Kanai ji, the founder of Chirag, returned to Kumaon in India in the summer of 1985, having spent most of his life working in the US. And thus began his second journey, at the ripe age of 62, to establish an organization that would ‘be a catalyst for the creation of a society rooted firmly in the principles of dignity, justice, solidarity.’ As a result, Chirag was registered as a society in 1986 with the mandate to work with rural communities in the hills of the Central Himalaya.
We began our work in Ramgarh Block of Nainital district with a focus on primary health and forest conservation. As our understanding of the communities and of the issues that inhibit their progress has increased, our activities have expanded to include natural resource management, education and livelihood programs.
Our geographical area of operations has grown over time and we have been fortunate to benefit from the contribution of a diverse set of young professionals who have lived and worked at Chirag over time. However, the core and backbone of the organization is comprised of people from the region.
We are currently one of the largest organizations in the Kumaun region and the continued support we have received over the years has been crucial to our achievements thus far. We work closely with national and international institutions as well as with governmental programs. For a full list of our past partners please refer to this document. For a full list of our current partners, please visit our Partners page.
In 2005, our main office moved from Sitla to Simayal village and our infrastructure was improved to better fit our needs. A training centre was added to the new building and our new location allowed us to set up the Chirag School adjacent to our office.