Jeevan Rekha Parishad (JRP) - our partner based in Odisha State on the north-east coast of India, with support from the UK Dept. for International Development – has been working for the last two years with 300 Tribal women in ten villages to produce honey.  

Traditionally these women and their menfolk collected honey from wild forest bees.  They would sell this unfiltered honey in unsterilized plastic bottles by the roadside in the hope of making a few meagre rupees.

Today the women are formed into Self-Help Groups which collect honey from the apis mellifera bee which produces it honey in wooden bee boxes made by village youths.  Together the women pool, filter, package and label the honey ready for sale in their village as well as in the local market and in other retail outlets.

For the first time, women are now able to generate an income, bank a percentage of their profits and use the balance as household income.  As a result, food consumption and family health has improved, many more children attend school and the women have gained confidence and now contribute more to family and village decision-making.

Bee keeper

The 300 women beekeepers also hold an annual Honey Fair – having now formed a Women’s Beekeeping Association – to market their honey and promote its use: it soothes sore throats, coughs and colds; and it is used in the Hindu Pūjā, a prayer ritual performed to host, honour and worship one or more deities, or to spiritually celebrate an event.  It is also used in cooking and as a food.

Since the apis mellifera bee has been introduced into their villages, the women and the local farmers have discovered that the amount and quality of their vegetables and crops like mustard and maize have improved enormously.  These villagers know better than anyone that – without the precious bee in our lives – essential vegetables and food crops would no longer be possible.

We at Jeevika now invite you to help us Celebrate Bees, their golden Honey and the New Year by making yourself a Strawberry Granola Parfait!

 Strawberry Granola Yoghurt Parfait

  • Slice a few strawberries (or banana, mango or other seasonal fruit) and mix with a little orange juice.
  • Take a few tablespoons of low fat yoghurt (or curd, as it is known in India) and mix with two teaspoons of honey (or more if you want it sweeter).
  • Break a few bars of Granola into small chunks.
  • Arrange alternate layers of fruit, yoghurt & honey, and granola chunks in a tall glass.
  • Chill in the refrigerator.  Enjoy!  Celebrate!!


To help JRP continue to enable Tribal women villagers to become self-sufficient beekeepers please go to

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The East India Company: The Original ‘Too Big to Fail’ Corporation

This guest post comes courtesy of Nick Robins, our guest lecturer & author of “The Corporation that changed the world”

For an institution that has been defunct for almost 150 years, the East India Company still evokes powerful reactions across the world. When the Indian government recently debated whether to allow foreign companies to open supermarkets there, protesters shouted: “This is the return of the East India Company!” Back in Britain, the East India Company’s extraordinary rise and fall has uncanny parallels with the stock-market bubbles and government bailouts that have shaken the economy over the past decade.

On the 21st of January, I’ll be giving a fundraising lecture for Jeevika on the East India Company, teasing out its legacy for both business and culture. At the heart of the Company’s story are eternal questions about how to cope with the powers and perils of large multinational corporations. The Company was first and foremost a commercial institution – established with a royal monopoly over all trade with Asia. In its 250-year existence, it made three fortunes, first in Asia’s aromatic spices then in Indian luxurious cottons and silks and finally in China’s exclusive teas.

East India Company










It also became one of the world’s joint stock corporations – its shares were the focus of the London market and its annual general meetings often the scene of ferocious disputes over appointments to the Board of Directors and the level of the dividend. Its acquisition of Bengal’s lucrative tax system in 1765 prompted a financial frenzy – what I call the ‘Bengal Bubble’. When this bubble burst, it contributed to a wider credit crisis in the British economy, forcing the Company to beg the government for a bail-out.

More than this, its extraordinary rise and fall has much to tell us about Britain’s ever-changing relations with Asia. When the Company was founded in 1600, England was a minor kingdom on the edge of a continent overshadowed by the sophistication of Mughal India and imperial China. By the time of its fall in 1858, it had reversed the traditional flow of wealth from west to east, first through conquest in India and then through contraband in the form of opium in China.

In the illustrated lecture, I hope to show that the Company is not some dry as dust corporate relic – but something that inspired the culture of its time, generating a flood of caricatures, poems, plays and political interventions from its contemporaries. And its legacy still echoes to this day. A recent TV advertisement for the Rajnigandha pan masala shows an Indian tycoon stopping outside the East India Company and declaring, ‘They ruled us for 200 years: now it’s our turn!’ I hope you can join me from 7 pm on the 21st at the Royal Geographical Society, South Kensington.

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