At Cattellyst, we believe in the greatness of people and the power of connections. Here in the Sundarbans, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the world's largest remaining mangrove forest, the people have an amazing culture of strength and resilience that traces back thousands of years. Today they face new challenges with rising sea levels driving salinity into the soil and higher temperatures, which combined decimate agriculture harvests, the traditional source of livelihood here. On the island of Kumirmari, there are over 22,000 people, but not a single doctor. It takes upwards of 6 hours to reach a hospital, the mainland, or nearest major market by boat and road. Seeking alternate ways to earn income has driven many to the sea for fishing, shrimp harvesting, or into the forest in search of prized Sundarbans wild honey. That drive has brought great risk, with an average of two deaths each month over the past year by Bengal Tiger attacks, this area being one of the last remaining habitats for the great and endangered species. Under these conditions, a majority of working-age men are leaving their homes and families to find work in the cities, like Kolkata. There, these urban migrants seeking likelihoods for their loved ones in the island communities are at their most vulnerable, often exploited and suffering by those seeking to take advantage of their despair.
Kumirmari is just one of 54 inhabited islands of the Sundarbans, where over 4.5 million incredible people rise each morning. The story here is compelling for anyone able to listen. However, there is also no communication channel for local stories to be made available or effort to capture the special daily life experiences that give voice to this culturally rich community.
Our mission is to connect communities like Kumirmari and those of the Sundarbans to the technologies and services that enable them to thrive. Together, we will establish healthcare access through empowering local women as community health workers, with leading telehealth and telemedicine services. Together, we will enable the community to capture and tell its own stories, hiring and training videographers and correspondents from across the island to source authentic narratives spanning the breadth of daily lived experiences here.
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