Thamarai Learning & Cultural Centre
Thamarai projects are a bridge between Auroville and the neighboring villages. It supports the growth of the villagers potential through our informal education programs in areas of health, healing and enviroment.
Thamarai values: Thamarai team believe in Unity. We aspire to create an enabling environment for people to thrive. We work on providing education, health care, sports and leadership programs to people in villages around Auroville so that they can stretch towards their full potential and be change-makers for the well-being of their community and the wider world. Short film on our work.
History & Today’s organization:
Since 2006, Thamarai Educational Projects have provided educational services in marginalised areas of villages next to the international township of Auroville in Tamil Nadu, India. We currently operate from two learning centres, supporting 90 children and youth with after schools activities, STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Math), Sports and Leadership programs. In addition, regular health education and wellbeing programs are provided at local schools and work units/villages centres for adults with a vision to promote healthful, conscious living.
Challenges: Over the years, Thamarai has worked to counter poor literacy skills and health, low-income level and alcohol addiction (a major problem, leading to other issues such as debt, domestic abuse and children discontinuing education due to lack of finance). Many parents are unable to support their children academically due to English being the language of study.
Our Work: Access to educational resources and opportunities change lives. The Afterschool project supports children with their academic as well as personal growth. Programs include English classes, digital literacy, leadership, and arts activities along with homework support under the guidance of facilitators. The Health and Wellbeing team runs programs aimed to bring awareness and build skills and capacity in self-managing one’s personal and family health.
Long-Term Impact: Thamarai’s projects have been running in the villages for the past 16 years. The children who once attended the Afterschool projects are now college graduates and the facilitators running the current Thamarai programs. Along with the Health and Wellbeing programs, Thamarai Projects have and will continue to improve the conditions of the villagers as people become informed about healthy life choices, reduce alcohol and other substance abuse, focus on community development and education and see themselves as empowered agents of change.
Team: Thamarai has a dynamic cross culture and multi generation team consisting of locals from neighbouring villages, Aurovillians and international volunteers. Bridget Horkan and Kathy Walkling were co-founders of Thamarai. Bridget and Tom Lane presently lead the Educational Projects team and Jagadeswari, Savithri and Vishnu manage the Afterschools with a team of facilitators that are Akka (sister) and Anna (brother) to the children. MuthuKumari and Carla manage the natural health care and yogic sciences outreach programs.
Location: Thamarai has bases in both Annai Nagar and Edayanchavadi villages (near Auroville), see QR code and the health and healing programs are mobile visiting 12 government schools, women’s groups, village centres and Auroville work places.
Location:Edayanchavadi village (near Auroville)
Opportunities at Thamarai Learning & Cultural Centre
- Team member of Afterschool Project assisting with homework support, and extracurricular activities.
- Support of public relations (newsletter, social media, film/photography).
- Documentation and administration to support fundraising.
- Team member of weekend programs of art and culture