Several times, in the course of my travels, I come across people whose stories should be told. In Kendrapara district, in Odisha, I met with inspiring individuals whose worlds are so far removed from mine, I struggled to relate to their lives. Immigrants, often from Bangladesh or West Bengal, they live a life of hardship. Ofttimes language is a barrier, and as such, some of the captions may be figments of my imagination compensating for the lack of understanding (for which I apologize). Working together with local partners, IUCN is providing livelihood options to increase financial resilience, as well as increase food security and education opportunities for communities.
This little chap is the son of Rani. He was born in Rajnagar, Odisha, and will likely never know the village where his parents grew up, met and married, before migrating from Bangladesh © Nisha DSouza
Pankaj, a leader of his community, was once a fisherman. The ban on fishing around the Bhitarkanika National Park has deprived many artisanal fishermen of their livelihoods. However, there is a clause in the Indian Forest Rights Act that makes special provision for local communities, enabling them to access natural resources within protected areas; several are unaware of this © Nisha DSouza
This tiny human was extremely shy, and I never caught her name. She did however offer me a wrapped piece of chocolate, evidently just for safekeeping as she returned ten minutes later to claim it back © Nisha DSouza
The humans of Kendrapara district in Odisha, which is gradually receiving attention for it’s steady increase in climate refugees, are divided in origin. The majority have migrated from neighboring West Bengal and Bangladesh, fleeing persecution, and a lack of opportunities. Landless, and living below the poverty line, many struggle to build a better existence for their offspring © Nisha DSouza
Dilip and his sister returned from school to find us digging our paws into the workings of the socio-ecological systems of their community. Curiosity persuaded them to follow us around all morning. They eventually bid us adieu with a rendition of the ABC song © Nisha DSouza