Sainji is a village of around 400 people located in the foothills of the Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Most of the villagers live by growing rice, wheat, maize and vegetables on steeply terraced hillsides.
The local language, Jaunpuri, which is a dialect of Garhwali, is unique to the 250 or so villages located in this first fold of the Himalayas, although many people, especially the younger generation, also speak Hindi.
Sainji displays many of the complex challenges and opportunities which characterise sustainable development and these are compounded by the challenges associated with a rapidly changing climate.
Sainji provides a real-life example of how international development strategies, notably the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), play out at a local level. The opportunities for sustainable development in Sainji and its neighbouring villages are, in many ways influenced by its school, the Garhwal English Medium School (G.E.M.S) and the dedicated work of Kunwar Singh Chauhan and his wife Lori McFayden.