“The Youth of today are leaders of tomorrow.”
Paalam, (meaning bridge in Tamil), is a project that was established to impact unity between Auroville and the local villages and improve well being in the villages. Youth (men and women) from 18 villages and settlements, immediately around Auroville, were selected by AVAG’s Self Help Group members who were asked to nominate 2 non political, socially active youth to represent their village.
This project aims to train youths, both men and women from 18 villages and settlements in development initiatives and in executing activities to improve the cooperation with Auroville and between villages as well
PAALAM exposes youth from the selected villages in different development models and encourages them to take up projects or activities using the expertise, resources available with the communities, Auroville and the Government.
- Identify the most urgent needs for the future.
- Offer training in sustainable village development.
- Initiate projects together that will benefit the whole bio-region.
Since its inception, on the 29th of November 2015 in Unity Pavilion, Paalam is firmly established as a communications and action network amongst:
- Village Youth
- Auroville Village Action Group
- Auroville Sports Association
We conducted an exposure visit to Karudampalayam panchayat in Coimbatore, which won the panchayat Puraskar award 2015 from the central government for best Performance and Achievement. Paalam members saw extensive street lighting, solid & liquid resource management , bio gas, drainage management, dairy farming and bio-methanation plant that processes the organic waste from vegetables markets, abattoirs and toilets to generate manure and biogas.
The Paalam Training Program provided practical learning that generated insights on many levels for the youth, especially on the current status of natural resources in our area and best practices and solutions.The training also gave valuable information and contact with government schemes that can be accessed.
Some of the Palaam members also took up the opportunity of the Stewardship for New Emergence leadership training offered over a three month period with Dr. Monica Sharma which focused on Leadership Skills and Capacity Building.
This training and information gathering period has laid a foundational base of knowledge and capacity, to move forward confidently into the next phase of work which is action orientated.
Paalam members identified the areas of priority in relation to their villages and the themes for village Micro Projects:
- Water and Soil conservation
- Waste Management
- Security, especially Women
- Sports development
It is envisaged that the implementation will combine the Energy and creativity of youth, expertise from Auroville/elsewhere and funds from Government schemes under the supervision of Auroville Village Action Group who will liaise with local panchayat and local government as needed to develop projects.