January 26, 2009

Design & People at Buddha Smiles, Tamil Nadu

Educational Methodology at Buddha Smiles: Buddha Smiles is active in ten centres spread in different parts of the country. In our learning centres, volunteer-teachers conduct classes at the community level at least four times a week with each session lasting not less than two hours. The students are given basic instruction in their mother tongue/native language. The volunteer-teachers are in the process of developing an informal/non-formal education that will supplement the existing system of education at the primary level. It is envisioned to implement this project with a grassroot network of teachers, social activists, student-volunteers and the local community participants. This programme aims at a simple and cheerful interaction between the volunteer-teacher and the children through regular meetings that will result in a creative (supportive) social mechanism for developing interest in pursuing education.













The Buddha Smiles School at Vellore

In our non-formal learning centers, classes are held mostly in public places including temples, churches, street corners, public parks, community owned spaces and in certain cases within the homes of students whose parents take active interest in the education of their children and want to help other children as well.  However, Buddha Smiles has also recently built a new school in the village of Karumbapalayam of Vellore District, Tamil Nadu, that will offer a formal curriculum and education for children.

















Design & People team consits of four architects - Niranjan Das Sharma, Kunjan Garg, Rajasekharan Menon and Suku Dass accompanied by Fr Augestine, a priest who is known more for his social activities arrives at the Buddha Smiles School, Vellore, Tamil Nadu on January 18, 2009 to continue the architectural work they started some years ago.

The foremost concern of this educational initiative is to reach the poor and marginalized sections of society in both the rural and urban areas of the country with a special emphasis on girls’ education. We seek to share and learn from the experiences of other people, societies and countries in the region and the world at large. This initiative is based on holistic approach to life and education.  Above all, it values the need for continuos education not only for children but also for teachers and communities, for the development and progress of our societies. We see this as a part of the global movement for peace, education and development.

















Project Cow Shed: Reviewing last years architectural work with Dr Ramu Manivannan, founder of the school.



















Excavation for a meditation hall.

















What Next? Project Discussion in progress.

















Discussion with Shreedhar and Elka Cole, an architect from Canada who specialises in mud constructions (More about her work: www.elkecole.com)

















A face-to-face discussion between Design & People architects and the 'client' in progress. (Project: New Kitchen Block at Buddha Smiles Campus.)

















Lunch Break: Santosh, a Buddha Smiles Volunteer with slices of papaya grown at the organic farm at the Buddha Smiles campus.

















Pongal Celebrations: Sheela, Dr Mani's wife and Santosh arranging the sugarcanes for pooja. Sweet pongal and salt pongal cooked in the foreground.

















The End Users!

4 comments:

Vanessa said...

Hello! Your project is very Nobel job……….I wish that it get a lot of success in his journey………. And the pictures are nice.

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