About the Vihara Foundation
Biographies of Founding Team Members
Dennis Ramdahin, MSc. Founder and Executive Director, Vihara Foundation/Rock against Poverty
Dennis Ramdahin is an environmentalist and sustainable development practitioner with almost two decades working in support of the poverty and climate change agendas.
Dennis’ career kick-started the first active introduction of greening of New York State government (dating back to 1999), with focus on energy master planning, green building design, energy life cycle financial modeling, all aimed at supporting the reduction of greenhouse gases from the dense built sector environment of New York City. This lead to significant contributions to the US green and sustainable building advancement, including the creative financing thereof.
In 2003, Dennis actively became engaged in sustainable development modelling for poverty alleviation (following his initial trip to North India that revealed the state of poverty confronting that region).
In 2006 he engaged the Haitian-New York Diaspora Professionals on “Theoretical Modelling for Poverty Alleviation in Haiti”, and brought this work to the attention of the President of Haiti (to no political avail).
In 2009, Dennis took the concept of the Haiti Poverty Alleviation Model and applied it in Eastern Uttar Pradesh (North India), which is today one of the largest whole-system thinking business and scientific proposals for scalable poverty alleviation in the world (The Vihar Poverty Project – scoped for 500 sqkm range).
In addressing creative means for financing scalable poverty and climate mitigation works, Dennis and the Vihara Foundation founded in 2010 the Rock against Poverty initiative, which has steadily grown over the years to where it is now.
Through the Vihara Foundation, Dennis has been lobbying Central and South American governments to adopt economic diversification measures surrounding agricultural master planning (including scalable industrial hemp) tied to poverty alleviation and climate mitigation. Most recent engagements include 2018 agriculture master planning work in the British Virgin Islands (Post Hurricane Irma and Maria).
Ambassador Byron Blake, Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder, Vihara Foundation
Having served as the Jamaican Ambassador to the United Nations and as a former Senior Advisor to the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations, Byron Blake is an Economist with over fourty-five years experience, working at different levels in institution building, policy development and promotion, planning, program and project development and promotion in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM – 1970 -2004). Currently, he serves as the CARICOM Chair for the redevelopment of Haiti.
Ambassador Blake has developed projects and programs in agriculture; industry services including tourism, maritime and air transportation; energy; technology and the environment. His interests include regional integration, development economics, environmental issues as well as international trade and the role of business in national development.
Twice, Ambassador Blake has been responsible for the economic and environmental negotiations for the G77 (Group of 77 and China, a negotiation group for 131 developing countries and member states of the United Nations), with heavy focus on poverty and climate change.
Dr. Vikas Kumar, Ph.D. Co-Founder and Lead Research, The Vihara Foundation
Dr Vikas Kumar is an environmental research scientist.
Vijkas is co-founder of Vihara Foundation’s first major poverty alleviation project – the Vihar Project, Ballia, UP India. He is also the founder of partnering NGO Prabhat, registered in Spain and India.
Vikas has more than 20 years of research background and more than 30 major publications in reputed international journals and presentations at major international conferences.