The Auroville Resource Mobilisation Group
Since the completion of the Matrimandir main structure in 2008, Auroville has been focussing on the planning, development and construction of the actual City. Plans for basic infrastructure (water, electricity, roads, waste management) as well as basic amenities (like health & dental clinics, schools), provisions for industrial development etc, were researched in-depth and gradually matured into concrete development blueprints.
Faced with the enormity of the cost involved, and realising the need to start “thinking big”, the Working Committee of the Auroville Residents’ Assembly constituted in September 2011 the Auroville Resource Mobilisation Group, responsible for raising funds for Auroville's development.
We here introduce the three long-term Aurovilians who agreed to take on this challenging task:
Carel Thieme is a Dutch national who has been living in Auroville since 1986. He became interested in the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother in the early 1970’s, while working as a corporate lawyer for a multinational company in The Netherlands. He helped found the umbrella organisation ‘Auroville International’ as well as ‘Auroville International The Netherlands’, for both of which he served as chairman for a number of years. In that capacity he was responsible for ordering the crystal sphere for the Matrimandir’s Inner Chamber. He also created ‘Stichting Aurofonds’, a foundation to publish Sri Aurobindo’s and The Mother’s works in Dutch and support Auroville.
After joining Auroville, Carel worked at the Matrimandir and co-founded the magazine Auroville Today, of which he is still one of the editors. He later served as member of a number of Working Committees and chaired various working groups such as the Funds and Assets Management Committee and Auroville Planning and Development Council.
Hemant Lamba hails from New Delhi, India. In 1991 he came to “participate in the adventure of Auroville,” as he says, after completing his graduate studies in Economics and Small Business Entrepreneurship from Delhi University. A passionate believer in renewable energy, he co-founded AuroRE (Auroville Renewable Energy) in 1998 in order to develop, train and promote small businesses supplying solar energy to rural areas. Over the years, AuroRE has successfully executed renewable energy projects in 16 states of India and in the process spawned several renewable energy entrepreneurs. The work was so successful that in 2004, AuroRE won the £30,000 Ashden Award for Enterprise (Green Oscar) for its triumph in acting as a catalyst for small-scale solar businesses across India. In the words of one of the judges: “These are the guys who make solar happen.” For AuroRE, Hemant received the award from HRH Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and Sir David Attenborough. In 2010, he has taken new direction in his work of policy advocacy and advisory to expand the scope of work of decentralised renewable energy in India. Currently Hemant is the chief liaison of the collective of all 17 Ashden Award winners in India.
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