How our Local Hero Sukhman Daju Helped Create An Eco-Village in Sandakphu

Our local hero this week is Sukhman Tamang. This unassuming man has been a big part of the Indiahikes family ever since we started running the Sandakphu trek. Through his actions, he has taken various Green Trails projects forward and in doing so, enabled social and environmental welfare of his village.

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Sukhman Daju collecting waste into a garbage sack.

He is famously known as Sukhman Daju amongst trekkers who have been on the Sandakphu trek. He is the third generation of his family who lives in Jaubari, the basecamp of the Sandakphu trek.

It is often hard to believe that Sukhman da is 44 years old. He looks young and is always enthusiastic about new projects that he can take up to save environment.

Having grown up as a pahadi, Sukhman da got interested in trekking. At the age of 22, he became a trek guide, trekking over various peaks in Nepal, West Bengal and Sikkim. Sandakphu still remains his favorite.

Sukhman da has taken people from all over the world to the mountains and shared his wisdom about the wilderness. In the past few years, he has been focusing more on organic farming. He is also known for the social work that he does for the village. He runs a small restaurant in Maneybhanjan which serves delicious momos.

How Sukhman da’s journey started

Sukhman da has been associated with Indiahikes for past 5 years. He is one of the owners of the lodge we stay at, in Jaubhari.

He states that Lakshmi Selvakumaran , our Green Trails Head, inspired him the most with regards to environment conservation and waste management. In fact, Lakshmi started her Green Trails career in Jaubari. Together they have been active in enabling the welfare of the village.

His good work was recognised. Soon, he was chosen by the Bejanbari BDO to be attend a training program regarding “Zero waste” in Sikkim in the year 2016. Ever since then, he has tried to implement it in his village. He has been quite successful in making Jaubari an eco-village by organizing clean ups and distributing dustbins.

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Sukhman bhai at a clean up drive in the village.

Sukhman da has been working to collaborate and grow his knowledge in this field. He is closely associated with organizations like FOSEP (Federation of Societies for Environmental Protection). He is trained in Ecotourism by World wildlife Fund (WWF). Building on that, he undertook an exclusive training in flora of moss in the Eastern Himalayan range.

What has been the impact of Sukhman Da’s work

Sukhman da is very closely related to Green Trails. He encourages Green Trails fellows and interns to set new goals and achieve them. He is instrumental in taking the Green Trails voice forward by getting people on board with our philosophy and initiative. Today, the Green Trails team works with the villagers, regularly organising clean up drives and making dustbins for recyclable and non-recyclable waste.

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Clean up drive at Jaubhari.

Since he is closely associated with government officials like Block Development Officer and District Forest Officer, he helps our team to reach the officials. He played a significant role in implementing the ban on plastic in Bejanbari. He organizes clean ups in and around Jaubari with the help of other villagers.

When we ask him regarding the current condition of our environment he says that when he was young, there used to be snowfall in Jaubari and they used to play the snow. Now, because of climate change there hasn’t been snow in Jaubari for decades! He adds that his ancestors used to live a healthy life up to the age of 90 but this generation of people are dying at a young age because of pollution. He says that this can only be solved by educating our youth and motivate them to live a sustainable life.

When such conscience and sensitivity to environmental conservation is self-motivated, there is hope that it will be sustained. That is why Sukhman daju is our hero.

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Sukhman bhai with our Green Trails team.

Scroll down and send in your wishes for Sukhman Daju in the comments section. We will make sure it reaches him.

Have a green idea in your mind that could help the environment out? Comment below or write to our Green Trails head – Lakshmi at Lakshmi@indiahikes.com.


What you should do now

1. If you want to serve as a Green Trails Intern: Read this article before applying.

1. If you want to work as a Green Trails Fellow: Read this article to know more about it.

2. If you want to work with us: Head over to our careers page. We have lots of positions open. We also have lots of applications coming in. So the sooner you apply, the better.

3. If you ended up here by chance and were actually looking for treks to do: Then head over to our upcoming treks page. You’ll find all our Himalayan treks there.

4. If you want to see the 13 best treks of India: Then get our guide here.

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Shivaprasad Bajakkaremoole

Shivaprasad Bajakkaremoole

Shivaprasad is the Green trails fellow at Jaubhari, basecamp of Sandakphu trek. He Shivaprasad majored in Zoology and Microbiology. After graduating, he worked in the remote villages of Eastern Himalayas with local communities. He is an aficionado of rainforests and father of two dogs. He loves trekking in the Western Ghats. Unlike most people, he doesn't find spiders creepy and loves to study them.

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