Currently, they are building a community centre for village people whose houses are in a bad state due to the flash floods and mud slides. They are also supporting afforestation and are working towards this project through different methods. Their another ongoing project includes construction of composting toilets for villagers, especially for women.
The story of R.O.S.E. Kanda began in June 1988 when a small village man met a foreigner while attending a workshop. The foreigner was a member of some Volunteer sending organisation who wanted a host family in the remote area to help the visiting volunteers in the country to engage in rural development, disaster management, environment protection and other activities. Driven by the force of social work, this small village man, Jeevan Lal Verma accepted the offer of being a host to volunteers.
In August 1988, a group of 8 volunteers visited his home in Sunargaon, a village in Kanda, Bageshwar; and stayed for 15 days with his family. They participated in day-to-day activities of villagers, cultural exchange and social and rural development work camps. The visit was successful, and more volunteers came to his place. The volunteers were impressed by the scenic beauty, cuisine and culture of Kumaon. Some visitors shared their experience in International magazines and brought the ROSE Kanda in the limelight of people. There is also a documentary made by a Canadian television on the remote place like Kanda and the role of grass root works of ROSE in such area.
R.O.S.E. (Rural Opportunity for Social Elevation) is a small help group in Kanda established in collaboration with Jeevan Paying Guest Unit (JPGU), Sunargaon. Kanda is a hilly province comprising of 30 villages having the population of over 20,000 people. More than 50% population in Kanda is living below poverty line. As most of the people of Uttarakhand, in Kanda also, the locals are dependent on agriculture, animals and nature for their sustenance.
ROSE Kanda is working on grass root level to provide opportunities to locals to actively participate in developing a better life for themselves.
It works in the field of education, health, employment, cultural integrity and ecological balance. It also promotes organic farming, art and culture of locals. It provides an opportunity to volunteer in ongoing projects such as teaching. ROSE Kanda has set a local school for the poor families who cannot afford sending their children to school. ROSE Kanda running on the donations it received by institutions, visitors or universities. Still one can donate them for their remarkable activities in Kanda. If not money, then one can donate clothes, pencils, vegetables or flower seeds, agricultural tools, medicines and many other things, and help them by volunteering also.
In JPGU, one can expect traditional settings in single or sharing rooms on the basis of need and availability, and clean toilets. One can enjoy the home-cooked traditional vegetarian Kumaoni food made from locally grown ingredients. Non-vegetarian food is served on demand. Also, ATM is located in Bageshwar which is one hour distance from Kanda. They also provide escort services from Bageshwar- Kanda, Delhi- Kanda, and Haldwani- Kanda with charges.
Some previous work of ROSE Kanda includes construction of Cattle house, Fair price shop, toilets, paths and infrastructure, irrigation canal, and income generation programme for poor. It is also working on electricity programme because there is the unavailability of electricity after sunset. After spending the whole day in the field, there is little to do for villagers after sunset, especially for children who cannot study in darkness.
The achievements of Jeevan Lal Verma made the state government proud and he was awarded First Choice Responsible Tourism Award 2005 for Best Volunteering programme, sponsored by The Imaginative Traveler, from The World Travel Market (WTM), London. He was also selected for The Pride of Uttaranchal, by Utsah, New Delhi in 2001 and Best Citizens of India 2006, by The India International Friendship Society, New Delhi. He was also honoured by the state Tourism Minister Shri Prakash Pant on World Tourism Day at H.N.B. Garhwal University, Srinagar for efforts in promoting Rural Eco / Voluntary Tourism.
The initiative by Jeevan Lal Verma emerged as an ideal example of eco-tourism and social work. It also gives confidence to locals about their cultural integrity and art which is fading away in modern times. Such grass root level works can help the people to move towards development at the same time flourishing their local art and culture also.