With the aspiration to foster well being and full potential for all beyond class, caste or creed we open the 1st stage of a new learning centre for Annai Nagar village on February 28th, 2021, on the birthday of Auroville township who have provided the land for this centre.
Our team at Thamarai, made up of people both from the local villages and Auroville, work in rural Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry state. Many of the families we work with are challenged with poor literacy, daily labour work and low nutrition in fact 77% of children we tested in 2020 had high levels of anaemia. The new centre aspires to be an enabling environment for communities to thrive and will be the headquarters for all our programs in the areas of health, leadership and after school education.
It has been the culmination of the commitment and dreams of many people not least our children whose ideas have taken a central role.
Besides interactive classroom space, the final design for the centre will come equipped with features to meet the children commitment to protect the earth, saving water and creating harmony such as a a garden that will promote edible plants and trees, bathroom doors made from recycled bottle caps, compound wall from earth bricks and recycled plastic blocks.
The sports ground, being developed across the road, was seeded from a child’s wish to see peace and harmony in his village through sports. This has been a combined effort with the youth and children in the village giving many hours of their time to support the project to evolve.
We have recently completed an envisioning process with the children and youth facilitators at the project to hear their personal goals and what “new Thamarai” can be for them. Many beautiful goals and ideas came forth with children setting outcomes for their literacy, arts, music, academics and Thamarai team setting goals for their learning and bringing resources and skills to support all this. We are engaging new curriculum and enrolling facilitators online who freely give their time such as Swapnil in Mumbai who teaches mindmaps weekly, Madikandhan in Singapore who takes 9th standard students through maths and English in a fun way, Mitali who trains our youth facilitators in English and Kedge college students who teach guitar and conversational English weekly from France. Also, so many ideas came forward for the space through the beautiful drawings and words the children created visualising with their 5 senses on what “New Thamarai” could be. As a result, we have engaged the Tree House Community Builders from Auroville to build a play area from wood and a group of Architect students from Chennai to build a wood-fired oven so Dhinesh’s dream can come true. “ My name is Dhinesh , I love to cook, I want to improve nutrition and make tasty recipes in Thamarai. My personal goal is to learn a lot of new recipes within 3 months, I want to learn cooking tricks. I want every child in Thamarai to have a cake. My dream is on hearing the Thamarai bell to smell nice baking and see all my friends using the new wood oven that we will build together in Thamarai, also to have nice baking smells when we come to after-school”.
We will move into the new centre on March 1st to start the next chapter of learning and growing together. We continue with, the 2nd stage of the building where we hope to add 2 extra classrooms, one dedicated to technology, and our other health and after-school programs in nearby villages. We are committed to providing joyful learning platforms where each one can stretch to the fullest they can be.