by Aayushi Sejpal
An organization that explores remote communities and encourages them to use their culture and heritage and bring it to light.
‘The People Place Project’ got the opportunity to interview ‘NotOnMap’. The organization has been studying the migration patterns of communities from regional areas to the cities. They realized that most of these migratory workers are majorly unskilled labour who have to survive on a menial daily wage. Mr. Kumar Anubhav, one of the founders of the organization believes that these communities have ‘rich cultural assets back home’. Some of these assets are not valued by the communities themselves. These cultural values may vary from the food they eat, the way they celebrate festivals, the kind of homes they stay in, which might be as old as a 100 years. The focus of NotOnMap is to protect these living cultural heritages unlike the famous monuments that are protected by larger organisations. 'NotOnMap’ finds it important to protect the cultural heritage of people as well.
Many of these villages have a lack of modern influence, and a minimal influence of technology . NotOnMap makes it a point to provide these villages with an economy through travel. So it was important to create an enterprise for these people through the strengths that they possess. For example just redesigning or improving on some of their existing homes through the skills and material available locally. This in turn opens doors of local homes, with hosts who extend their warm hospitality to travelers and allow an impactful cultural exchange that benefits both parties.
There are a lot of individuals who do want to explore and experience these areas and in the true sense have ‘Hunger for Culture’. NotOnMap provides an opportunity beyond a destination to stay; it rather creates a mechanism of cultural exchange for everyone, where each side gets to learn & contribute to each other.
NotOnMap tries to ensure that the experience is a socio-cultural one where travelers engage with the local community & conduct activities & workshops for all the varied age groups of the community. For Example - Lectures by academicians in schools for children on various subjects, free health camps by travelers who are doctors, adventure training, awareness campaigns for sanitation and women safety by social workers, creating libraries in the village etc. This way locals get to learn a lot and get educated through the travelers. Not only this, the travelers can learn a lot from the local communities as well be it their crafts or their cuisine. The entire village is open for travelers to explore and imbibe as much as they can.
Through one of their initiatives they are also going to connect the consumers directly to the farmers. The consumers from the local vicinity and nearby cities can directly connect to the farmers this gives the latter a better livelihood and the right price for the produce that they deserve.
‘Documenting the undocumented’ is another initiative through which they look at traditions, untold stories, native medicinal practices or artists that people do not know about and making travelers more aware and bringing them on the map.
NotOnMap is basically an initiative "For Travelers and started By passionate Travelers" Mr. Kumar Anubhav is an avid traveler and mountaineer. He has traveled extensively across India and around the world to experience diversified cultures, most of his tours have been to the countryside than the cities. He always had a question ‘Why do you live?’ He realized that he does not live for the materialistic world and he lives to create a social impact. He is an academician and engineer by profession, he was working for a company as a Vice President. He gave up his luxurious life to contribute and create an enterprise for the communities. He is now living a purposeful life uplifting the communities in ‘rural India’
When asked about what the organization would imagine the ideal world to be, Mr. Kumar Anubhav replies saying that they believe in ‘caring for the earth’, ‘caring for the people’ and a ‘fair share for all’. These are the main quintessential points that make the base of permaculture. Himself being a permaculturist the organization tries its best to thrive through this foundation.
He further talks about how every place has an energy, each land is different. He feels that the younger generations tend to overlook the basic aspects that make a place and tend to think logically. The cultural practices of many places are getting lost due to modernisation. And that not everything can be explained logically or through science. So re-establishing the energy and essence of a particular place that encompasses nature, climate, and people and ensuring that the soul of the place should not be lost. Rejuvenating the place is important, including the living and nonliving things back to its original essence. Making the people an integral part of any space is what he would define as place making.
The entire team of NotOnMap believes in their work and the positive impact that it will create in the society. The objective is not driven by money but with being satisfied with what they have, to survive a simple life as compared to a luxurious one.
Follow their work on :
#changemakers in place-making series
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