Saturday, 26 March 2016

Eco-Building in EduCARE India

When I arrived to EduCARE in October, there were no Ecobuilding interns nor previous coordinator. Some projects were done in the past and a few more were already spotted, so it was time to start working. I was expecting to stay in Naddi but I was sent to the new centre where community engagement was the most important part of the first months in Harike. Through all these house visits and walks around the village, I was able to observe the habitability conditions of most of the families. Five factors define a slum - lack of potable water or sanitation, overcrowded houses with no durability and insecurity of tenure - and you can easily identify some of them in the communities where we work in EduCARE. Although it's a small scale, with between 40 and 120 families, reaching awareness and improving their skills to finally help them building the needed infrastructure are the right steps to make a difference.

The number of Ecobuilding interns increased in the last months what allow us to develop new ideas and projects. In December we received Niall from Ireland, who has previous experience in bamboo and earthquake construction. He came right before Christmas holidays with lots of enthusiasm and willing to start building!

In January two more interns joined our team, Faik from Cyprus and Alexis from France. They are now working hard in Rait and Naddi respectively and we'll see the results very soon! The last Ecobuilding addition was Lamia from Madagascar, who joined EduCARE a couple of weeks ago and will be starting the new centre in Rang Mahal.

Currently, we have ongoing projects in the three main areas we work on: interns' houses, furniture and community projects.

Indra´s homestay with bamboo structure and mud walls
In Harike, we are improving our centre by building a fence that will keep strangers away during work hours - they are welcome the rest of the time!, making new furniture for our common area and designing the future ReStore that will open soon. The garden keeps busy our interns in Rait, where they are planning a greenhouse and experimental vertical farming to extend to families who don't have enough space for an horizontal orchard. Faik is also making new furniture now that the centre is full. Alexis will show soon the result of the greenhouse he's been planning in Naddi, next to the nursery where the forestry team work. Finally, all the interns in Gajner are finalizing details for the ReStore launch, including furniture and a canopy made by Niall. He's also working on the ECRC design and a new homestay in Indra's colony. Two weeks ago, he delivered a three days' on site workshop for interns and community about bamboo and mud techniques, and the outcome is that the homestay is almost ready to use!

Indra's Homestay

They all are small projects that will improve the interns' stay or the communities' conditions. Hopefully we'll serve as an example to them, increase awareness and family incomes, transfer our knowledge, eliminate the stigma to some materials, adopt a more sustainable way of life for, at the end, improve their habitability conditions and dignify their lifes.

MarĂ­a Reyes - Spain
Ecobuilding coordinator in Harike

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