Sristi village is a laudable initiative where socially conscious people are building an inclusive, self-sustaining, and eco-friendly village for people with intellectual disabilities, especially.
I went to the UnLtd. Tamil Nadu event held recently, hosted in conjunction with Auroville in Chennai festival, where Karthikeyan, the Managing Trustee of Sristi Foundation spoke with a lot of passion about his social project – Sristi Village, near Pondicherry, South India.
Karthikeyan told us that he spent 15 years in an orphanage where he grew up alongside many intellectually disabled kids. While normal kids were able to go to school, college, work, and eventually integrate into the mainstream society, intellectually disabled kids didn’t get such opportunities. Besides, even if they learned some skills, employers were reluctant to hire them.
Sristi Village seeks to provide a dignified life for disadvantaged people.
- In 2014, they acquired 8.39 acres of cultivable land (thanks to donations) in Kunamangalam village, 30 KM from Pondy, where inmates undertake organic/traditional farming.
- They have setup Sristi Special School, a school for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities where 10 kids from nearby villages have enrolled. It seems Karthikeyan has also setup a similar school in the orphanage he grew up.
- They have setup a Sristi Vocational Training Center where inmates learn and make doormats, paper products, candles, incense sticks, greeting cards, etc.
- They have built an eco-friendly hut using bamboo and mud within the farm where community members are currently living.
- They have constructed an open well, and three farm ponds for rain water harvesting. A donor from US has donated a Solar Water pump which fetches water throughout the year without power lines/grid connection.
- Among their future plans, they want to setup a Sristi Farm Academy to provide agri/farm-based training to disabled people, want to start a diary farm, exploring mushroom cultivation, etc. as it is possible for disabled persons to get involved in these revenue generating activities.
How We Can Help:
While they are trying to become self-sustainable by selling their products, etc. that may take some time. In the meanwhile, people can donate money (bank account details) or visit the community to volunteer by teaching skills like craft making, gardening, etc. People can also make videos & information brochures about their project. An eco-tourism initiative may begin shortly. More…
At the least, all of us can spread the word through word-of-mouth and social media, if you think this initiative is worth spreading.
Here’s their website: Sristi Village.
Disclaimer: I have not visited Sristi Village yet. All info here is based on the presentation on that day and what is mentioned on their website.