Named after a tree that blankets the Aravalli Mountains in Rajasthan, India, the Dhonk handcraft cooperative provides economic opportunities to local villagers who formerly resorted to poaching tigers from Ranthambore National Park. Dhonk teaches both handcraft skills and conservation awareness—empowering villagers to benefit not from killing tigers, but from selling their wares to the people who travel here to see them.
Since 2014, Grand Circle Foundation has supported this organization, providing electric sewing and embroidery machines, a power inverter with battery backup, water tanks, computers, and more. At the end of the year, we were delighted to receive this note from Divya, a representative from Dhonk—who wishes to thank not only Grand Circle Foundation, but all of the generous O.A.T. travelers whose donations make our work possible.
As we start a new year, I would like to thank everyone for making our 2016 possible. O.AT. has been the backbone and strength for the Dhonk community initiative since its humble beginning. We haven’t forgotten the small garage, and we haven’t forgotten the day we used to struggle over whether we could run for another week or not—but your support and that of your travelers has changed a lot of things at Dhonk.
Our women have become more prosperous, more independent, and more confident. They have an understanding about why environmental preservation is important for all, and how the tiger is the reason for their own small prosperity today. I thank you for making this dream possible. I have seen some bad days, but today, looking at the energy and happiness around at Dhonk, I feel that it is my responsibility to thank you for instilling the faith in me.
Hoping for a beautiful year for every one of us! Happy 2017!
Divya, on behalf of the Dhonk team
Perhaps you’ll have the opportunity to visit Dhonk during A Day in the Life of a Ranthambore community on O.A.T.’s Heart of India adventure.