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Dear readers!

Ben here, writing from Toronto that is increasingly under lock down under Covid 19. Wherever you are, I hope that you are well, resting, with good food and better company--even if it's just your own! These are dark times. But lightness cannot exist without darkness.

If you're receiving this update, it's because you've been a part of our work till now, and since we last sent word, a LOT has happened, thanks to the support of everyone reading this. This update focuses on the work happening at the Centre of Resilience in Bihar, born out of the Bihar Project of the Vasudhaiva Ride. And in a time of increasing gloom, it's a burst of hope.

So please pour a cup of tea, and enjoy. 

Big peace, and love,

- Ben Reid-Howells

In October, 2019, we finished the final project of the Vasudhaiva Ride in Scotland and Prashant returned to Bihar.  “Returning to Bihar has been a strong experience. After witnessing issues around the world, now I see how large-scale the problems are that we face here in Bihar. The community we built during the first stage of the Bihar Project is ready now and I see the strong willpower of local youth who want to work for a better future”

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Since our time in Bihar, the Centre has become a place of ecological sanctuary in the quickly developing town of Arrah. Local species who lost their habitats have returned and during the drought period, the Centre is a green haven, the garden feeding ten local families.

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Weeks after Prashant returned to Bihar, the seasonal floods came. The same floods, and lack of support for marginalised peoples, led to the death of 500 people while we were based in Bihar in 2017-18. This year, an estimated10 million people were displaced within Bihar alone. This is the reality, and the future for Bihar, unless systemic changes are made to both urban development and social discrimination.

The Centre was entirely flooded, as was much of Patna, Bihar's capital city, and many rural areas. The families who live just next to the Centre along a canal had to leave their simple homes for higher ground.

Prashant worked with the youth of these same families and regional youth organisers to provide basic relief to those most in need. Together, and with funds raised internationally, they provided woollen blankets and 5,000 water treatment solutions to frontline communities. 

Watch the short video below, filmed by Prashant on a second-hand phone. :)

Life-threatening floods and droughts will only grow in severity in the coming years with global climate change, unplanned development and social marginalisation. In response, Prashant is currently carrying out the first prototypes of affordable stilt housing: an alternative for Bihar's most vulnerable families in the floods to come. Such designs could lead to housing that is affordable, and resistant to flooding.

This after all, is our mission.  RESILIENCE.

Early stage stilt-construction prototypes at the Centre.

March, 2020

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