The Bamboo's Secret

School & Charity

The Bamboo's Secret Project

The Bamboo Roofing Project

4 Years Later

What we make

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The Project

Landslides and erosion are serious dangers in the steep, soft soil of the Himalayan foothills, bamboo is the best at holding this soil in place.  Bamboo can also be grown profitably in such small and difficult of locations as this piece of wasteland pictured below that is surrounded by rice fields.  

Bamboo performs another miracle when planted alongside streambeds and floodplains.  Its roots quickly spread out seeking water and nutrients covering streambeds and the erosion prone stream banks with a thick layer of roots that hold the loose rocky soil in place.  When the monsoon rains come washing the hillsides and rice fields clean of wastes and excess fertilizers, these fertile toxins are removed from the water by the bamboo root matting at a nearly miraculous rate.  These toxic farm wastes are cumulatively disastrous on the river and ocean ecologies and as these same river waters are used over and over irrigating farms on the Ganga plain these toxins invariably accumulate in the human environment.  A problem of huge and cumulative proportions is but food and sustenance to the beautiful bamboo.

The first key to achieving these huge far reaching goals is to solve the problem of  "how to encourage the local farmers and land owners to plant and maintain bamboo?"  Currently the amount of bamboo and the market for bamboo are fairly well in balance in most areas of Nepal.  To make a significant change in the landscape a large demand/ market needs to be created in the areas where the bamboo is needed to be encouraged.  

 By teaching local villagers a variety of hand crafts using bamboo we have significantly increased the demand and planting of bamboo in one small area.  To increase demand even further we have been exploring various bamboo related industries.  Nepal has no ocean port and thus to compete on the international market we must pay taxes to India in order gain access to western markets.  For this reason, and others, we are focusing on markets within Nepal itself.  Our next plan is to build a small (4 to 6 workers) bamboo plywood and roofing factory near Pokhara, Nepal.  This small factory will create several hundred jobs maintaining the bamboo and weaving mats from split bamboo, most of these jobs are traditionally done by women.  To meet the needs of this small factory many hundreds of acres will need to be added to the surrounding environment.  A great plus for the planet as a whole.

Whenever practical divorced or widowed women -a disenfranchised and outcaste segment of Nepal's society- are given employment and/or encouraged to learn craft training.  We are currently working with the "Women's Environment development Association", a locally run women's help group previously sponsored by a Danish organization, who are helping recruit local women for our training programs.  Together we are selecting those women who are not only widowed or divorced, but who are most likely to take the training home and share it with others in their village, thereby multiplying our efforts exponentially. 

We are also designing small localized projects where patches of erosion wasted land are secured by community agreement, lease or purchase.  These parcels are then planted with Bamboo and other grasses, fenced and then given over to a select committee of divorced women from the area to maintain and preserve for future industry. 

Two of the greatest destroyers of forests in Nepal are local needs for firewood and the nearby city's demand for furniture (really!).  We are currently searching for and designing furniture that is not only made of Bamboo but will be desirable in the local market as well.  The training schools program focuses on furniture making, with secondary attention given to craft items salable in local markets.

The steep mountainsides have been virtually denuded of trees in many areas.  The demand for firewood has long ago become impossible to meet.  The usual fallback cooking material, ends up being manure.  This practice then leads to further environmental devastation as the nutritious manure is not returned to the soil.  Our future goals include sponsoring bamboo firewood forests in these areas.  Bamboo out produces most other competitive crops by about 400%. This is a sure way to enrich the community as well as the environment, as it will not only supply firewood and charcoal from the bamboo but fodder for animals and materials for local crafters! 

The town of Bamdi where our school and nursery is located.

We are sure the road to the future is paved with bamboo, at least for the villagers of Nepal.  Won't you walk with us awhile?  

Remember,  the activities of the Bamboo's Secret School and Nursery mentioned on this website are primarily supported by its founding members with occasional donations from others.  Some of the costs of this project are paid for by the sales of our crafts and nursery stock.  We are also greatly indebted to the support of our  friends, personal and professional, without whom all of this would not be possible.

You can help.  Really you can.  We run on such a short shoestring that you'd be surprised at how far a little can go with us.  Don't be afraid, do it now.  Contact anyone at the Bamboo's Secret Charity for more information, or to share contributions, spiffy ideas and/or work offerings at:

The Bamboo's Secret -- USA
Phone: 1 (808) 344-8023

Or directly in Nepal:

The Bamboo's Secret School
Bamdi, Chapakot

Email to Nepal:

9505 Meadow Star Dr., Reno, NV 89506 U.S.A.

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More about the Bamboo's Secret project  The Bamboo roofing Project
4 years later- what's going on now? Bamboo Craft Goods We  Make and Sell
Projects  that you can help with. Donations! Who is behind all this?  
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