The history of L.E.C. | 1991 - 2000
In 1991, L.E.C. was born. Most important basis was to create a centre to work for social change and poor people.
In the villages around Auroville, young children were just hanging around, doing nothing, all day long.
Life in the village was a complete puzzle to what the ‘foreigner’ could see/experience. Many sponsored programmes were failing because of different views and opinions about how to work with poor people in the villages. Also many Aurovilians (residents of Auroville) were not deeply aware of this. L.E.C. decided to work with ‘untouchable’ children, mainly focused on education. The original aim was to train these children for Auroville-jobs.
These young boys and girls were invited to come and make a choice themselves what they wanted to learn. It started very simply, in front of a big tree in Kottakarai Farm of Auroville; the first 10-12 students came - introverted, it was difficult to find out what they really liked to learn. They were suffering from a lack of physical coordination and energy. At first the main subjects were: meeting with their fears, their way of perception, ways of speaking, relations. This was done by physical games, dancing & jumping. Every day the students had to say 10 words in Tamil and 10 words in English. Also all the students worked one hour a day in the garden to practice simple agriculture. As they were free to make a choice what they wanted to learn, repairing bicycles, tailoring and knitting were also added on the programme.
Some basic rules of behavior were introduced, like in boy-scouting. For example, how to behave themselves and not to use violence. This, in fact did not lead to better behavior in the village: reports of bad behaviour showed how two students beat up a woman very badly on the road!
Attendance registers that used thumb impressions were started. Many children, filled in the list and would disappear (to go home, movies, Pondy), as they were not used to being ‘tied’ down to a school; daily attendance was just a formality for them in their old schools, but it did not mean they attended the sessions. An instructor for tailoring came, and tailoring machines also, financed by the government. One full meal a day was provided for each student, and also once a year some cloth for making a dress/trousers for each student. A gas-stove was bought.
Zerina – Coordinator
Harini – Executive
Marijke – Executive
Sylvia – English
Amar – English
– Fashion Design
– Teacher Training
– Auroville Liaison
Situated in Tamil Nadu in South India, near Pondicherry, Auroville is an experimental laboratory in the evolution of mankind. One of the many aims of Auroville is to promote development in the local bioregion – be it environment, technology, material and social change, leading towards a change in consciousness.
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