Community is the common thread connecting our daily activities. We learn, practice, and work together. Our space is kept running by sharing responsibilities. Our classes are casual and fun, taught in a circle on the floor. Our tailoring studio is a lively space full of noise, especially laughter.
By keeping enrollment numbers limited and inviting women to stay at LEC indefinitely, we have been able to create a close-knit family atmosphere at the centre. We bond through our various activities, whether it be sharing a meal in a cooking class, learning a new embroidery design or traveling out for study trips. In the past we have conducted home visits for some of our younger students to introduce their families to LEC and encourage their involvement in their daughter’s growth.
Our Sakhi brand seeks to represent that shared experience as well. The creations we make in our tailoring studio together are sold locally with the proceeds returning back to the women at LEC. Our creations are made in a close, intimate setting in our tailoring studio, and we constantly offer each other feedback on our work to continue improving our skills.
Once a month, we invite women from local Auroville units to join us for half-day expanded women’s groups. Here we host dialogues, play games, explore bodywork, create drum circles — anything that feels good and brings our community closer together.
Responding to the Root
When women are expected to stay at home, opportunities to socialize diminish. Girls who grew up in homes where they did housework instead of going to school often struggle with poor social skills as adults. Without healthy interaction with others, combined with a home life that can feel isolating, we see women feel unable to express themselves, understand their emotions and communicate with others. Group study trips have been a response to traditions that usually only allow women and girls to travel close to home and with family members. We also want to encourage a healthy relationship between Auroville and the surrounding villages that is mutually beneficial, which inspires our monthly group dialogues with local women.
In 2018 we hosted Connecting Threads, bringing together our students and other local women to share the joy of creativity. As a group, we created a beautiful quilt together which now hangs proudly in our main classroom.