sort of a programme, it was important to start from the basics. To understand – why Bandhavgarh, the forest that they’re so dependent on for a day-to-day living, is so important not only to them but also to other species living in the forest. On being asked “jungle kyun zaroori hai?” most students replied saying that the forest was important because it gave them fire wood, mahua, tendu, char, dori, amla etc. thereby making it important. But, on being asked “aap jungle ke liye kya karte hain?” there was deafening silence. Thus, in order to fill this void, our VKAP programme stepped in. To reach out to the students about the importance of the forests and the existence of all those who are equally important and have equal rights to share space and exist peacefully alongside us.

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