In an associative program, Wildlife Trust of India and The Body Shop International came together and handed over modern medical equipment to Siju and Baghmara Health Centers as a kind gesture to acknowledge conservation practices of the community in setting aside, ecologically critical parcels of their land as Village Reserve Forest. The ceremony was organized at Baghmara Civil Hospital in Garo Hills, Meghalaya on the 18th of December 2018 and was graced by key forest administrates and political authorities with the sole purpose to serve the community and promote better conservation practices.
Dr. Lily Sengme Ch. Marak, DMHO, Health and Family Welfare Department District Medical & Health Officer (DMHO), Baghmara Civil Hospital said, “I am very happy to have received the hospital equipment for my hospital and Siju PHC from Wildlife Trust of India in collaboration with The Body Shop, which they have donated these important instruments for the welfare of the people. And in future also we expect their support for the community in remote areas of extreme wilderness so that they are benefited.”
Chief Guest Florence T. Sangma, Chairperson, Child Welfare Committee, South Garo Hills, who was also at the event, said, “I am happy to participate at this noble initiative of WTI at Baghmara Civil Hospital and Siju PHC. I am also grateful to The Body Shop for extending these kinds of support to the people of South Garo Hills through the Wildlife Trust of India. Wildlife is important for our existence. Our ancestors have co-existed peacefully with the wildlife. We also have to follow this tradition of conservation.
Sunil Kyarong, Joint Director, WTI said, “WTI is actively working with the community in the Garo Hills for the last fifteen years in securing vital elephant corridors and habitat as village reserve forests (VRF). We are grateful for The Body Shop India in understanding and supporting these crucial bio-bridges. This is a unique combination of health support and wildlife conservation. In simple words, we take care of their basic needs and the community protects the forest and the wildlife.”
Among the other dignitaries present during the ceremony were, Surosh R Marak, Ex-Chairman, Baghmara Municipal Board and Bitopi G. Momin, Forest Range Officer, Siju Wildlife Range.
This initiative is not only a boon for the residents of these areas but also for the doctors who are willing to dedicate their services in remote areas of Garo Hills. This, in turn, will go a long way in getting continued support from the people of Garo Hills for conservation interventions in the region. WTI-TBS interventions will benefit the community and population covered by Siju and Baghmara health care which are around 9,300 and 37,000 individuals respectively belonging to 50 villages (NRHM, Meghalaya). This reflects one of WTI’s core beliefs - A sustained process of engagement and partnership with local communities is crucial to long-term success of conservation initiatives.