Jeevika goes to Auroville!

In March this year, Jeevika Trust – with the help of Department for International Development – took its five partner organisations to Auroville, an architecturally-designed township located near Pondicherry in Tamil Nadu in South India.

Founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa (also known as ‘The Mother’) – and  Sri Aurobindo, an Indian nationalist, freedom fighter, philosopher, yogi, guru and poet – Auroville was built to embody their vision of human progress and spiritual evolution:

Auroville is meant to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity.

AurovilleWhy visit Auroville?

Auroville has been created and inspired by the residence of many NGOs and other wholistic and globally-minded organisations which reside within the Auroville township and whose prime concern is to make the world a better place.  All these organisations undertake research, experiments and apply their new-found technologies and knowledge using local resources with the aim of challenging and advancing progress in rural India.

What did we learn? 

Jeevika’s partners visited organisations that used bamboo to produce anything from jewellery to buildings; that research fresh ways of using water systems to grow crops when water is limited; others produced earth blocks from moulds to build cost-effective, water-resistant schools, moveable houses and apartments up to four floors high with zero energy and without cement ; worked with volunteers to grow and generate awareness of sustainable food production; or worked with women, men and children using art therapy to empower individuals, cross-cultural, group & community relationships.

Capturing the learning

Back in their own project delivery areas, our partners passed on their new-found knowledge and skills to the villagers with whom they work in Jeevika-supported projects – and in this way, the Auroville experience helped Jeevika and its partner organisations expand their ways of working with some of India’s most disadvantaged villagers living in remote areas of Tamil Nadu and Orissa.

We also had fun!

art therapy aurovilleDonate now to support our partner organisation capacity building  workshops twice a year

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Toilet Humour – Innovative School Assembly Programme Launches

The kids in India don’t have anything to eat and wear rags

It is an oft repeated observation that kids will be brutally honest about their beliefs.  I recently got to enjoy the fruition of nearly a years’ worth of planning when we launched our schools assembly programme.  I had the pleasure of broadening some of Hampton Wick’s finest young minds at Hampton Wick Infants School towards their peers in India.  I did so by dressing in silken Salwar Kameez and sequined slippers and ranting about the joys of curry, amongst other things.

There’s nothing like a hall of post-sunny lunchtime faces gazing at you to make you realise the challenge behind covering water scarcity and poverty in an entertaining and educational manner – especially with a malfunctioning computer of photos.  Yet roof top rainwater harvesting comes alive when the children are invited to try carrying a bucket of water and imagine flushing a toilet with one.  There is a genuine curiosity and enthusiasm unmarred by news fatigue and confusion over the ‘India the Superpower’ economic myth.

Toilet IndiaOur innovative programme is spreading our name as Hampton Wick’s very own International Charity whilst backing the next generation’s awareness of themselves as global citizens with the power to change the world.  Through learning about eco-school clubs planting trees in distant Orissa the kids are connected.  We collaborate on a fundraising activity such as a cake sale or no uniform day that pays for our work.  The schools can elaborate on the knowledge learnt with activity resources we provide including word searches, and it contributes towards Eco-School accreditation.

India School Eco club tree plantingWhilst it is true that 1 in every 3 children in the world that are malnourished are in India it doesn’t help anybody to see this as a given.  We are looking forward to continuing our schools programme with other establishments locally.

To help sustain our enriching programmes here and in India please donate

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