Thamarai, when founded, established its first centre in Edayanchavadi – the nearest village to Auroville as a playgroup, after-school and healing centre for 11 years. In 2017 due to issues with the premises, the programmes relocated to other premises and another village which was in urgent need.
Many of the youth, who were once the children of Thamarai after-school from this village joined the team to facilitate the programmes. This participation showed how the changes that Thamarai wished to establish through their programmes were quite evidently accomplished – making the youth self-sufficient, educated and responsible to take in-charge.
Last year, when Bridget and Muthu were approached by one of the alumni of Thamarai from this village that he has been tutoring children in his village, the need to go back to the village with an after-school programme seemed necessary, and equally inspiring.
Before Thamarai, I have been part of the Joy of Impermanence – Anitya, an Auroville community based out of this village. The land, a small hut, (initially planned to be a kitchen), and the location that was close for the children to come after their school hours were a perfect fit, to begin with our new journey.
This after-school will be run under Thamarai projects, led by two of our ‘then students and now facilitators’ with the help of Anitya community volunteers from 6:30 to 8:30 during the weekdays. From the beginning of project, children have been a huge part of building the centre. During the summer camp, we organised a masonry workshop where children were taught Mandala flooring – which then became the floor to the place they will study. The after-school began it’s functioning from July 29th. More extra-curricular programmes and activities will soon be initiated to support the children’s development and full potential.
The first inauguration of the school held in April where the children from Annai Nagar, Edaiyanchavadi after-school and the team of Thamarai and the Anitya community members came together to co-create a collaborative afternoon. The afternoon was filled with co-operative games, art, music, and the children also learned to make seed balls.
Followed by that, as part of the Thamarai summer camp we also organized a masonry workshop where children and youth from the village came together to learn and make a Mandala flooring in the spirit of Do it yourself which turned out to be a beautiful piece of art and helped the children to understand the sense of place and getting involve in creating their own learning space.