Incorporated in 2002, The Aienla Project is a registered 501 c (3) non-profit organization dedicated to multiculturalism and the preservation of tribal cultures of northeast India. The project is devoted to the humanistic principle that much can be learned from traditional tribal cultures and that the artistic creations, languages, and customs of the people should be documented and preserved for the sake of knowledge for future generations.
One of the primary objectives of the Aienla Project is to develop and maintain a professional digital museum, giving the world access to an immense ethnographic collection representing the region. The interactive online museum will be comprised of vibrant images of present-day tribal life, rare monumental black and white photographic works from the 1900s, and material culture such as jewelry, heirlooms, weapons, textiles. In collaboration with universities and other researchers, the Aienla Project Digital Museum will be the most comprehensive collection of photographs and artifact imagery in the world specializing in India’s northeast, ultimately benefiting the tribal cultures being represented.
In an ever-changing environment that is becoming more globalized, it is important for students today to be both prepared for the diverse world that lies ahead as well as understand the cultures and traditions of the past. The Aienla Project is a free resource that is available to helping today’s teachers and college professors expose students to different cultures and ways of life. Through its presentations, the project introduces students to the tribal indigenous peoples of northeast India and Myanmar, bridging the gap between cultures and societies across the world and enhancing multiculturalism. Aienla Project presentations consist of slideshows depicting the lifestyles and customs of the tribal people followed by a display of material culture from the region such as textiles, tools, necklaces, and ornaments. Presentations can be geared to the special interests or curriculum needs of K-12 and college level classes.
The Aienla Project directly purchases equipment for public schools in northeast India and school supplies for students who come from underserved backgrounds where the family is unable to pay for expenses associated with primary education. On occasion, funding is also given to youngsters who are unable to follow traditional academic routes, but wish to obtain technical training or trade skills to better the economic situation for themselves, their family, and their village.