An eco-village stands first and foremost for a life ethic, which can be summarised in the following values :
Autonomy and responsibility (Empowerment)
Autonomy and collective responsibility as far as the tenants are concerned, who will need to respect the ethical principles implemented in Namlang-Himal, and also the autonomy and responsibility of the eco-village employees.
We resolutely ban all forms of dependence and will encourage an cohesion rather than charitable operation. This solidarity will express itself in a sense of sharing.
Open-mindness towards the local tibetan and indian communities, so that they take full part in the project and will reap the resulting benefits.
Respect : of others, of the environment and of oneself
We expect those taking part in the project to be respectful of these three elements.
-The respect of others is the foundation of our ethic ; it implies first a thorough understanding of our approach of local communities and an acceptance of other cultures, completely void of any judjment.
-Underlying the respect of the environment is a basically ecological (« environment-friendly ») behaviour, nonetheless pragmatic, taking into account the natural conditions of the environment. The pitfall being that in order to protect the environment, we may hurt local cultural perceptions. We must therefore behave in a way which does not try to impose ideas but make an example for others to follow.
- Self-respect is the underlying basis of our personal ethic, which means we must at all times follow the middle course, without being excessive, in all areas.
To accept others as they are, their beliefs, their tastes, their way of life, is a basic quality of the human being.
The object of eco-villages can be defined socially, economically, environmentally, culturally and financially.
Namlang-Himal can be analysed according to these different criteria.
Our social component is made up of different elements which will all aim at bringing welfare for the employees, which is essential to make them motivated and responsible.
Social contract for employees
The contract is aimed at giving them guaranteed work, while developing their sense of responsibility towards their work place.
- This social contracts will include:
A 3 year work-contract including a part of the profits, a yearly attendance bonus, a monthly saving scheme investment which will be given back after 3 years if the employee has respected the contract ( to encourage them to stay)
A bonus for marriage as well as child birth, to help young couples to settle
These training schemes, financed by the share of profits allocated to solidarity, are aimed at Namlang-Himal’s employees, but will be open to the local population.
Vocational training in tourism, catering, hotel and business management
English and French teaching
Protection of the environment
Hygiene and health programme
A Health center will be set up :
Child and old people’s general health prevention
Health consultancy for general population check-ups
Ayurveda medicine training
Miscellaneous social programmes
Garbage collection scheme in the settlement
Sponsorship for senior citizen without family
Sponsorship for juniors and orphans
This component will be prioritised, as the aim of our project. To contribute to the economic development of a community, rather than favouring the « top to bottom » charity approach is our primary goal.
This is the best way to fight poverty whilst respecting a person’s dignity.
Several types of economic activities will be developed in the eco-village, all aimed at empowering the employees.
eception, hotel management, catering
Set up of small scale shops and workshops :
Groceries, crafts, cloth
Sewing, jewelry, woodcarving, holy paintings (thankas) workshops
(protection of the environment)
This component reflects the choice of a responsible attitude towards the environment and man’s health, and away from a mutual exploitation of profit.
Buildings will be in a traditional style, but the ecological requirements must at the same time take into account such aspects as coherence, aesthetics and adaptation to practical needs. Here again, a pragmatic approach is prioritised. The ecological consideration will be translated in :
Organic agriculture and permaculture
Renewable sources of energy
Garbage disposal and processing
Organic waste composting
The durability of the eco-village is based upon traditional activities.
We will thus develop activities in the cultural domain in order to enhance the insight into Indian, Himalayan and Tibetan civilizations.
Organisation of a dance group : traditional Indian and Tibetan dance, modern « Bollywood » dance
Language classes : Tibetan and Hindi
This cultural aspect will be combined with the development of an activity and leisure programme, aimed in priority at the tourists, but also at the local communities and the employees.
To name but a few examples :
Initiation to meditation
Handicrafts workshops : sewing, macrame, painting on cloth, on wood, carving, cooking etc.
Entertainment evenings : music, cinema, fancy dress …
Treks and walks
Namlang-Himal has been financed with private funds, either out of solidarity, without expectation of financial return, or as an ethical investment.
It is not therefore a cooperative, its judicial statutes being a Society.
However, I, Germaine, as the founder and developer of this project, and as an investor, am personnally committed to the fact that all the items listed in this document be respected, as well as the solidarity aspects concerning the financial return from the economic activities of the ecovillage.
As an example, part of the profits will be allocated to solidarity projects such as development projects for Bir community, vocational training, entrepreneurial grants, ailing business help, micro-credit (cf Appendix).
This original experiment must be taken as an example, aimed at showing very simply what can be done with limited means, and the inspiration of simple human values.