This wonderful news comes to us from India.
RakeshKhatri is an enterprising 57-year-old. He has managed to save the lives of lakhs of sparrows in a time where conservationists are rare to find. Spending time with sparrows was an intrinsic part of his childhood.
He says “When I was growing up sparrows would make their nests on switchboards, balconies and window panes but now we have covered all our homes with doors and windows. It is sad how we have robbed them of their houses to build our own.”
In order to ensure that the sparrows do not die out, Rakesh, a media professional, quit his job in 2008 and started working towards sparrow conservation in his hometown Delhi. He does so by building artificial nests and so far has constructed one lakh nests. Besides this he purchases 8-10 kilos of grains in order to feed the birds around the city.
Four years later, Rakesh registered his NGO Eco Roots Foundation (ERF) with his wife Monica Kapoor and son Animesh. They try to create awareness amongst the younger generations through workshops on making nests for sparrows.
Rakesh has conducted more than 2.5 lakh workshops in schools, corporates, as well as residential welfare associations. The workshop is 3 hours long and the proceeds from the workshops go towards building even more nests.
Rakesh says “Modern houses are built in a way that leaves no room for sparrows. We have become intolerant towards the supposed ‘nuisance’ that birds create. Earlier Indian households would dry the grain and pulses on the roof and that would attract sparrows. But now we get everything in packets and this is also responsible for their disappearance. “
Rakesh also mentions facts about how sparrows are relevant in our ecosystem. “They prey on insects and prevent plants from being infested, they are a part of the food chain for other birds and utilize waste items like cotton, paper, fallen leaves, and twigs in order to make their nests. Having sparrows around your house is a sign of a healthy biome.”
For his out of the box measures and dedication towards saving sparrows, Rakesh has received many accolades and recognition like the International Green Apple Award in the House of Commons in London in 2008. He even made it to the Limca book of records in 2019 for conducting maximum workshops of handmade nests.
As Rakesh signs off, he says “There have been times when people have destroyed the nests built by my foundation. But that has not stopped me. If they destroy one, I will build another five!”
Image source: Eco Roots Foundation