Jharkhand is a predominantly tribal state, carved out of Bihar, which has historically been one of the least developed regions of India. While Jharkhand has rich mineral resources (a fact recognized by India’s foremost industrial group, Tata, whose major steel plant is located there) these have been plundered, leaving behind soil erosion, deforestation, and impoverishment. When PIDT entered twenty years back, the area was completely arid and barren. There was virtually no cash economy present, resulting in high rates of migration. The dearth of trade-based communication networks was exacerbated by the fragmentation of villages into various diverse ethnic and religious groups, presenting multiple challenges to organization. Women’s status was also extremely low, with girls of 10-11 years married and sold off to considerably older men.

Due to the high need in the area, PIDT has established a robust presence in Jharkhand, where our campus and training centre has become a demonstration site, home to key enterprises and continued action research in organic farming, herbal medicine, and education.

Based on this research, PIDT has introduced reforestation and organic farming to rejuvenate the soil. PIDT has initiated men and women into
collectives for development planning and conflict resolution and provided entrepreneurial and skill training. This effort has dramatically reduced crime in the region and has begun to stem the tide of migration as people see opportunities available. Through education and awareness generation, the marriage age of girls has been raised to around 16 and changes in values and outlook are being inculcated in the next generation. Back