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Russian translation

Sangamam

- a model village

Sangamam

Breaking barriers: Sangamam
Opening of Sangamam 14.04.02

Life in the villages

One of the most critical problems in the area surrounding Auroville is the housing situation. Villagers live in small mud-walled, palm leaf roofed huts. These roofs have to be renewed every two or three years due to the monsoon, and it becomes a financial burden on the already difficult economy.

Besides, the urbanisation of the villages is chaotic and deficient. Village streets are eroded and pitted. There is no public sanitation system for wastewater, excreta or household waste. Government programmes for rural electrification, street lighting and sanitation are poorly implemented.

For years the various village-oriented groups of Auroville have been working in different aspects in a separate way: water, health, education and other projects for the development of the villages.

Along with Auroville's Village Action Group, the Ilaignarkal Educational Centre is working in permanent contact with students and Auroville workers from the surrounding villages. Thanks to this contact, we have been able to identify their main problems and conceive of a project in which the different inputs from Auroville can be put together in an integral way.

Project for a model village

The main objective of this project is to design and build a model village, on a reduced scale, which allows the experimentation, in an integral way, of innovative solutions for the current problems of the villages. We foresee the creation of a model with an effective layout striking a balance between green open spaces and actual construction sites, integrating the necessary infrastructure and the common services. The project will also experiment with different models of affordable housing. A biological wastewater treatment plant will be included in the project, so that 100% of the wastewater will be recycled and reused for watering the green public spaces.

Educational model

Parallel to the physical implementation of the project, there will be an educational programme that will convey to the future beneficiaries of the project, and to the local population in general, the advantages of the new habitat. This programme will encourage the participation of the (future) residents during the construction and, once finalised, the correct maintenance of the project.
The potential residents will participate in an educative/social programme to encourage understanding of the value of the project, so that they feel motivated to fully participate in it.

Twenty-seven houses

The project concretely aims at building 27 houses with common infrastructure and open spaces in two phases. The first phase will consist of 12 houses of several designs and the necessary infrastructure, as well as construction of the first part of the community centre to include services such as laundry, meeting cum television room, and other spaces specifically dedicated to educational activities.

Green areas specifically designed and planted in order to create a natural, clean and nice atmosphere will surround the houses and the community centre.

This model village is envisaged as a demonstration centre, a creative prototype, serving as an example for other future projects in the area, and in India at large.

Beneficiaries

The project will directly benefit approximately one hundred people who will be selected taking into account the following:

  • Lack of housing or extreme housing situation

  • Young people with a thirst to progress and with a flexibility to get adapted to new ways of life

  • People with strong community awareness

  • Long-term workers in Auroville bridging the international township and the local villages.

Future arrangements

Once the model village is built, the residents will be in charge of its maintenance and functioning. It is envisaged to set up a management committee composed of 3 representatives of the village and 3 representatives of the Aurovilian project holders. This committee will try and solve the problems that may arise, and take care of the overall management of the project.
The residents will be requested to contribute 10% of their salaries (as a monthly rent) towards the maintenance of the village facilities and infrastructure.

Preparatory phase

For the preparatory phase of this project, a committee was set up in August '99 with members of our town planning section, Auroville's Future, and the Ilaignarkal Education Centre. This committee elaborated the project proposal, presented it to different organisations and working groups, and formulated the basic rules and regulations for its management. Recently, the committee has entrusted the execution of the entire project to the Kolam Design Unit in Bharat Nivas.
Auroville has allocated 2 hectares of land for this project in the Utility area.

Contact: Auroville's Future aurofuture@auroville.org.in 

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