Sarang is a center for learning sustainable lifestyle. The main campus, located on a remote hilltop, has been developed into a live textbook for environmental re-generation, soil regeneration, watershed management and natural farming.
From 1983, many people from around the world have been coming and staying at Sarang to learn natural farming, simple environmental solutions and educational practices. Visitors and volunteers have helped us get a better understanding of different sustainable practices around the world.
For the past few years, Gopalakrishnan and Vijayalekshmi, the founders of the school have relocated to the satellite-campus for the student’s art studies. The growing alternative school has 9 children, living & learning together.
Gautham, the couple’s son, and his wife Anuradha were supporting the school with their income from various works. In June 2013 their tiny family, including 3 year old Hiranya and 6 month old Parthan returned to the farm. Everyone at the satellite center will be back in an year or two after reaching a certain level in their studies. Gautham and Anuradha are trying to create living spaces and other infrastructure by the time the main team returns to the farm.
Your help is appreciated either at the main campus, at the satellite center or both, according to your convenience and preferences.
Volunteering at the Satellite Center
- Helping the students in spoken English
- Helping in chores
- Helping with their newsletter or any such material
Eating and Sleeping
All three meals and occasional herbal tea along with everyone in the family. The food will be vegetarian. You might get normal tea or coffee here. You will have a room on your own with common / attached bathroom.
Volunteering at the main campus
Currently the following are the priority areas where we need help:
- Cooking and cleaning
- Construction – with wood, pressed mud blocks and clay
- Making pressed mud blocks
- Digging a well
- Removing silt from the check-dams and percolation pits
- Make a live fence with different plants
- Farming (once we are done with the fence)
Eating, Sleeping, Bathing and other things
Food is rice based and home-cooked. Food will be very simple and basic since currently we don’t have anything growing in the farm. Occasionally we have eggs or fish in the menu. If you need to snack in between, keep yourself stocked from the small town 7 kilometers away. We don’t provide tea or coffee at the main campus, and the nearest tea shop is 20 minutes away by foot, if its a must for you.
Potable water is from a rainwater harvesting tank. Boiled and cooled water will be available for drinking. Because of the severe draught of 2012, it is a scarce commodity and has to be used wisely. For bathing and washing clothes, all will have to walk down to the river a kilometer away.
As of August 2013 a single cottage is available for volunteers, where 4-5 people can sleep. There are no beddings or coat. We can provide mats. However a sleeping bag is a must. Mud pit toilets are there; a way of enriching the soil. We might have a compost toilet soon.
Electricity and Internet
The main house is powered with a Solar Electric System which takes care of all energy needs. Most mobile networks are available, so you can stay connected. We use a GPRS connection for our work on the internet but this cannot be offered to visitors unless in an emergency. Internet facility, if needed, will have to be availed from the nearest town about 7 Kilometers away.
Both the campuses run on our income from web designing and other small jobs, not on external funds. This is why we charge a fee of INR 200/day for your accommodation and INR 150/head/day for food.
Essentials for happy living at Sarang
- Ability to communicate in Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi or English.
- A broad mind to understand and respect our customs, manners and practices.
- Avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs while you are with us. We have a very strict policy regarding this.
- Loose fitting cotton clothes which cover your body adequately are appropriate for our climate and culture.
- Since we use a minimum of furniture, enjoy sitting cross-legged on the floor and sleeping on mattresses or sleeping bags.
Hands and minds to share the work of building a truly sustainable center for learning are welcome.