Very recently on June 19th 2013, a wonderful & very informative workshop was held at the Green Ashram, already home to some very innovative Renewable (1st in India) Technologies viz. India’s 1st Solar Air Conditioner (Solar AC), World’s 1st Solar Crematorium, Solar steam Cooking, Biogas Plants & more….The workshop was based on potential, usefulness, adaptability & economics of Solar Concentrator technologies(CST) & was jointly organised by India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) & conducted by Dr. Prof. Ajay Chandak. Some of the presentations made by the speakers were ‘Parabolic Solar Cookers for domestic and small communities, Solar Food Benefits’, ‘Role of State Nodal Agency in implementing of CST Project’, ‘Presentation by various Manufacturers of Solar Concentrators on their technologies, economics, success stories etc’, a Special Lecture by Shri Deepak Gadhia as Pioneering Entrepreneur and his perspective as a user and promoter of CST.
A very interesting ceremony in the evening was “Third Dr Shirin Gadhia Sustainability Award” organised by Eco Center ICNEER and MSA – An award ceremony in which every year 6 recipients worldwide are selected who have done innovative, inspiring work & have left the footprints for other to follow in the field of Sustainability, Ecology, Environmental awareness & Renewable Energy Arena !
Even though I wanted to but unfortunately I missed an excellent opportunity to attend this event. Two days later on June 22, I planned my visit to the Green Ashram to meet my mentor Shri Deepak Gadhia. During my visit, he introduced me with one of the recipients of the award Shri Ramkaji Paudel of Vajra Foundation Nepal. The Award was for Shri Ramkaji Paudel of Vajra Foundation, Nepal and Shri Maarten Olthof of Vajra Foundation Holland for their projects in Nepal where the First Green School in Nepal and now the Green Eco-resort they have planned and they have to their credit the World’s largest Solar Cooking project for Bhutanese Refugee Camp where they supplied 7000 Sk 14 Parabolic Solar Cookers that served by 85,000 people….!!!!
Both (Ramkaji & Maarten) are Social Entrepreneurs and share their Wealth and Work for the society and have many other projects to help build school buildings, Health Care Centers andthus both of them are Symbol of Hope for the World and Role Models and Mr. Ramkaji Paudel flew down specially to India along with his wife to receive the same. Mr. Maarten Olthof of Holland could not come personally but sent his Wishes.
Shri Ramkaji Paudel’s story is an inspiring story of how friends crossing not just caste and race and seas but also across continents can transform and effect not just individual lives but also touch so many lives of people, animals and flora and fauna and contribute to humane work and to protect environment.
Ramkaji was born in a small village and worked up in his life. He even worked as coolie and waiter to make a living and met Mr. Maarten Olthof when he was working at a Hotel named Vajra Hotel ( the fact that they both have started Vajra Foundation is more a co-incidence as the reason for keeping name Vajra is more spiritual and philosophical. Vajra is one of the Weapon of Lord Indra and represent Dynamism and Strength and was used by Lord Buddha as a tool for meditation) . Maarten used to bring tourists from Europe to Nepal and India for trekking on Spiritual trekking and wanted to give back to Nepal/ India and thus wanted to start Vajra Foundation and in Ram he saw and found a local partner to work with and thus both started Vajra Foundation. Over last 25 years of getting to know each other they have achieved a lot and travelled far.
To their credit is the World’s largest Solar Cooking Project for a Bhutaneese Refugee camp in Nepal where they have supplied and installed about 7000 Solar Cookers ( SK 14) and it has touched life of 85,000 Bhutanese refugees. The Vajra Foundation (Stichting Vajra) has worked tirelessly in the Bhutanese refugee camps in Nepal since 1995 to bring solar cooking and heat-retention cooking to the refugees there. By 2013 some 85,000 refugees were cooking their meals using these methods & Solar Cookers !
Moreover they were the First to have a “Green School” in Nepal cooking food for students by using Solar Energy (Scheffler Dishes). This is when they met Shri Deepak Gadhia ( also known as Father of Solar Thermal Concentrator Technologies in India ) and that’s how their working relationship started, which has over years evolved to friendship.
And if that is not enough, now MSA Renewtech Foundation the section 25 company of Muni Seva Ashram (The Green Ashram) is helping them with their New project Vajra Eco-resort coming up in Tatopani near border of China on the tourist route of pilgrims going to Mansarover ! MSA Renewtech Foundation is total turn-key Solution Provider for the project and the Eco – Resort with have a 45 sqr mtr Parabolic dish for cooking, Solar Hot Water Systems, Biogas Plant, Solar PV System, LED Lighting fixtures in all rooms, LED Street lights, Small Wind-Mills etc. !! The whole resort is designed with passive architecture and built with as much as possible locally available raw materials and thus has green architecture ! The Vajra Foundation Nepal has worked tirelessly to promote an alternative : solar energy & various other Renewable Energy technologies through their various initiatives, hard work & sustainable vision.
Friends, it is people like them & their such inspiring work & great initiatives in the field of sustainability that prove pundits wrong & is a fitting reply to all those who say / criticize all the time that renewable is not feasible !!
It is people like Shri Ramkaji Paudel, Shri Maarten Olthof & Shri Deepak Gadhia who over a period of time and through their inspiring work have proved that ‘Political will only arises from personal momentum & that we need to be leaders to our governments and corporations’ & every time reminds us that ‘We’ve never lacked the means to solve our problems, ….only the Will to do it’ !!
Till we meet next time….Cheers !
Solar Project Consultant