CHEC is delighted to announce that it has allocated a generous grant from The Heath Trust for the construction of the Nadukuppam Community Training Centre at Pitchandikulam Forest, a Unit under the Auroville Foundation.
Background to the Project
Pitchandikulam Forest is a part of the Auroville International Community and is dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the indigenous Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest of Tamil Nadu. It was established in 1973 as one of the pioneering Auroville green belt communities engaged in the initial reforestation work that was necessary on the bare eroded township site. Since then the 70 acre site has been transformed into a complete ecosystem with more than 800 species of plants.
The Pitchandikulam Bioresource Centre with its library, database, artifacts and photo displays provides a focus for the teaching of restoration ecology, environmental science, and the identification and use of indigenous medicinal plants. A major focus of Pitchandikulam is community outreach and currently we work in 20 villages throughout the Kaluveli bioregion.
The project is situated in one of Pitchandikulam’s outreach centres, at Nadukuppam Village in the centre of the Kaluveli Bio-Region, 30 km from Auroville. Nadukuppam Community Training Centre’s activities include indigenous forest planting programs, organic farming and vegetable gardening, women’s self help group income generation programmes and environment education programmes.
The Nadukappam Community Training Centre will become a local base for sustainable rural planning. The Training Centre will support the farming community through training in practical subjects such as organic agriculture, agro-forestry, rural technologies and the establishment of small business enterprises. The vision is for the Centre to become a local engine of sustainable economic development.
Nadukuppam is in a predominantly rural area of the Villupuram District of the state of Tamil Nadu in South India. Subsistence crops of millet, rice, oil seeds such as peanuts and sesame, tapioca and lentils are typically grown, with occasional cash crops of fruits such as mango, jack and coconut. The water supply comes from bore wells, and some crops are dependent upon monsoonal rains for irrigation with the major rains falling in October to December.
We’ll be posting the latest updates on the project as they happen below:
UPDATE 3/3/ 2016
The Nadukuppam Centre has now been formally opened. Sonia Dyne, a former CHEC Governing Board member, attended the ceremony and talked fondly about CHEC and Zena Daysh, CHEC’s Founder.
Progress has been halted by severe weather and flooding from Chennai south towards Tamil Nadu. The energy of the project team on the ground has been put into disaster relief but work has been done on the floor and the Training Centre has been painted. Training has continued intermittently during the floods and it is predicted the project will be complete by early 2016.
All that needs doing in the centre now is the floor. The area has been hit by a drought for the last month affecting farming patterns, meaning the centre is needed now more than ever.
These are also the latest pictures from the site:
The roof of the training centre is almost complete with just the ridging tiles to finish. When finished the centre will provide a hub for the local community and training in subjects such as organic agriculture, agro-forestry, rural technology and help people establish small businesses. More information about the project can be found here.
To find out more about how the Nadukuppam Community Training Centre is being used by Pitchandikulam Forest, read this report on the work of the Nadukuppam Women’s Hub.