This summer was an exciting time as our Revolutionaries had many opportunities to share Kranti’s Social Justice Curriculum throughout India and Nepal. One of the Revolutionaries, Aparna, taught a series of sex education workshops for teenage girls at our partner NGO Project Crayons.
And we are happy to announce that her sex education class was not only shared with the youth of Project Crayons but also made international news! Via the NY Times and NDTV, Aparna was able to educate and inform the world about her ideas of safe sex, clear up misconceptions about pregnancy and menstruation, and discuss the hardships sex workers face when getting medical treatment. Please follow the link to read the article and watch Aparna's honest and candid lesson about sex education. http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/meet-aparna-mumbais-teenage-sex-educator/
Two of our Revolutionaries had an opportunity to volunteer and travel alone to various schools and NGOs. Laxmi volunteered at a rural school in Nepal—Maya Universe Academy—teaching Art and English to children. While Shweta, who passed her 12th board exams last spring and is currently taking a gap year, also traveled to Nepal, where she taught English to Buddhist monks and sex education to Nepali girls. Both Laxmi and Shweta returned return home in early August; Laxmi started 11th standard in arts, and Shweta took a few days to study for the TOEFL exam before departing for Jharkhand, where she volunteering with the Gender Resource Center in the city of Ranchi for the remainder of the month.
In August, Kranti partnered with a master’s level class at Mumbai’s Academy of Architecture, and our girls presented to the class and led small group discussions. The class is working in groups on different aspects of system design related to Kranti’s current space and planning for our future home. It was a very exciting experience for our girls, and we are looking forward to critiquing the students’ projects next month!
Kranti's search for land continues in Mumbai, a city with the one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world.
As we search for our future location, we are enjoying our time in the current flat, where we have secured the lease for one more year.
This week, we held the first Staff vs. Revolutionaries Field Day, which included an egg drop challenge. Both teams' eggs survived the fall from the 9th floor of the building! After many mental and physical challenges, with the scores for each teams tied, the day culminated with an intense game of capture the flag. Holding out for a tie breaker, we got so wrapped up that we didn't realize our water--which only comes on for a few hours in the mornings and evenings--was running and flooding our flat upstairs! We were greeted with water covering the main floors, so, in the end, the staff and revolutionaries worked together to clean the mess and prepare for dinner.
It's been a summer full of camps and educational excursions. The girls left this morning for their final summer adventure--a week-long camping adventure in the jungle. They will be doing all kinds of outdoor activities and have an opportunity to camp under the stars, far outside the lights of Mumbai.
Kranti welcomed a new Revolutionary to our home and family! Sheetal is 17 years old and she has come at the most exciting time. With many educational activities on the agenda and her firecracker personality she has settled right in with our other Revolutionaries!
In our last report we told we about Jaaga, an innovative architectural innovative the Kranti family visited and met.
Jaaga is a rack supported building. It is built primarily from heavy duty warehouse shelving components called pallet racks. Meant for supporting pallets of heavy material at multiple levels in a warehouse the pallet rack uprights support loads of 4 tons each and the beams support loads of 1.5 tons per pair. Pallet racks are readily available all over the planet. They can be assembled and modified easily with out the need of cranes or any other special equipment. In the Jaaga designs the buildings are free standing and do not require a significant foundation.
Jaaga agreed to design a pallet rack building for Kranti's too. This will be an eco-friendly building using solar energy to power lights, it will recycle water, have a compost pit and be insulated with a layer of vegetation on the outside. This building will also house Kranti's feminist cafe and bookstore, the profits of which will feed into our non-profit work of empowering marginalised women, and pushing us towards self-sustainability.
The designs have now come through and attached here for your eyes only!
The Kranti family visited Jaaga in Bangalore in few weeks back. Jaaga is a 100% eco-friendly and sustainable building designed by Freeman Murray. It uses solar power to meet all the electrical demands of a household, harvests rainwater, and produces bio-gas by composting biodegradable waste. The walls of the building are covered in plants that keep the indoors naturally insulated.
However, the best part about Jaaga is that it can be detached and rebuilt in a week's time! This is a perfect solution to our housing need. We have been unable to afford to buy land in Mumbai because of sky-rocketting real estate prices. But, now with Jaaga in the picture, we are looking to rent/lease land for a small amount of time, till the owner of the land is not developing the land, and setting up a Jaaga building on it. And when the owner of the land does want to develop the land, we will just move our house- in a week's time!
With Freeman, we have planned out that with a multiple-storey Jaaga building, we can build a 2300 square feet house on just 500 square feet of land. So, now, with our new partnership with Jaaga in place, we are on the look out to rent/lease 500 square feet of land.
Kranti’s quest for land continues. In the past three months we have looked at eight other plots of land, but nothing has matched the combination of price and location that Kranti needs.
Simultaneously we are exploring alternative housing options, like building out of pallet rack shelving, in collaboration with Jaaga, an organization which seeks to nurture innovative endeavors by providing space, core infrastructure, and a diverse social environment. They explore new ways of using pallet rack shelving to create a social and collaborative place for a wide range of forward thinking people. However, even to construct an innovative Jagaa home, we need land, and that’s where we hit a dead end. For pictures and to learn more about Jaaga, please check out their website http://www.jaaga.in/
We are currently considering land options in other Indian cities, like Kolkata and Bangalore, where real estate is comparatively cheaper. Ideally, we do not want to move from Mumbai, because all our networks are set up here, and Mumbai’s cultural vibrancy, which helps the Revolutionaries develop critical thinking through theater, alternative films, art exhibitions, concerts. However, we have given ourselves a deadline till the end of 2011. If by December 2011, we are still unable to buy land in a suitable location in Mumbai, we will consider the land options in other cities and orchestrate a move there.
We promise to keep you posted and are forever thankful for your support!
- Kranti and the Revolutionaries
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