Aaranyak, in Sanskrit, means ‘to belong to the forest.’ Doing justice to its very meaningful name, since its inception in 1989, Aaranyak has been tirelessly working to conserve the rich biodiversity of Northeast India.
Having completed 27 years, Aaranyak has been able to work in the field of biodiversity research and conservation not only in India but also globally, carving a niche for itself in this area. Aaranyak has a lineup of enthusiastic staff comprising of wildlife and environmental scientists, researchers, community workers, educators and environmental legal specialists and last but not the least staff from public relation, administration and finance background to support office management.
It is imperative to see that Aaranyak has women engagement in all areas of work, whether it be research, conservation, education, public relations or day to day office management. Aaranyak as such has set up a good example of women empowerment within the organization. Having provided a good platform for women engagement towards the conservation of biodiversity, Aaranyak’s women power is already brining national and international accolades to the organization and to the region.
Interestingly, at a time when it was rare to come across women who chose to make their career in this field, Aaranyak’s Purnima Devi Barman, better known as Hargrila Baideo or the Stork Sister among communities and global conservation colleagues, was hired at Aaranyak as the first employee. Purnima is a pioneer in the conservation of the highly endangered Greater Adjutant Storks (Leptoptilos dubius). As a result of Purnima’s efforts in its nesting villages like Dadara, Pasaria and Singimari, the same community that had once regarded the species as inauspicious and untouchables, is now actively engaged in its conservation.
A dedicated conservationist in the field, Purnima is a doting mother to her twin daughters and a super supportive wife to her conservationist husband at home.
Alolika Sinha, fascinated since childhood with the lush greenery and curious colorful creatures in her small hometown of western Assam, her stride in wildlife research began with a small project to study water birds in a local wetland- Dheer beel. Her conservation efforts spanning in central Assam, she is presently studying the endangered species, Hog deer (Axis porcinus) in Manas National Park.
Over the years she has worked in various projects in Aaranyak in different landscapes. She also actively worked for mitigating Human-elephant conflict in western and central Assam. She loves writing and enjoys reading and travelling when not working.
Rumana Maheen, a researcher on population genetics and forensics with the Wildlife Genetics Division of Aaranyak. Her journey with Aaranyak that began during her Master’s dissertation has continued; and today Rumana is the newest woman researcher to have joined the Aaranyak workforce. She has also keen interest in Lepidoptera and curious about all things related be it at the macro level or molecular level.
Having Master of Arts in Sociology, Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Bachelor of Arts in Education, Madhumita Borthakur joined Aaranyak back in the year 2008. From then she was in different responsibilities starts from administrative roles to direct and indirect conservation activities. Now she is working as a GIS analysts with the Geo-spatial Technology Application Division of Aaranyak. Similarly Kongseng Konwar, working as a database officer of Aaranyak since December 2014, has contributed towards the improvement and implementation of new ideas into Administrative activities of Aaranyak. Currently she is working for the Geospatial Technology Application Division (GTAD) of Aaranyak as GIS analysts.
A young geographer, budding newspaper columnist and a creative writer, Juri Baruah contributes thorough her skills in the Water, Climate and Hazard Division of Aaranyak. Her research interests include geography of gender, political space and the challenging spaces caused by disaster and climate change.
Binita Baruwati is a full-time conservationist dedicating her days and nights to conserve tigers and habitats in the Manas expanse. Earlier she worked as Researcher for an occupancy survey of Fishing Cat on Floodplains of Brahmaputra valley. Her rich experience of conservation also includes working with the protection forces to ensure survival of the national animal of India.
After completing master degree in Mass communication & Journalism from Tezpur University Munmita Boruah, had joined Aaranyak in 2016 as the Public Relations and Communications Officer of the organization. From maintaining different publicity orientated work, publishing of in-house journals, along with Annual report of the organization she is engaged with maintaining relationship with different media houses.
While researches, scientists and other staff wander in their sites at length, Binita Subba and Bijoyinee Sarma is engaged in management of accounts and administration at the office, paying eye to the smallest of data and details, thereby ensuring smooth functioning of the entire organization.
Bobby Nath the Administrative Officer of the organisation is bestowed with the challenging responsibility of managing Aaranyak office. She had join Aaranyak in 2017.
It is time women change the fact, it is time the society encourage more mother, wives, daughter and sisters to follow their passion and become awesome professionals in every field of work. We celebrate the wonderful women engaged in Aaranyak and take pride in setting an example of women empowerment in the society.
By- Munmita Boruah