Story of Aviram Rozin – Founder of Sadhana Forest
Along with many tourists, he too wanted to explore and experience India’s rich culture and diversity in every way. Coming from a brown (concrete) jungle in Israel, he wanted to get lost for a while in the green forests of India. His corporate life had started taking its toll, and before it could land him in lifelong ailments, he wanted to explore and make a drift in his life. As he moved from the lush greens of Kerala, up north, he saw the green cover rapidly depleting, until he reached the concrete jungle of Chennai. Pained by this sudden ecological change within a short distance, he decided to do something about it. A chance discussion over this with a friend’s family in Chennai, led him to Auroville, where he found many like him, pursuing their own passions. 3 years later packing their bags from Israel, Aviram, his wife Yorit and daughter Osher relocated to India.
Investing a major part of their savings, all they could buy was a 70 acre barren land at Auroville. Facing the challenge of survival, the trio set to seed the land with locally collected seeds of all edible plants. While the local community helped them build a hut for themselves, Aviram scanned the neighbourhood for plants and trees going extinct, and got their seeds and saplings. Over 13 years of extensive work with the community, planting trees for a sustainable living, he built ‘SADHANA FOREST’ representing their disciplined and dedicated benevolent service.
Aviram believes that nature thrives on a Barter system, where if you do something for nature, nature gives back something equivalent to you in return. Talking about his initial tough days he says that although there was resistance and fear in the community, it was short-lived and the passion for making his dream come true, outlived all their obstacles and hardships. He recounts his best moment as the day, he was awarded in Denmark for his work in India, by the Indian Ambassador of Denmark. Standing in front of the Indian National Flag and receiving the award, gave him a sense of belongingness to India.
To leave his country and come to India, to venture into something completely new,Aviram Rozin was never apprehensive about the new mission in his life. He believed that if he did it right, the forest would give food security to many people, and also help the planet regain its green cover. Aviram’s wife Yorit and their daughters Osher and Shalev are also equally committed to the project and the mission. Aviram counts his achievements over his failures, his good days over his struggle, and his passion for humanity over the hardships.
‘Sadhana Forest’ is now a bustling eco-friendly settlement with thatched houses, wind powered pump, solar powered LED lighting, compost toilets, a vegan kitchen, energy efficient stoves, multiple methods of water harvesting and around 18000 indigenous trees. It attracts 1000 plus volunteers every year. They live, work, cook, eat, sing and dance together. No one pays and no one gets paid either. Many have left their corporate careers to immerse themselves completely in Sadhana Forest. Apart from India, Aviramhas expanded his mission to two other places, Haiti and Kenya where he has established indigenous forestry as Project Sadhana Forest. He soon hopes to expand this project in Morocco as well.
From believing in his dreams, and having the strength to make them true, Aviram Rozin and his team at Sadhana Forest, are true Optimist Citizens in every sense, and deserve all the accolades.
The article is originally published here