Aquaterra Adventures™ runs numerous expeditions to isolated, remote areas of India, mostly in the Himalayan regions, in north-west, north and eastern India, spanning the entire Indian Himalaya. During these trips, guests come into contact with highly impoverished, rural communities that, for a multitude of reasons, remain disconnected and underdeveloped. The Aquaterra Charity Trust (ACT) aims to facilitate a means for us, at Aquaterra Adventures™, our guests, and friends, to understand the myriad issues that plague Himalayan populations, and to give back to the communities that enrich the simple culture of the people of the Himalaya. It allows for you, to make a positive difference in the lives of those in less fortunate positions, in a sustainable, culturally sensitive and responsible manner.
Individuals/organizations are encouraged to state their preference of community they would like to see their donations at work in, or they may allow the ACT to determine the most pressing need their gift may be used towards. Projects are determined based on community needs, assessed by observation, our experience in working in these remote regions, and holding discussions with the community in consideration, as well as with local, or regional organizations concurrently working in the area.
A portion of Aquaterra Adventures™ profits, is also ploughed back each year to assist in causes that need urgent attention.
ACT began by voluntarily and informally helping and supporting a primary school which runs till Grade 3, in the remote village of Nyerak, deep in the heart of the Zanskar canyon. The children there, do not have access to notebooks, stationary, reading material, toys, and sometimes, even teachers. ACT has been able to sponsor education for older kids moving out of the village, in pursuit of higher education.
On Aug 5, 2010, Ladakh was hit on Terrible Thursday, when it was least expected. In the dead of the night, stealthy in its approach, torrential rains brought havoc that affected 25000 people all over Ladakh, and the whole of the western Himalaya. It brought valleys 250 kms apart, to a complete standstill. The same weather front that devastated Pakistan and its 14 million affected, chose the quiet Trans Himalaya, for precision bombardment that has rendered hundreds homeless, several dead and many who will have to begin life afresh.
ACT is helping Ladakhi children with their education, boarding and lodging in schools in Ladakh.
Meanwhile, in the region of Garhwal, a 22 year old boy , Gajendra, fell off a tree, and was paralysed waist down for nearly 2 years. One of our guides met him at his house on a hike, and all Gajendra could ask was for poison to end his life. A joint effort by donors, Kim Hartlin and a generous donation from MakeMyTrip.com, helped Gajendra move to hospital, to get his pressure sores operated. He is now at the Indian Spinal Injuries Center at Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. He is looking at a new life, and hopefully, in 3-4 months, he could begin a new life, albeit on a wheelchair, but full of hope.
On June 16/17, 2013, the river valleys across the breadth of the State of Uttarakhand, took the bulk of the assault. The northern watersheds of the Tons, Bhagirathi, Ganga, Alaknanda, Mandakini, Kali Ganga, Nandakini, Pindar, Mahakali (collectively, they form the Great Indo Gangetic plain, that supports most of North India) began draining thousands of cubic feet per second, in the form of cloudbursts, and unseen levels of rain that accelerated boulders, land, people and animals into its valleys, increasing the mass of the life force that these rivers represent.
The damage has been monumental. As people have died, swept away miles by the flood or buried under mounds of debris, the real death toll will never be known. The missing persons list will continue to grow, and body remains may never be found. The local population is left to pick up the pieces. Compensation is hard to negotiate and takes ages to receive in these parts, but the people remain proud, even amidst the ruins of shattered homes, and staring at a very difficult new start in the weeks to come. This is where Aquaterra, with a 95% staff strength from the region feels strongly about giving back to the areas affected.
We have also been spent closing due diligence in identifying need and raising funds. Our donors have helped raise over Rs. 21 lakhs and the job continues.
Our fundraiser over Dec 19-22, 2013, You For Uttarakhand is another step in helping bring tourism back to Uttarakhand and remove the negative perceptions that the raging rivers left behind, long after the flood receded.
ACT aims to strategically assist with adoption of families, and hamlets, to assist in long term rehabilitation and helping rebuild community life. With a bulk of our operation in these parts, we can afford to keep an eye on our program, with zero administrative costs.
In 2015 ACT distributed 52 laptops to schools in the mountains, who had no access to computer education.
In 2016, ACT built a computer room at Singtalli Village which could be accessed by schools and local communities.