For the service week, I was sent to Shradhanjali with Shruti. We started in 2016 the 25th August till the 1st September.Shradhanjali is a handicraft unit of Auroville, the International Township located in rural Tamil Nadu, 165km south of Chennai, South India.
Shradhanjali’s goal is to express the beauty of nature by using flowers, foliage, and seeds to create beautiful products in a conscious and caring way.
It aims to provide a pleasant, stimulating, enriching, educative and empowering working environment for the young village women it employs.
There I learned to take care of nature and also learned names of some flowers and seeds.
At first, we toured the place, and after we pressed some flowers and leaves so they could dry. We crafted some notebooks and cards by pasting flowers and leaves. We picked up grass from the garden; and we made earrings, bracelets, and necklaces with seeds (but first we must make a hole in the seeds).
And this is the feedback from the director (Abha):
Mira has been enthusiastic and involved in all the process of Shradhanjali and has created different items with skill and attention. We hope she will continue to bloom and grow like the flowers and leaves they have used in their time here.
Naturellement was established as a social enterprise in 1991 in the international township of Auroville, South India by Martina Ljungquist. She maintains the Swedish standards in management , hygiene, and workers welfare. Their popular products include jams, marmalades and fruit syrups, nut butter and breakfast cereals, pickles and pesto
My Work In Naturellement
Naturellement is a nice place ,they always have some work.I did many things but what I liked most was to work in the kitchen . I understood that working with good people is not so difficult. The place is good and people who work there are nice, kind and funny. The work there is interesting.
I liked all the work which I did, and all the people whom I met. Service week was cool and I am so happy that I worked in this perfect place.
What did I feel About This ?
When I was in this place I felt that I was happy, I like this place. During my service week, when I woke up in the morning , I was so happy that was going there to work.
When I went there for the first time I thought that work would be boring like lessons in Russian schools. But it was not true, Naturellement was a very good place for working.
Next year I want to go there again.
My first day at Nandhanam
I went to Vayu group.We made Krishna’s crown and we practiced dance.After snack we sang songs for Lord Krishna’s birthday.
We colored Krishna’s picture and we visited Windarra Farm.We had our snack and visited Durga’s(one of the teachers) house.We saw some plants and also planted a few.We came back to school and we went to practice dance.Some children went to play .After lunch, kids went home .
I decorated the Vayu Group classroom and we relaxed and played musical chair and langady.After that, we painted and played some games.
We went to kindergarten for swimming.On the way, we saw a lot of bugs.In the pool, we played Marco Polo.After coming back to school we played.
In morning some kids went for a painting class and some went to play house.After snack, we made Ganesha with clay and read some stories.
It was extraordinary working at Nandhanam.I enjoyed the school.
Solitude Farm was started in 1996 by a group of young Aurovillians with the vision of creating self -sustainable farming community. The farm grows indigenous millets and rice, oil seeds, grams and pulses, a wide diversity of vegetables and 16 varieties of fruit trees. The farm also runs an organic restaurant called CHANDINI’S and serves lunches and dinners with food grown on the farm and from other Auroville farms.
Why I Went To Solitude
Well actually I had never been to Solitude but when I heard it is a farm and a café I decided to go! And because Anisha was going!
What I Learnt ?
I learned how to cook and got to know a few recipes. I also had an opportunity to serve in the cafe.also learned about the plantation .
How I Felt ?
I felt really good and I felt like we were one big family. The people were really nice to use and I love love the Topioca chips!! I liked tea time on the swing behind the café.
Started in 1984, the Kindergarten today provides for 60 children in four groups. The co-ordinating team consists of 7 main teachers and assistant teachers plus five specialized teachers for music, Sanskrit song, swimming and body awareness. I think it’s a really nice place for little children to learn and play, because it’s so different from other nurseries, outside of Auroville. The teachers seem to make a real effort for the children. The aim of Kindergarten is to develop the whole child, to develop concentration and each of the series, while at the same time keeping a balance between meeting the needs of each child and meeting the needs of the group, which is why I think it’s a really good nursery.
What You Did ?
Personally, I didn’t like working there so much because I don’t really like little(extra little) kids. They’re kind of annoying and most of them are easily distracted. But it was okay and sometimes even fun, like on Wednesday when we went to Srima.
What You Learnt ?
I really like that the children are learning so many extra languages- French, Sanskrit and Tamil. They almost knew more French than me before I came to Auroville! The French lessons in London were really bad, believe me.
Even though there were some parts of service week I didn’t like, I still think it was a really nice experience in general. I wasn’t really like a proper teacher there, obviously, so I first helped around. Sometimes I felt pretty useless because there wasn’t anything for me to help with. Unless you aren’t ‘supervising’. But I also did things like reading stories, helping them with counting and also with crafty stuff, like cutting and gluing. I liked those parts especially because I felt more useful. I think service week is really cool because we get to experience other people’s work.
I Liked/Disliked The Idea Of Service Week
I went to Kindergarten for a week because it was service week for a week and I was supposed to work somewhere, although I didn’t choose where.
Hello my name is Eva and I am 12 years old. I study in Deepanam school. I went to kindergarten for service week. Service week is that you need to go somewhere to help a community(unit) for a week. So why did Igo there?I went there to help children in their work and mostly learn how to take care of small children.
Started in 1984, the Kindergarten today provides for 60 children in four groups. The team consists of 7 main teachers, assistant teachers, plus specialist for music Sanskrit songs……! Auroville Kindergarten started in 1984. The aim is to develop the whole child , to develop concentration and each of the senses, while at the same time keeping a balance. The children learn in English, but all children are also taught Tamil and French plus songs in Sanskrit.
What did I do there?
Well , what I did there was , helping teachers and children .Playing with little kids which were tiring except the last day I made a giant Castle with them, which was pretty cool! So yes I had to give them a pencil, eraser, color pencils, and some materials to write, draw and do exercises on the paper.
What Did I Learn?
Good question, I learned taking care of children and what is being a teacher(I will never be a teacher in my life), and to make children work.
How Did I Feel?
Felt good as a helper or teacher(in a good way). Well, at least I did my best. Sometimes I was a bit dizzy. But still, I felt good.
Once in school, we asked Mahavir to have a service week. He said yes. Some students got to choose where they wanted to work, but some didn’t, like me. All of us had to work in different places. But I still like the place where I was meant to work. I had to work for seven days in PTDC in the kitchen . Our community service started on 25th august 2016 on Thursday.(seven days including Saturday!!)
The first day I when I arrived at 8:30 to PTDC. I had no idea what to do. I was just standing there then a person called Crist came and took me to the kitchen. (that was the first time I went in the PTDC kitchen.) He gave me an apron and a cooking cap to wear.After I wore it , I saw a lady peeling garlic. I asked if Crist,if I could help her. He was like sure. After that, I started cutting, peeling and washing work. At 9:00 a bell rang for the concentration. All the people who worked in PTDC came together and sat in a circle, closed their eyes and chanted three Oms. Then we went back to work.
I learned some kitchen tricks! People who work there were very nice and kind. At 10:00 we had juice and tea. Every day at tea time I was hungry so I went and got biscuits .At 11:30 they are almost ready with all the food and they start serving at 12:00.Most of the times I bought my lunch there and ate it there .The food looked so good and also tasted good. Every day the menu changed and every day there was something special. After lunch, I came back to school.
I did the same work every day. And I really like the experience.