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No stops anywhere, after Gandhi[continued]

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The work in progress:

Timbaktu's conviction is that the Women-Children-Environment linkage is the development molecule that builds everything else. Mary has been organising women in neighbouring villages. There are over 7,000 members in the numerous women thrift groups managing a capital of over Rs.1 crore.

In the Timbaktu campus is a delightful school for children of the villages. It is residential, with children going home only every three or four weeks. There, Subbaraju inculcates the inquiring spirit and young lady teachers, the spirit of fun. Care for environment is woven into every activity. It is totally free. Timbaktu's education programme extends to several visitors to its seminars and workshops to share experiences in development.

To a casual visitor, their idea of development may be puzzling. There is no electricity or running water. Nights are lit by 12v bulbs running on batteries charged by solar panels. This, 14 years after Timbaktu began. Of course the smiles are broader, tempers even, the nights heady with fragrance and the campus alive with birds and small game. But if these don't count, take this for a progress report for ten years work:

Until rains in 2004 broke it, Rayalaseema was going through a 3 year long drought. By 2003, villagers everywhere were selling their cattle to slaughterers. But not the 8 villages where the Samakya has a unit. They had more fodder than they could use. From the 8,000 acres on the Kalpavalli under regeneration, close to 7,000 cart loads of fodder were carried away by 3,000 farmers in 40 villages of Roddam, Ramagiri, Chennakothapalli and Penukonda mandals. Farmers even came from Thirumali in neighbouring Karnataka state. Additionally, the hills welcomed 40,000 starving sheep from 23 villages. The regenerating hills had yielded Rs 27.50 lakhs of produce, and over 34,000 work-days of employment. There was enough water in Mushtikovila to raise a short-term native paddy that uses less water than miracle seeds.

In far Timbaktu, a different slide-rule is in use to compute development. This can factor in, the hills' green patina.


Timbaktu Collective
Chennakothapalli Village - 515101
Anantapur District, AP
Phones: [8559] 24-335; 240149; 240337;
email: ;

Chennakothapalli, the village closest to Timbaktu, is 100 km from Anantapur on the Anantapur-Bangalore highway.

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