Ghiling Apple Orchard

Supporting community through enterprise

"Social enterprise combines commercial and social goals with the profits of the enterprise reinvested into the community."

 

Summary

Ghiling village is a remote community tucked away on the leeward side of the Himalayas at an altitude of 3570 metres in the Mustang region of Nepal.  In 2000, Maitri Ratna, a Nepalese NGO with a desire to improved education and health in the Mustang region, partnered with Ghiling village to revitalize the community school. 

As the school developed, Maitri Ratna began investigating options that would ensure the long-term sustainability of the school, kindergarten and boarding houses. With eight hectares of unused community land available, Maitri Ratna partnered with Upside to invest in an apple orchard from which the proceeds would support the school.

Development of the Ghiling Apple Orchard began in October 2011.

 

Ghiling Apple Orchard  

The Ghiling Apple Orchard is nestled along the Kaligandaki River and is a 45-minute walk from the town of Ghiling.  Eight hundred, organically grown apple trees have been planted to ensure the long-term sustainability of Shree Jana Jyoti Primary School and boarding houses.  When the apple orchard is profitable, the income will support the school which serves children from Ghilingand the wider Mustang region. Currently 86 students are attending Pre-Kindergarten to Year 7 at the school and 58 children live in the boarding houses. School attendance is 98% and the students’ academic performance has been exceptional in Nepal National exams.

 

Aims

  • Provide funds for the school to be self-sustaining and no longer reliant on international funding
  • Reignite the local economy - The transport of large volumes of apples every year will create opportunity for trade throughout the remote Mustang region
  • Provide an example of enterprise in the region

 

Timeline

·       April 2010 - Upside's first collaboration with Maitri Ratna - construction of the boarding house and teachers' quarters   begins at Shree Jana Jyoti Prmary School in  Ghiling village.

·       September 2011 - The boarding house is completed and opened.

·       October 2011 - Maitri Ratna and Upside work in partnership to sustain the school through enterprise.

·       April 2012 - The construction of the Ghiling apple orchard begins.

·       October 2012 - Workers' quarters at the apple orchard completed.

·       December 2012- Upside raises funds through enterprise - Forage WA Cookbook is launched with 3,000 copies sold.

·       December 2012 - A 2500 metre long, 2 metres high fence was constructed around the apple orchard to keep the blue sheep from eating the apple trees.

·       February 2013 -  800 apple trees are planted.

·       April2014 - 1st year anniversary -  800 apple trees budding in springtime.

·       April 2015 - 1st apples on the trees.

·       June 2015 - Drip irrigation successfully installed to water the apple trees.

·       November 2015 - Upside to launch Forage Victoria Cookbook - A social enterprise in Australia supporting social enterprise in Nepal.

 

Financials

Completed:

·       Orchard construction $66,150

·       Orchard workers' accommodation $33,136

·       Orchard perimeter fence $40,000

 

What we've learned

·       Committed local entrepreneurs with a vision for community growth are key in developing successful local enterprise that supports community social services.

·       Perseverance and teamwork are mandatory to growing a successful orchard.

·       Success encourages community.  

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