The Thamarai Project
Louise Horkan, a Year 3 Teacher and Lower School Curriculum Leader at GEMS Wellington International School visited India in Summer 2019 to work on the Thamarai project - a living experiment that fosters a harmonious relationship and healthy co-development; creating a new educational landscape for this developing area of India.
Thamarai (the Tamil word for lotus flower), stands for the values of fullest potential, wellbeing and empowerment. The project engages with the villages near the International township of Auroville with a series of informal educational sessions, including a daily playgroup for 30 children, an after school service for 60 children, a natural healthcare education programme, English lessons and an environmental programme with field trips.
Thamarai is not run as a typical night school but works on the overall holistic development of children with various components of arts, crafts, science, technology, culture and leadership interwoven, while also being a facility to support the children with their homework and coursework. These are children who may not get enough support from their families or schools to become successful and so the programme is further elaborated at weekends when children enjoy experiential learning at the Thamarai Saturday club and take part in educational field trips on Sundays.
Ms. Horkan visited the projects in July 2019 to help setup a phonics scheme for the children develop their English skills as well as pass on some teaching practices to those volunteering at the after school club.
I visited the projects in July 2019 to help support set up a phonics scheme for the children to follow to help develop their English skills as well as pass on some teaching practises to those volunteering at the after school club.
The foundations are currently being laid for a new learning center in nearby Annai Nagar Village. It has been a long term dream of Thamarai to have a permanent location for the educational projects for this village and to serve as a home base for projects in other villages. They have a construction team of local youth building the centre in alignment with the aspiration of building agency in youth and in tandem, who are developing a sports ground to support young women and men to engage in positive life-enhancing activities.