Cooperation with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

Project “Save the Environment and Regenerate Vital Employment” (S.E.R.V.E.)

Collaboration with the WWF Darjeeling is located at the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas. It comprises an area of 3.143 square kilometers – 18 percent of which are tea plantations, and 38 percent are covered in forest. Because of its great abundance of plants and animals, the region has also been nicknamed “Land of Orchids,” “Land of Tea,” and “Land of the Red Panda.” Four wildlife sanctuaries (Mahananda, Neora Valley, Senchal, and Singalila), and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway – a famous World Heritage site – attract many tourists.

At the same time, however, the region suffers from a vicious circle of development processes. The impact of tourism, the need for agricultural development, the increased demand for fodder, and the use of chemical fertiliser in agriculture have led to an environmental degradation. Geographical isolation, lack of employment opportunities, and economic backwardness have pushed many people into poverty.

It was against this background that we at Tea Campaign (Teekampagne) developed the idea to establish an organization dedicated to improving the natural environment of Darjeeling. In 1992, we started the project “Save the Environment and Regenerate Vital Employment” (S.E.R.V.E). At the beginning, a representative of the Indian Society for Community Education was assigned the task of executing the project and disbursing the fund with help of a local organizing committee. In January 1996, we handed the project over to the World Wide Fund for Nature, one of the premier non-governmental organizations in India. Thus, we avoided the danger of imposing western criteria and measures on the project. Since then, WWF-India has been responsible for the effective implementation and monitoring of S.E.R.V.E.. We, on the other hand, have continued to provide all the financial means.

Our cooperation with the WWF of India is intended as a long-term project, as is our financial commitment to its success.


S.E.R.V.E. is dedicated to eco-restoration and to improving the socio-economic conditions of the inhabitants of Darjeeling Hill. Its main objectives are:
  • Reforestation of Darjeeling;
  • Restoration of the degraded natural habitat by
    • planting indigenous trees
    • conserving medicinal plants,
    • educating people.
  • Providing employment to local people;
  • Making the ecological activities of S.E.R.V.E. sustainable.


Activities and Achievements

S.E.R.V.E. has carved a niche among the conservation oriented non-governmental organizations of Darjeeling Hill. Its activities and achievements include:
  • Apiaries;
  • Batasia Eco Garden;
  • Bio-diversity Conservation;
  • Block Forest Plantation;
  • Developing model villages;
  • Environment education and awareness programs;
  • Providing employment through organic farming;
  • Providing household energy;
  • Reforestation Programs in Tea Gardens;
  • Tree nurseries.

Tinchulay Model Village

Tinchulay Development projects rarely achieve international acclaim, but exceptions do exist: several years ago Tinchulay, a village in the district of Darjeeling, was chosen for our project S.E.R.V.E. by the World Wide Fund for Nature of India. As part of a reforestation effort, seventeen families in the village got involved in the cultivation of seedlings. They operate an organic vegetable farm and produce high-grade compost using dung and worms. On a small scale, they also cultivate organic tea plants. In addition, an organic gas plant provides fuel for cooking.

Tinchulay is situated in a beautiful countryside, which has encouraged the villagers to start an entrepreneurial venture in ecotourism. The residents have opened up their homes to day visitors, and they lodge travelers. The model village is well worth a visit, and guided tours provide a good sense of the effort invested in setting it up. Compared to western standards, the village provides rather basic facilities to the visitor, but guests are treated like family members and enjoy generous hospitality. Recently, the village was awarded first prize in the All India Eco-Tourism Competition.

We at the Tea Campaign are thrilled to see our collaboration with the WWF India come to such gratifying fruition.

seasonal flower

Batasia Eco Garden

Batasia Loop, located near Ghoom, is a major tourist spot in Darjeeling. The Toy Train Track and the Gorkha Martyr Monument, a war memorial commemorating soldiers from Darjeeling, attract thousands of tourists each year. S.E.R.V.E. has been actively involved in landscaping the area. An eco garden has been laid out, where rare and indigenous plants are nursed. Batasia Eco Garden displays the unique flora of Darjeeling. It houses many species of endangered plants, for instance, Gingko biloba, several species of Rhododendron, medicinal plants like Taxus baccata, hemlock (Tsuga dumosa), and silver fir (Abies densa). Various tea plants demonstrate the wealth of Darjeeling tea.


WWF India (West Bengal State Office)
TATA Centre
43 J.L. Nehru Road
Kolkata 700 071

Project S.E.R.V.E
c/o Darjeeling Gymkhana Club
Darjeeling 734 101
West Bengal, India