SAIIER 2019:Life Education Centre

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SAIIER 2018-19
Life Education Centre


Life Education Centre (LEC) aims to:

  • Offer a space for young women from the villages where they can be provided opportunities for personal growth and livelihood;
  • Provide activities that enhance physical, mental, and sensorial capacities;
  • Be a connecting space between Auroville and the villages;
  • Be a learning space for everyone.

Activities of the year:

  • Fabric Painting: Introduction to fabric painting was offered by Jyothi Khare and the women continued to practice on their own.
  • Meditative art: ‘Zen tangling’ sessions to relax, explore and create were introduced by Dev and then continued by the women regularly.
  • Exploring Auroville and the world – Geography sessions: Continuing with the ‘exploration of soil’ sessions from last year, this year we expanded our knowledge of geography through sessions offered by Lisbeth. She taught the women starting from the basics using a globe, atlas, and wall maps. They learned about continents, countries, states, cities, districts and population. They learned to use maps and identified Auroville and the surrounding areas. The sessions ended with field trips (explained below). All the sessions were organized, facilitated and translated by Devi.


LEC 2019 - Geography class.jpg


  • Expanded women’s circles and drumming: Once a month, an expanded women’s circle was organized for half-a-day. Besides the women from LEC, women working at Svaram also joined. During the first session, the activities were group discussion and group drumming. A professional drummer from Svaram led and taught the group. It was very appreciated and enjoyed by the women. The second session included group discussion and Awareness Through the Body (ATB) activities. ATB was led by Lison. Both sessions were anchored by Devi and a volunteer, Sangeetha.
  • Making and using bio-enzymes: The women learned how to make bio-enzyme for cleaning from citrus peels. The demonstrative session was offered by Nina when other Aurovilians participated as well. It was organized and translated by Devi.
  • Group discussions: These are a time to share issues – personal and societal; listen to the opinions of others and receive support.
Besides the regular discussions, this year we also had guests who participated and enriched the conversations. In July and August, we had a guest, Dev, who had lived at the Ashram and Auroville long ago and had worked with street children, shared his knowledge and perceptions. The women appreciated the sessions and also were receptive to his sharing. Later we had another guest, Lee, a Japanese teacher who participated in the discussions and made it lively by engaging the women in talking about their culture, comparing, contrasting and drawing similarities with Japanese culture, and singing songs. It was enriching to have the guests’ participation. The sessions were facilitated and translated by Devi.
  • Yoga: The women after training with Muthukumari in the previous year are able to continue the yoga sessions by themselves this year. Bondeepa, a volunteer, was able to assist them during a few sessions. She also individually evaluated each body type and offered advice for specific yoga asana and nutrition for each woman.
  • Aviva: Weekly classes to exercise the pelvic region were offered by Indirani.
  • Chanting and singing: The women continued to learn chants and traditional devotional songs from Harini.
  • Team Building: A few sessions of games and activities to enhance individual awareness and working in teams were led by Dev.
  • Computer classes and English: The women are continuing to learn Microsoft Office tools, particularly Word and Excel. A few English classes were offered by Dev but did not continue. The women very much want to learn English but it has not been easy to find a committed teacher.
  • Field trips: As a culmination of the geography classes, we visited Savitri Bhavan where the women saw the paintings by Huta and explored the place. The second trip was to the Matrimandir and the Town Hall. The last trip was to the Ashram in Pondicherry. The big tour that was planned to Kanchipuram and Tiruvannamalai at the end of February has been postponed to July after the heat subsides.
  • Tailoring and embroidery learning continue on the job.
  • YEN KALVI (college and career guidance): The placement cell coordinator at Pondicherry University was invited to give a session about courses and careers. 25 students from Edayanchavadi, Sanjeevi Nagar and Alankuppam participated. Transport was arranged for them to attend the session and it was appreciated by the students. Devi counseled a group of students at Annai Nagar as part of the program.

Outcomes:

The activities help the women gain confidence, become aware of themselves and of society.

Reflections:

LEC is still going through a period of transition. The year 2018-19 was another step forward in a new direction. There is more stability and clarity in terms of activities. LEC is a place that is attempting to integrate learning, working and progressing individually and as a community. This effort is an experiment that has started off well.