Sustainability measures at Rann Riders starts from within the lodge. We believe in leading by example. Keeping in mind that we are located at the edge of the desert, our grounds are dotted with water hardy local flora. The water management and recycling system is set in place to minimise wastage of water. For example, all the grey and brown water is passed through a series of baffle filters before being reoxygenated among reed beds. The aim is to use this naturally treated water to create a wetland ecosystem for the birds and other fauna. The fact that dragonflies like certain species breed here is an immediate sign of the cleanliness of this water.
Our idea of using fresh produce and buying locally as much as possible has reduced the use of packaging in foods and toiletries leading to a substantial drop in waste and disposable byproducts. Plastic bottles are not used within the lodge nor on the safaris and activities. Turning green among the fragile brown deserts of the Rann is not an option but a necessity. This requires a lot of hard work, tough decisions and is a part of a constant learning process which keeps us changing our systems and thinking from time to time.
Work with the community – Rann Riders is aware that in order to be a sustainable tourism project the team has to be involved in initiatives that benefit the local society and the communities with high artisanal skills like the weavers, embroiderers, potters, etc.
There is space provided for weavers to demonstrate their weaves like Ikat and Tangalio. Guests staying at the property get an opportunity to buy sarees, shawls, stoles and fabric pieces directly from the weavers without any commission or margins. This initiative has succeeded in encouraging weavers to continue their ancestral skills profitably rather than having to move to other professions.
About 2km from Dasada is a settlement of about fifteen families of the Mir community. Mirs are a nomadic community that came into the area from Rajasthan about 60 years ago. They live in temporary homes. Mirs migrated with Rabaris, keeping relations with them according to Rabari lineages. Each Mir was in charge of a particular lineage. The system has faded into history and today Mirs do manual, agricultural and construction labour. The 15 families near Dasada were economically and socially weak. There was an urgent need to help them pull themselves out of their current plight. Apart from being known for their dancing, their artwork with beads is their forte. Using opaque beads, out of circulation coins, bells, buttons and mirrors, they create braids, tassels, and necklaces for women and girls. Today, following design intervention by some of our guests, the Mir women use their beadwork skills to make bangles which guests staying at Rann Riders and others outside can buy. Thanks to the revenue from selling beaded bangles to Rann Riders guests and performing their traditional dance forms, Mirs have been able to permanently settle on the periphery of Dasada in comfortable houses rather than their past temporary settlers.
Rabari women and girls create embroidery work at home largely for household use and dowries, while the husbands support the house from revenue generated from livestock breeding and dairy products. Today, most families have little interest in their tradition. In order to keep the embroidery styles alive, Rann Riders has supported enterprising Kharapat Rabari women who are skilled in embroidery. They gather their best works for sale at the lodge and in their houses, thus supplementing family incomes and not losing their traditional skills to the modern world.
Working with government and NGOs – Rann Riders is now working with local government authorities to create, among other things, waste management and recycling systems in the villages around the Rann. The team at the lodge is also working to create a platform for artisans, improve their working environments and build facilities for tourists visiting the area regardless of whether they are staying at the resort. Among the initiatives is a craft village that will give spaces to artisans of the district to showcase and sell their work, gaining the reputation that they truly deserve.