Permafund Patron Rowe Morrow and Amir Hossain, Coxs Bazar Bangladesh 2019
When Amir Hossain joined a Permaculture Design Course (PDC) on the edge of the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazaar some people were surprised. One of the facilitators, Rowe Morrow was not. Amir had not been invited to the PDC but had heard about it and turned up just as it started and sat on the side. He was of course invited to participate.
Jed Walker, from PA’s Permafund Committee talks with Rowe Morrow, Permafund Patron, about supporting the communities in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
“People like Amir just seem to find permaculture” Rowe says, speaking from her home in Katoomba. “He was so keen and he really got it. Near the end of the course, he came and asked for his personal presentation, not of his home or camp, but the primary school where he teaches. He was glowing with enthusiasm because the application of permaculture principles to that land shouted to him. So he came to our hostel and presented to us one evening and then pleaded with us to come and visit the school where he had already started to implement some work around toilets and grey water. We were able to visit the school and assisted with planting the first trees. Amir had the local Imam and mosque community enthusiastic as well.” say Rowe Morrow.
Amir Hossain, Coxs Bazar Bangladesh 2019
When visiting the site he designed for his primary school, Amir’s expression betrays how crucial it is that this plan becomes a reality. The site, a tiny school, several kilometres from the PDC course he attended, had few plantings and no reliable water source even in the Bangladeshi monsoonal climate. The only water pumped from a nearby river was a slurry from the sand mining operations that constantly erode the surrounding rivers and rice paddies, The landscape itself is already denuded of native forest due the encroachment of the huge refugee camp with its human needs for cooking food, shelter and keeping warm.
Permafund provided a micro-grant of $500 and BASD facilitated the transfer to the village for the new tank. The CEO of BASD, Mr Boniface Gomes, tells us that the water tank is now installed at the primary school site, which is crucial to providing safe water with the upcoming monsoon season and current COVID-19 pandemic.
Cox’s Bazar camp, Bangladesh 2019. Photo credit: Kym Blechynden.
As of June 2020, there are 1772 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Coxs Bazar district (and 40 in the camps), and multiple fatalities reported. With nearly one million people living within a few square kilometres in temporary shelters, the camp is vulnerable to a swiftly spreading outbreak and the imminent monsoon season. The Permafund team hopes that the presence of the water tank and associated permaculture training will assist the communities to respond during this time.
The course Amir attended was one of a series of eight held in Greece, Iraq, Turkey, Bangladesh, and Malaysia for refugees and led by Rowe during 2019/20. Five of these courses were funded by Quaker Services in Australia. One member of the Permafund team, Jed Walker, and Rowe Morrow, Permafund Patron, were part of the teaching team.
PA’s Permafund has provided small grants to dozens of permaculture community projects in Australia and internationally since 2012. Donations over $2 are tax deductable (in Australia) and can be set up as one off or recurring donations. Donors can choose to be acknowledged via the Permafund website and online presence (reach over 50,000 plus website hits) or stay anonymous. To find out more, including how to donate, please click here. Thank you in advance for your support to PA’s Permafund.
In 2018 the Integrated Rural Development Society (IRDS) of the Salem District, Tamil Nadu successfully applied for a Permfund micro grant to conduct training workshops for 50 tribal farmers from the Mannur, Alamarathukadu, and Poomarathupatti villages in the Kalrayan Hills.
Farmers with an interest in permaculture and new agriculture methods were identified with the help of farmer leaders before being introduced to the project’s goals and main activities.
Seed varieties shared during workshop
A series of workshops were conducted covering permaculture and organic agriculture methods to maximise return from the same land in multiple ways, the control of weeds by intercropping, making liquid fertiliser to increase micro-organisms in the soil and water harvesting to improve soil moisture.
Liquid fertiliser demonstration
Seeds and seedlings were distributed to increase the diversity of vegetable and indigenous grain crops being cultivated. The project has helped the farmers lessen their reliance on outside inputs and improve their harvests for better food security.
Intercropping increasing yields
On behalf of the tribal farmers, the IRDS team has expressed their sincere thanks to Permaculture Australia and Permafund for the partnership, cooperation and support that’s enabled the organisation to implement this important project in their community.
The activities of the Integrated Rural Development Society include raising awareness of the importance of protective, preventive health practices including providing clean drinking water and good sanitation. Other major issues addressed by the organisation are the empowerment of women, environmental protection, HIV and AIDS awareness and health development through alternate medical practices such as naturopathy and yoga practices.
Permaculture Australia’s Permafund is very grateful for your thoughtful, kind and generous donations over the past days, weeks, months and years.
We are pleased to announce that the focus of Permafund’s 2020 grant round will be on the recovery from extreme weather events, including bushfires, plus designing for disaster in preparedness for the future. The recent crises here in Australia and internationally demand a response and a donation to Permafund is a meaningful way to contribute.
Permafund Chair, John Champagne of Bega Valley explains, “Permafund has been active over the past eight years assisting small NGO’s around the world with their permaculture initiatives. It’s important now to focus on the crisis we’ve experienced from extreme weather events and assist local permaculture groups effectively assist their communities in this time of need.”
Echidna hunting for water during the bushfires
The total of the donations made to Permafund at present is just short of the amount that triggers a micro grant round.
The Permafund team is calling for donations to help boost this total as high as possible before the 2020 grant round is opened for applications.
In 2018 Permafund supported the Foundation for Research and Sustainable Development (FRSD) with micro grant funding for their project in Tamil Nadu, India to teach marginalised farmers how to produce biochar as a low cost solution for the remediation of degraded soils.
The team from Permaculture Australia’s Permaculture International Public Fund (well known as Permafund), is extremely grateful for the generous donations from individuals, key supporters and fundraisers that have enabled the 2018 round of micro-grants.
With donations of AU$13,000 to distribute, Permafund received applications from projects in India, Kenya, Nepal and Australia.
From 16 applications the Permafund assessment team has selected six organisations who have each received an AU$2,000 micro-grant as seed funding for their various projects. IRDS (Integrated Rural Development), Salem District, Tamil Nadu, India.
Enabling 50 tribal farmers in 3 villages to cultivate indigenous millets, and vegetables through intercrops using permaculture and indigenous farm practices so that the soil fertility and soil moisture will be improved and micro-organisms increased. Kiini Sustainable Initiative Kenya
Establishment and management of a Permaculture integrated land use design model in the Nyeri farm school. Education about greywater recycling, water harvesting and composting will be included. Nepal Permaculture Group, Kathmandu
Rooftop gardening systems and 10 permaculture farms will be developed with three major aims: food production, research and demonstration using ecological technologies related to permaculture and climate resilient farming practices. OTEPIC Kenya Educating children about permaculture gardening at Tabasamu Orphanage Children’s home and Biddi primary school. The grant will support the purchase of teaching materials, gardening tools and equipment, seeds and fencing. Permaculture for Sustainable Communities – Kenya
The project will focus on establishing permaculture as a fully-fledged occupation in the Kakuma Refugee Camp, Turkana County in the north-western region of Kenya, by providing essential materials to all supported households to fully implement permaculture to produce food, work and income. (WORD) Women’s Organisation for Development, Tamil Nadu
Promotion of Indigenous millets cultivation through the creation of seeds banks for 15 villages and involving 75 farmers.
A micro-grant of AU $1,000 was approved to assist Ethos Foundation raise funds to support women and children in East Africa to establish permaculture garden systems under the guidance of touring permaculture educator Morag Gamble and family.
Each organisation will provide Permafund with project updates, photos and a completion report to share with donors, key supporters, Permaculture Australia members and the community.
What is Permafund?
Permaculture Australia’s Permaculture International Public Fund (i.e Permafund) is a unique, beneficial mechanism with huge potential for doing good in the worldwide permaculture community though the distribution of funds donated by the Permafund community and its supporters.
It is an organisation with Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status in Australia so is entitled to receive tax deductible gifts. You can only claim a tax deduction for donations or gifts to organisations that have a DGR status. Tax deductions for donations or tithes are claimed by the donor person, or business, that makes the gift. Donations of $2.00 or more are tax deductible and are shared with grateful grant recipients who put the funds to work in a wide variety of creative and effective projects.
For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.