SHAPE has extended its policies of Green Initiative over 200 villages in Tiruvannamalai district with a direct beneficiary count of 40,000 and indirect beneficiary count of over 100,000. The project ‘Tiruvannamalai Green Initiative’ was started back in 1998. The aim is to conserve the main resources: water, clean air and soil.
We were able to achieve such a huge impact with the help of District/State officials including Legislative Members, Collectors, Department Directors and local businesses. Since 1987 SHAPE has voluntarily planted over 50,000 trees in and around the state of Tamil Nadu.
We also helped the state Government back in the early 2000s to restore and save the Tiruvannamalai-Annamalai Reserve Forest Area which has a 14 kilometer(~8 mile) circumference. This forest area houses more than 200 species of flora and fauna.
For a period of 5 years(2005-2009) SHAPE created and managed a 5 acre (~20000 square meters) botanical garden containing 400 plants of different species. Primarily, the Paramathma Botanical Garden, situated at the foothill of Mount Arunachala was meant to serve as an example for other institutions that were under SHAPE’s guidance. This garden also helped SHAPE provide the beneficiaries with organic and healthy harvest.
“Change starts from within”; bearing this statement, the board officially banned the usage of plastics in premises of SHAPE. The founder believes in saving the environment not for us, but for our future generation.
During the late 90s, SHAPE promoted cheap solar cooking methods with one of its Swiss Partners Mr. Markus Beiri (Solar Cooking) in 4 different villages. With these methods, the people who could not afford Fuel or Gas for cooking were given awareness to make use of the renewable energy. This method is highly effective because the district of Tiruvannamalai falls under the tropical areas and has sunshine for almost 9 months in a year. The cost of building a solar stove is INR 100(lesser than USD 2). The method is still being promoted in all of the project areas of SHAPE
Apart from these changes, SHAPE helps farmers by providing them guidance in various aspects. Most of the farmers in Tiruvannamalai are abandoning their lands after selling it to real estate companies who then erect structures over these lands and incorporate them. As a result, farming lands are being destroyed leading to insufficient food supply. SHAPE helps such impoverished farmers by providing them with the agricultural products they need so that they can continue their work and not abandon their lands.
Currently, SHAPE has joined hands with the Central Government of India to execute the CLEAN INDIA scheme. As a part of enacting this scheme SHAPE is manufacturing cotton bags in its women vocational training centres, as an alternative to the existing wide spread toxic plastic bags. SHAPE is trying to supply these bags to the MSMEs all over Tamil Nadu to limit the usage of plastic bags in the state.