A centre promoting environmental projects, education, health, education, sustainability issues, social welfare, community enterprise through Fair Trade employment, recycling, and small-scale organic agriculture. Based in the rural village of Ramnagar, deep in the Sundarbans, the Eco Community Centre would use photovoltaic, and wind turbine energy to provide electricity for the building, surplus electricity would be provided to the local community. Water harvesting and compost toilets would demonstrate sustainable practices.
A new sustainable building would be created which demonstrates sustainability in action by having zero carbon energy emissions. the Ramnagar Eco Centre cum School would be a base for the promotion of community-based environmental enterprises in biofuel production, in smallscale agriculture, garbage collection and recycling, social welfare projects in health, education, and employment
The Eco-Community Centre would be the focus for community based sustainable food production, these include organic honey production, and organic mushroom growing and other small-scale agricultural projects.
In the fields nearby, a community woodland will be planted out, which will have two beneficial effects, one it would help stabilise the land and thereby help protect it from tsunami and cyclones, and two not only will it provide recreational space for the community, the trees planted would take in carbon dioxide, a cause of “global warming”, but the trees would also produce a seed which can be turned into bio-diesel. That bio-diesel would run water pumps to irrigate the land in the drought months From the Ramnagar Eco Community Centre we will provide the following:
- A Primary School for children aged 5 to 12
- Spoken English and Computer Classes
- Health Programmes-Family Planning advice
- First Aid Clinic
- HIV / Aids Awareness
- Environmental Education
- Garbage Collection & Recycling
- Sustainable Energy Generation
- Tree Planting Scheme
- Employment Opportunities using Traditional Handicrafts
- Small-scale Agricultural Programme
As well as promoting an education and environmental syllabus, the Centre would provide a low-cost education service for local people in spoken English and computer training.
In addition, it is possible that an outreach service based in a vehicle run on bio-diesel and using photovoltaics could deliver educational courses to schools farther afield.
At the same time, a unit providing handicraft training using traditional methods would give much needed economic help to local people. A small-scale handicraft unit will be set up, the handicrafts made would be of an international export quality. Most importantly the production, trading and marketing of the handicrafts would be on a Fair Trade basis. This would raise income levels in the villages, especially for women and girls. There would be an increase in employment in the locality and the Centre would be a focus for community action and issues confronting the 2000+ people who live in and around Ramnagar, and other surrounding villages today.
We draw on the experience of a previous project at St Nicholas Fields in York, England. In 2005 was hailed by Prime Minister Tony Blair as “a model of sustainable community development“.
By involving the local community we want to copy this successful project;
We need to raise funds and build the first sustainable community centre in India. It will act as a focus for increasing awareness of environmental issues, education, employment, including free health education, especially on HIV/Aids.
If we can do this in York, England (see www.stnicksfields.org.uk), why can’t we do this in Ramnagar, West Bengal, India?
If we succeed then hopefully it will become a model to be copied elsewhere in India.
Why John Lally International Foundation? We believe that we can help add to the efforts being made by Immanuel Human Research and Development Programme, a Kolkata based CBO. Our experience in regenerating a site will enable the local community and groups to make a difference. We will be working with the local community who will be involved from the very beginning.
Over the last few years, the developed world has recognised the need to address North-South differences. If we as a world community are to tackle the problems of global warming, health and economic issues, then we need to make an effort. We want to make a positive contribution to this area of the Sundarbans, and by doing so we believe we will fulfil our ‘karma’ as human beings and as an organisation
However we cannot do this alone we need you, if you share our vision then please read further how you can help. If in the UK you can download a Standing Order PDF which you can print out, fill in and send to your bank. The amount is up to you, but be assured all monies raised are spent solely on the project goals.