As strong advocates of the importance of using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, we can sometimes forget just how lucky we are to be able to afford and easily lay our hands on a whole range of quality foods, a way of life that we often take for granted.
From plump, juicy mangoes to zesty lemons and limes or a few jewel-toned pomegranate seeds scattered decadently across our latest dishes, many Namaste recipes are greatly heightened by the incredible range of colours, textures, flavours and fragrances, not to mention the incredible health benefits, offered by fruit alone. But rather than simply being spoiled by nature’s incredible creations, perhaps now is the time to share our abundance with those who have endured a life less fortunate.
Is poverty still an issue in India?
With a population of 1.4 billion and an ever-growing economy, India is a land of extremes. Designer clothes, fast cars and high-end restaurants are now every bit a part of Indian life as London or New York, yet for the 230 million living in poverty, enjoying even the most basic of foods is still a daily struggle.
What is Salt of the Earth?
Salt of the Earth (SOTE) is a non-profit, volunteer-led charitable organisation based in Leicester that funds rural development projects, including fruit tree planting and child or adult sponsorship, in the poorest regions of South India.
The charity employs just one part-time freelancer to take care of administration and marketing, with every other individual working within or alongside the charity, including its CEO, doing so voluntarily.
In the words of its CEO and Founding Trustee, Murray Frankland,
“Our vision is a world where rural communities have access to opportunity, dignity, equality and sustainable livelihoods.”
How much money has SOTE raised?
SOTE has worked with communities in South India for over 30 years and through the help of fundraisers and dedicated supporters, while working with three partner Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), SOTE implement projects that best meet the specific needs of individual communities, in turn raising over £5 Million for projects in Tamil Nadu.
Which members of the community are most in need?
Most of the people supported by SOTE are ‘low caste’ with many of them labelled ‘Dalits’, or ‘Untouchables’. The Dalit population lie below the poverty line and are often ‘un-seen’ and therefor unsupported by the government. They live in hard to reach villages and have little access to work, food, water or basic services. SOTE aims to help these communities irrespective of their religious beliefs.
What types of projects does SOTE support?
Salt of the Earth funds Water, Education, Health, Women’s Empowerment, Environmental, Education and Livelihood projects throughout the region.
Is SOTE’s help provided long-term?
The ventures supported by SOTE are designed with self-sufficiency and sustainability in mind, as providing those in need with the right tools and the confidence to move forward allows them to support themselves, which in turn allows the charity to help more and more people.
How many people has SOTE managed to help?
Since 1988, Salt of the Earth has funded projects for some of South India’s poorest communities and have so far impacted close to 500,000 people living in poverty.
Why has Namaste partnered with SOTE?
With our origins in India, our ancestors have known poverty and deprivation, yet it is from them that we have learned to be steadfast yet open to change, proud yet humble. Our history is something we cannot change and so, rather than looking back, we are talking this incredible opportunity to look forward.
As one of our carefully chosen charity partners, SOTE will allow us to invest in Indian communities that are far less fortunate than us. Funding the planting of 100 fruit trees in some of the most socially deprived areas will provide ongoing nourishment and hopefully a sense of joy to those who have learned to expect very little from life. Every tree planted and every fruit borne will mark our ongoing commitment to these communities.
Salt of the Earth gives us the perfect opportunity to put something back into the land that has nourished and fed our ancestors for generations and to allow those in need to benefit from the wonderful life we have managed to carve out for ourselves in Scotland.
We may be thousands of miles from our spiritual home, but through language, culture and food, our ties have never severed and are in fact often strengthened by giving something back to the land that originally gave us life.
Why have fruit trees been chosen?
The ability to pick fresh mangoes or citrus fruits straight from the tree, and still warm from the sun, can’t fail to bring a smile to the most tested of faces, each fruit a self-contained miracle, bringing as much sustenance as flavour to young and old alike.
What are the main benefits of eating fruit?
Rich in calcium, magnesium, essential vitamins and fibre, fruit is a vital part of a healthy diet and the ability to consume a wide range of these foods is key. Fruit can boost the immune system, improving our resistance to germs and diseases, can help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke, lower the risk of eye and digestive problems and can even prevent some types of cancer.
What is National Tree Day?
National Tree Day is celebrated on Sunday the 30th of July. This day provides a focal point for communities around the world to give something back to those in need. Planting trees illustrates the continuous circle of life and how we can always rely on nature to help us flourish.
Why is National Tree Day significant?
National Tree Day marks the start of what we hope to be an ever-growing and continuously strengthening partnership. As fork breaks ground, we believe this coming together will continue to bear fruit in every sense of the word. Communities will become healthier and, in turn, will feel stronger in their own ability.
In conclusion –
The English expression ‘To give is to receive’ is extremely similarly to the Indian expression ‘Those who give have all things; those who withhold have nothing.’ The good feeling that comes from helping others transcends culture or religious beliefs, in fact these phrases illustrate that no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, the desire to help others is simply part of nature.
To find out more about Salt of the Earth or National Tree Day visit www.sote.org.uk