This Project is a YouthLink initiative to transform Dreamers into Makers, and to manifest Ideas into Matter. In other words, it is a Makers’ Lab, a Low-Tech Lab, an Autonomy Lab, a DIY Lab and a Fab Lab. Maybe these concepts don't make any sense to you, but you might one day meet a person who will ask you “Hey, do you have a Makers’ Lab in Auroville? Where can I find it?” This article is here to explain these concepts, so that you know what to answer.
The Youth we meet here in Auroville give us a feeling of rejecting the classical world, this world we all come from. These Youth who come from outside, from a world governed by the power of money and individualism, that seems to be reaching the limits of its insane expansion, are looking for something new, a new world. Many of them are expressing the need to live what the first pioneers of Auroville experienced. From our perspective, one of the most fantastic aspects of this pioneers’ period is that they were doing everything themselves: farming, foresting, building, cooking, harvesting water, educating children, treating diseases… in few words: they were taking care of their own basic needs together – and with very little money. The real wealth was the local resources and the qualities and skills of all these humans gathered to build the world of tomorrow.
A PLACE FOR DREAMERS TO BECOME MAKERS
THE PAKKA BOX
Can you visualize it? We do, but only in our hearts for now. We hope to very soon have a location where this dream can be manifested. We plan to start with a pilot project to help people better understand how this initiative can really be of use for Auroville and its youth. Our start-up project is a “tiny house”(another current movement in the word, of going back to tiny, and simple). The idea is to build, in a very short time, a very low cost but elegant tiny house that will be movable or dismountable. We are inspired by Johnny, from Fertile, who has put all his experience and skills into building such houses, adapted to this environment, and to a small budget. This prototype would allow young people to build their house in Auroville themselves, for less than one lakh.
And let’s envision further, and introduce economical concepts of sharing, fraternity and gifting. For each tiny house we would build, the costs would be shared between all the beneficiaries of the asset: the Volunteer, Newcomer, or Aurovilian who would live there; the Unit at which they work; the community hosting the tiny house; Auroville at large, welcoming a new contributor in the community; and donors willing to support the development of Auroville.
Another idea we have is to combine our energy with other amazing initiatives in Auroville, such as Kinisi, by developing the concept of an “e-Tiny House”: a low-energy house with a self-sufficient system. If you read the “Joy of Impermanence” article in this issue, you will see how the Dream-Makers’ Lab would support the initiative of JOI to provide space for new communities and people who want to live a simple life and serve the community. When we work together, everything becomes possible – Waaa! You get sustainable, tiny houses in no time, and with so little money, for many young people! – we can manifest any crazy idea into matter, and meet the needs of our community. A (tiny) new World is (simply) possible! And needed. Will you join and help?
Nowadays, many young people experience the benefits of so much work realized in the last fifty years, but barely recognize it. Nevertheless, they thrive to put themselves close to Nature, attempt to understand it, embrace it, and live in harmony with it. The Dream-Makers’ Lab (we are still looking for a name – your suggestions are welcome!) initiative aims to create a space in which the current generation of Dreamers can go back to basics and meet their own needs. It would provide the tools, materials and knowledge for them to manifest their ideas and become Makers.
It is not a coincidence that this movement to revive the spirit of pioneers that was embodied in the early days of Auroville is pushing to manifest itself again. People all around the world are expressing their wish to go back to basics and relearn how to do things themselves. This is called the “Makers’ Movement”, and it is international – and as Auroville always does, we mirror, and have prefigured this phenomenon on our lands. Beside the desire to return to Nature and a more simple life, the project responds to a practical level of need. Very simply, it has become very difficult for young people with little savings to live in Auroville. The cost of living is not easy to bear, especially when it comes to housing. How many times have you heard people complaining about their difficulties in finding affordable houses in Auroville? This is something essential for our community to address if we want to have more young people joining the dream of Auroville. Combined with the concept of DIY, which stands for “Do It Yourself”, the Dream-Makers’ Lab aims to help tackle this challenge by empowering youth to build their own houses, like the pioneers did in the early days.
So, now: imagine a space which looks like a large open workshop full of tools and materials with people ready to share their knowledge. You can meet experts and artists in wood carving, in metal modeling, in architecture design, in color flow, in mechanic maze, in leaf weaving… Everyone is welcome to contribute to an amazing, living toolkit! It operates on two essential principles: it is accessible to anyone who wishes to transform their dreams into matter, and they must do it themselves. It is a “manufactory” for dreamers who have dreamt to use their hands but never had the appropriate tools or knowledge.
Pakka Box team
Marie, Melodie, Michael, Pierre & Camille
(with a huge support from YouthLink and Debo Kinisi Cycles)