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Hailing from the Korku community, Ramlal’s and Vasant’s goal is to foster human-wildlife relationships by restoring commons near their villages through the community forest rights near Melghat Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra. Working closely with the Gram Sabhas, they hope to find solutions that will enable their community to be self-reliant and conserve jal, jangal, jameen and janvaar, and ensure that the coming generations will remain sensitive towards the forest. 

 

Ramlal's interest in community work began during his 12th-grade years. Having migrated from his village to pursue education in the city, Ramlal's interactions with NGOs opened his eyes to the challenges faced by communities, mirroring those of his village. The change in the forest cover upon his return to the village prompted Ramlal to collaborate with like-minded friends to initiate forest restoration efforts. 

Vasant has a background in working on community livelihoods. Vasant's interest in conservation arose from discussions with community members regarding issues faced by the community. The interaction between humans, forests, and animals he witnessed while working with the community inspired him to learn more about it.

  Vasant Dhaju Bethekar  & Ramlal Punaji Kale 

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