From Norway with love: Drammen-based good Samaritan extends help to pandemic-hit Indian villagers

Bija OrganizationPhoto: Bija Organization CEO Trond Thorrud with Indian villagers / Bija Organization
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A non-profit has been reaching out to the rural population in southern India and offering help through various means. Norway Today speaks to its CEO.

He has been to India 10 times since his first trip in 2013. During the tenth visit in February 2020, he probably never imagined that returning to his favorite Tamil Nadu village in southern India would be a distant dream.

But neither the ongoing pandemic nor the concurrent travel ban has stopped him from serving the people in India. Meet 45-year-old Trond Thorrud, a Drammen-based individual, who has extended help to the pandemic-hit people in Tamil Nadu villages through his Bija Organization.

“We are buying masks, sanitizers, soaps, and other such items and distributing them among villagers, especially schoolchildren. We are spreading awareness on personal hygiene and social distancing to help the rural population fight the pandemic,” Bija Organization’s CEO said.

Thorrud left his 12-year career in finance and sales in Norway and decided to shift to humanitarian work involving faraway nations.

Rural development through sustainable solutions

Bija Organization started operating in India in 2015 with the goal of fighting poverty through sustainable development and addressing issues related to climate change.

“We help people by imparting knowledge on using simple technologies to grow their own nutritious food, creating jobs, and making them financially independent through various projects. We have already worked with over 40 families in rural Tamil Nadu,” Thorrud added.

The organization, with its six-member team, has already worked in various Indian states like Maharashtra and Bihar. While its project manager Lalitha Esakki takes care of all the groundworks in India, Thorrud, along with a group of young volunteers, works on the non-profit’s strategy, sponsorships, funding, and the like.

Corona challenges

“We pay for services from various quarters, gather funds on our own, and also seek donations from Norway and the rest of the world for our projects. But the pandemic has affected our work a lot. For example, we had set a target of finishing our commercial greenhouse project this year but it the project will be delayed. Therefore, we are re-evaluating our strategy to reach our goal,” he said.

The organization also supports women’s empowerment and plans to extend its activities in the sector.

It’s been almost over a month now that India is reeling under the relentless second wave of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Help from across the world has been extended to the world’s second-most populous nation, which is facing the coronavirus pandemic with tattered healthcare infrastructure and severe lack of oxygen, ventilators, and ICU beds.

Source: #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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