Display the 2023 AID calendar “pahād” in your home or office and celebrate the vitality, recognize the fragility and wonder at the majesty of India’s mountains. Home to people, flora and fauna and providing the earth with natural water towers, the mountains, in the words of mountaineer Malika Virdi, “remind humans of our true size.”
We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, 1968
Lifting us from the mundane to the majestic, the mountain top offers a vision that dispels the fatigue of the uphill climb and restores our energy for the path forward. For those who live in the mountains, that path is full of challenges to protect the land, water and forest as well as the music, mythos and wisdom on which their life and livelihoods depend.
From the Himalayan foothills to the Eastern and Western Ghats, AID works with organizations of mountain dwellers engaged in every aspect of caring for social and ecological well-being. Just as the peaks receive the first rays of the rising sun, the people feel the first impacts of unsustainable development and, when empowered, can correct the course for the country and for humanity. The health of our planet is tied to the health of the mountain ecosystems. A glacier in the Himalayas can impact agriculture and governance in the valleys of the Vindhyas.
Interconnected work in civic engagement, environmental protection and sustainable livelihoods is critical throughout India and AID partners in urban and rural areas are on the case. To learn more about these efforts, visit aidindia.org/mounains
As we look to the other side of the pandemic, we must remember that alongside the terrible losses, the past three years have brought forth mass-based efforts to address the weaknesses that worsened its impacts. In the fields of health, education, livelihoods, rights of women and minorities, environment and forests, AID partners have taken on the double duty of relief work as needed, while also keeping up their main programs and infusing them with a renewed vigor. They truly are moving mountains.
Working for social justice and sustainable progress often feels like an uphill climb but it need not be lonely. After two years of virtual meetings the 2022 AID conference held outdoors brought volunteers together to learn, share, inspire and energize one another for the work ahead, in chapters across the country. We welcome you to join and wish you well in 2023.