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environmental protection Archives | Educate for Life

Digging the fact that the well digging is going on well…

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I’m extremely happy to be able to share that we have started digging a well at Hunar Ghar. In our village all people take water from wells and hand pumps – there is no piped water or reservoir. Unfortunately we live in an extremely dry area, so outside of the three months of the monsoon and post-monsoon period there is water scarcity. This is very limiting in our desired to do agriculture with the children, not to mention Sakuribai and her team are required to bring water for 120 children each day from quite a long distance – no easy task.

The well at Hunar Ghar means we will be able to have clean water for using in the toilets, so children can wash themselves and their hands, bringing new levels of hygiene. We will be able to sustain all our fruit trees and flowers and vegetables through drip irrigation which is to be provided by the Rotary Club. It will also massively reduce the burden on Sakuribai to bring water, enabling the children to take on the role of greater responsibility in the care of their school by each class getting water from the well themselves. Lastly, construction will be easier and cheaper, as we won’t have to import water to mix the mud for walls. I’m also sure that exciting new possibilities will come up through ready access to water.

This will all be linked in with our rainwater harvesting system. We already capture a high amount of rainwater, and this capturing capacity will increase with the introduction of the well.

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Digging the well inside the school boundaries. 

Scheffler comes to Hunar Ghar, and his reflectors are to follow

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I’ve had my fingers crossed all week. Why? Because I was hoping that Wolfgang Scheffler would come to Hunar Ghar to advise us on our solar cookers.   And it turns out it was worth it! Along with Stephen from the Global Hospital, he Heike and the rest of his sun-tracking gang came yesterday. We identified where to put up to 4 solar reflectors for cooking. We’ll start with two, and then we can expand to four later.

Solar cooking is really important to us for several reasons. The first is that in sunny Rajasthan it is a limitless source of free energy. Secondly, we normally cook on wood and deforestation is becoming a bit of a problem here. We’ll burn hundreds less trees over the coming decade as a result of having solar reflectors. Third, it helps in the definition of our intention to try and innovate in rural development using the most sustainable methods available, as well as acting to inspire all our students and potentially community with solar energy and make it seem that solar cooking is the norm, not more environmentally degrading alternatives.

So what’s the timeline for this excitement? We’ll ask Teddy to map the area where we plan to put the reflectors when he comes in March. This map will be sent to Heike and Wolfgang, and they’ll advise in where to order appropriate reflectors from as well as where to put the foundations for the reflectors in. The reflectors will then be made to order in Maharastra, sent here, and hopefully we’ll be cooking using sunlight by the end of the summer (although that is just me guessing, I have no idea how long it will take for them to make and send the order).

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The man himself, pretending to dance like and Iberian

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No solar reflectors …

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… an artist’s impression of what Hunar Ghar will look like with Scheffler solar reflectors.

Hunar Ghar integrated development developments

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Yesterday Deepak, Neha and I had a bit of a brilliant day. In the morning we went up to see Stephen, an old friend who works at the Global Hospital in Mount Abu. Global Hospital is run by the Brahma Kumaris, and is a very high quality charity orientated hospital. He’d set up a meeting between us and Dr. Pratap, who is responsible for the hospital’s activities in the surrounding communities. Neha and Deepak had met with him before, and Neha had written a fab proposal for him about a partnership between the hospital, Educate for Life, and the Bakhel community, and we’d gone to discuss next steps.

The long and short of it is that the three stake holders will be forming a partnership. The Global Hospital, in collaboration with RNT hospital in Udaipur which specialises in community health, will be pre-testing, intervening and post-testing consistently and iteratively on 5 health issues: diarrhea, immunisation, malnutrition, respiratory diseases and anaemia. They will also provide basic health training to all our teachers to help them act people who can flag up people in the community who potentially need support in these areas. I also intend to talk to the local government health workers and have them receive this training too, so we can help them have more ongoing training and support and perform their work to a higher quality, as well as build them into our team and connection with the hospitals.

In the afternoon we went to see Heike and Wolfgang of Solare Brucke. Wolfgang developed the Sheffler reflector (his surname is Scheffler) , an efficient parabolic reflectic disc and sun tracking system used for capturing solar heat energy. We’ve been wanting to have a solar cooker at Hunar Ghar for years, since it’s beginning 5 years ago, but they are hard to comeby and organise for a cooking capacity of 150 students. But if you want to be able to cook for a lot of people, Wolfgang and Heike are your people; we met them in Abu Road on one of their current projects – construction of a 1Mega Watt solar power plant which will provide all energy needs for a community of around 15,000 people. They have already installed a solar kitchen that cooks for up to 30,000 people a day.

Hunar Ghar is small fry in comparison, but it’s the beginning of a larger network of developmental initiatives and intentions.  We discussed our need and we’ve invited them to Hunar Ghar tomorrow to come and check out our setup and how to go about installing the dishes.

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Deepak reflected in a small solar cooker.

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Fixtures ready for the solar dishes to be attached

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Deepak in front of a Sheffler reflector