Kanda is remote, in the district of Bageshwar, in the Kumaoni hill range of Uttaranchal, a hilly province of northern India. It is a dispersed settlement cluster of about 30 villages, home to over 20,000 people and is some 86 kilometers from well-known Almora. Bowl-shaped Kanda valley settlements have an approximate elevation of 1400 meters to 1800 meters. The people of the area are mainly involved in agricultural farming, forestry, horticulture, tea gardening, handicraft, jewelry, and lately, mining. Soldiering is also in the Kanda blood. Many of its villagers are in the armed forces or live as retirees in Kanda, surviving on the money-order economy.
KSS is centered within the Kanda area at a distance of about 500km from Delhi and nearby to Nepal. You will find your hosts, the Verma family, based in the small village of Sonargaon, ten minutes walk from Kanda market.
Amidst the terraced lands, the Kumaoni people are nestled at the foot of the astounding Himalayan range, the snow capped peaks of which stand out from behind the rich forested slopes on any sunny day. The small villages of Kanda have pure air and a healthy environment offered by the mountain scenery. The landscape is visually appealing as its terraced farming and numerous wild flowers present pleasing shades of color to the eyes. The hills around Kanda offer an unrivaled tranquility.
The Kanda area is distinct for its rich biodiversity of flora and fauna, as well as its pristine scenic beauty. It is a paradise for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. The whole Kumaoni area is full of medicinal plants, spices and herbs, many of which grow naturally around agricultural fields and are cultivated by the local farmers.
The people of Kanda are poor. Over 50% of villagers live below the poverty line, lacking even the basics of life such as health and sanitation facilities and adequate shelter. Land holdings are small, as they have been divided among sons for several generations. Cow, buffalo, goat, and ox rearing is very popular for meat, milk, compost, and the plowing of fields. People are religious in nature and women do a lot of work in the home as well as in the fields. Dependence on natural resources is high and thus resource management is necessary for a balanced and sustainable way of life. Making local people economically strong is one of the ways of reducing their unrestricted dependence on the natural resources, and thus conserving the riches with which nature has endowed them.