The International Union Of Conservation Of Nature (IUCN) is conducting an online poll inviting people to vote for their ‘Heritage Heroes’. The site has selected three individuals for their exemplary work in the field of conservation and ecosystems. One of the three individuals shortlisted is Mr Bibhuti Lakhar of Manas Wildlife sanctuary, the sanctuary was listed as a natural world heritage site in 1985 due to its exceptional biodiversity and ecosystems which provided critical habitat to rare and endangered species.
Mr Prabal Kr Das in his words has detailed the work and efforts taken by Bibhuti for the purpose of conservation and development of the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary. He talks about how Bibhuti who came as a student to the sanctuary and committed himself to preserving and betterment of the ecosystem by forging relations and building bonds with all stakeholders for the betterment of the sanctuary. One of the tangible outcomes of his efforts according to Mr. Prabhas words is that Manas Wildlife Sanctuary has been taken off the list of world heritage site in danger from 2011.
Some of the other accolades and appreciation Mr Prabal gives to Mr Bibhuti in his testimony to his work includes:
1. Bibhuti held dozens of public meetings in which locals were made aware about the value of Manas as a natural World Heritage site and as an ecotourism destination. While Bibhuti sought help from local communities, he was also resolved to empower youths to gain opportunities for sustainable livelihoods. With no external aid available, he singlehandedly motivated about 100 youths to learn the basics of wildlife monitoring and act as tour guides. Today they are engaged in ecotourism ventures and support their families.
2. He played a critical role in the rehabilitation of surrendered poachers, enabling them to lead a dignified and socially meaningful life and his team trained around 600 members of local grassroots NGOs, including ex-poachers who now act as protectors of Manas.
3. He focused on women and offered them regular income opportunities. More than 100 ‘self-help groups’ were formed, encouraging women to engage in alternative livelihoods such as food processing, weaving, and fishery. This came as a succor in an area where income avenues were scanty.
4. He oversaw the installation of a 14-km long electric fence to safeguard around 1,000 economically weak households from elephant depredation in a buffer area of the World Heritage site. No causality of humans or elephants was recorded since it was installed in 2013.
5. He played the leading role in connecting Manas Wildlife Sanctuary with the Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan. Now a system of transboundary wildlife monitoring supports management in the entire Manas natural area that spreads across India and Bhutan. He also conducted the first GIS surveys of the park, which became a critical component for drawing the management plan for the site.
Among many other tributes and appreciation were given to the work Bibhuti. The Logical Indian appreciates the efforts of Bibhuti and other conservationists who have been listed and we wish all of them good luck.
Cast your vote to choose the prestigious World Heritage Hero, one among the three nominees is a low profile Indian conservationist Dr. Bibhuti Prasad Lahkar.
Retiring after spending 32 years in the Indian Army, Col Chris Rego is helping change the destinies of hundreds of children in conflict-affected North East India through his “White Bullets” initiative. With this initiative, he hopes to bring peace and progress to communities across North East India.
Luminouswanted to bring out the Colonel’s story to the world to inspire and motivate others as it believes that education is a strong tool to empower women. It is supporting Col Rego’s cause through an initiative called #Luminaries – the brave people who stand up for causes like girl child education and make a difference in the society.
Col Rego’s journey started over a decade ago in Manipur when a tribal woman knocked on his door pleading for support for her daughter’s education. Touched by the woman’s story, Col Rego and his wife delved into their savings and arranged for the money for the girl’s education. Two years down the line, the woman returned, this time with a small pumpkin and a shawl that she had knitted, and all the money she had borrowed. Moved and realizing that their money could make lives rather than earn paltry interest, Col and Mrs. Rego embarked on a journey to arrange for sponsorship of many more underprivileged children.
Retiring from the Army, Col Rego took over as CEO of Sunbird Trust, a not-for-profit organization which he founded in 2014. The Trust now sponsor over 1,000 children in 21 locations acrossNorth East India. The centre of Sunbird Trust’s activities is at beautiful Ijeirong, Manipur.
Recognizing Col Chris’s immense work, Luminousacknowledged him as their first Luminary. Through this, they hope to bring more power to his elbow in the notable work he is doing. The Luminousteam travelled to remote Ijeirong village and installed solar products. These solar products will help in providing power to the entire campus 24/7 for the very first time.
The Logical Indian salutes Col Christopher Rego for his untiring efforts and leadership. His efforts are already having a cascading effect on people from across India joining the “White Bullets” endeavour. Quite amazingly, education, in itself so empowering, is merely a means to PEACE. We hope the path illuminated by #Luminary Col Rego and his Sunbird Trust team acts as a beacon for others to follow.
If you too have stories of change, share them with us. And if you want to connect with Colonel Rego, click here.