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Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development (ITRHD)
Just as the universe is contained in the self, so is India contained in the villages
- Mahatma Gandhi

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Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development is an independent initiative, focusing on conserving and sustaining India’s unique rural heritage.

Memorandum of Associaiton

Based on the rapid growth of interest in rural heritage worldwide, on the vast trove of rural tradition and heritage that is still (although often precariously) alive in India, and on the immense potential for linking preservation of this heritage with sustainable economic development, the ITRHD has been set up as an independent initiative, focusing on conserving and sustaining India's unique rural heritage.

RHD's focus will be to assist rural communities in the conservation, sustainability and management of their cultural assets. The primary objective of the Trust would be the enhancement of rural economy and livelihood, through the conservation of precious heritage assets that might otherwise be lost to future generations.

Operational objectives:

  • Identify those areas of tradition and heritage in rural and tribal India whose value in historical, cultural, spiritual or economic terms is intrinsic to the identity of the residents of those areas and whose preservation and conservation can play a substantial role in enhancing the quality of life.
  • Identify and document the built, natural, living and intangible heritage assets throughout rural and tribal India, including those represented in urban areas, in a systematic manner, and to maintain a permanent record of all such documentation.
  • Take steps for the preservation and conservation of heritage assets in rural areas, and of those assets in non-rural areas that represent linkage with rural origins, in full cooperation with local communities and stakeholders.
  • Undertake programs of revival and enhancement of rural heritage assets in such a way as to foster local economic development, provide improvement in civic and other infrastructure, encourage improvements in education, healthcare and gender equality, and in general to promote the betterment of the lives of the residents of the concerned communities.
  • Create and stimulate awareness amongst the general public of the richness, variety and importance of India's rural heritage, and of the importance of preserving and nurturing the built, natural, and intangible heritage of rural areas.
  • Design, facilitate and enable implementation of programs and initiatives for the enhancement of the rural economy and livelihoods, benefiting in particular the health and social well-being of rural women and children.
  • Adopt, promote and facilitate the use of all current IT communications systems and technologies, to enable cost-effective and environmentally responsive means of communication for program management, outreach engagement and facilitation of rural communities and other potential participants in all Trust programs. This is especially important in view of the dispersed nature of the participating communities.
  • Take steps for the protection of endangered heritage buildings, monuments, sites, natural resources, and living traditions of rural and tribal India.
  • Work in close coordination with NGOs, national and international organisations, and local, regional and national government bodies on all of the above areas.
  • Work in close coordination with the tourism industry in relation to the development and enhancement of rural heritage tourism and its impact on the local community.
  • Ensure the registration / protection of intellectual property rights of traditional knowledge systems in rural and tribal India.
  • Provide advisory, intellectual, financial and technical assistance towards preservation of heritage resources and assets in rural and tribal areas and development of such assets to enhance the well being of the concerned communities.
  • Create a forum for the exchange of ideas and achievement of objectives and to conduct continued research in furtherance of the objectives of the Society.
  • Establish branches/chapters in rural areas throughout the country.
  • Set up and maintain libraries, documentation centres, and similar information dissemination services.
  • Undertake publication of required journals, newsletters, books and other materials in furtherance of the objectives of the Society.
  • Maintain provisions for administration of the funds of the Society and use the same for attainment of the above objectives.
  • Undertake any other item for the attainment or fulfillment of the aforesaid objects of the Society.

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