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Creations for our kids, our future

- by Priya Sundaravalli

Ange has a plan for a ‘conspiracy of togetherness’

Another fund-raising effort is ready to sweep though Auroville – just after completion of the ‘outrageous' million dollar challenge for the Land Fund on July 20th 2004.

Ange (left) with students in her Fridday clay workshop

Ange from Forest Pottery Studio in Samriddhi has decided to dedicate the next three months to work for an awareness building exhibition ‘Creations for our kids our future.' Her inspiration came after talking with some of her friends who are teachers, who had expressed concern about some of the difficulties they are facing.

“The challenge is to raise Rupees 50 lakhs (US$ 110,000 ) for a corpus fund that would act as an education basket for Auroville schools,” begins Ange. “The corpus would be untouched, but the interest from it and any donation beyond the 50 lakh rupees would overflow into another fund – the teachers' prosperity fund. So it is not like running around and filling the holes in a bucket – which is what we are faced with now – but the idea is to generate a steady income.” The prosperity fund, she envisions, would be a way of supporting teachers in Auroville (who she feels are a ‘kind of minority group in Auroville with similar material conditions') either in ‘kind' or through meeting emergency expenses.

‘Creations for our kids our future', an art exhibition in February 2005 inviting works from potters, artists, and artisans of Auroville, would launch this fund-raising drive. “This would be a serious art exhibition but it is not just for the professionals – I'd like everyone to create for this occasion and contribute, including friends and well-wishers of Auroville.” The only request Ange makes of these creations is that they are made for this occasion – no seconds, no objects that have been made long back and are lying around, and no limit to the number of contributions. “I have also asked each school to submit up to five art pieces for this show – some of the best works of their students.”

The idea came to Ange at her studio. “Every now and then I get inspired while on the wheel and I see something very clearly. Of course I often doubt myself and often the ideas stay in the pottery…. But this time, I thought, I am going to work for three months, and I'd really like to do this – let me ask Otto if it is feasible. So I talked to Otto and he gave it an enthusiastic thumbs-up!” Ange then circulated her idea in the Auroville schools as she did not want to ‘interfere with their own fund-raising efforts' and the feedback she received was positive. “What had to be made clear is that the money we are fund-raising for is not going to be used for schools now and cannot be touched by anybody. So it is not really interesting right away. What's of interest is that this will create another account that can be used.”

Ange's interest in education stems from her own experiences of growing up in Auroville. “We kids had a lot more involvement with the community than is the case now. Our class would go to an area, do a clean-up, have tea and biscuits, meet and interact with the people living there, and come back. That sort of thing we are lacking now.” Her idea for the exhibition of art work as the first step in this fund-raising drive is her way of getting everyone involved. Ange does not expect to raise the fifty lakhs with this exhibition. “I am just launching this project with this exhibition, and hoping that other people will find other ways of contributing either through small awareness deeds or little steps that will take us there. What is really important for me is that I don't want to pressurize anybody. It's an invitation for people to do something together. There has to be a lightness, and actually the best contribution you can give is a positive thought in that direction. Even that is already moving energy on a subtle level; if you can speak about it positively, then its even better; and if you can find a small thing to do then that is even better still…”

She hopes that this effort would create awareness in the community and start a dialogue with the children of Auroville. “I strongly feel that our children are our future and they need to feel that we care about them.” She shares, “A funny thing was when I said that to someone, they looked at me in a doubtful manner and said ‘Are you sure our kids are our future…?' For me, it was as if that person was doubting if the sun would rise next morning! What I'd really like to say to the community or to my friends who have these doubts is not to forget that Auroville is not just a dream of creating a paradise, but a dream to create the ideal of human unity on a small scale. We don't need to worry that these children will go out into the world and not stay back to help Auroville, because wherever they go they contribute to spreading that vibration and that atmosphere and that ‘specialness' of Auroville.”

Ange reflects, “The point is not to focus on our difficulties or deficiencies. What is important is that we get together and help ourselves come out of an emergency. This is the challenge: to make us look at ourselves and feel that we're are part of the same thing – we are part of a conspiracy of togetherness!”

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