Established in 1983, AVAG is an NGO committed to integrated grassroots community building with the villages surrounding Auroville in Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu. AVAG offers an integrated and multifaceted programme that promotes solidarity and cooperation, and illuminates issues of gender and caste discrimination, which underlie the traditional social and economic structures of the villages.
Through a well established network of women’s and men’s Self Help Groups (SHGs), AVAG implements programmes across the four critical areas of community development, economic development, capacity building and psychosocial services with approx 4,000 villagers. The component programmes offered by AVAG include: micro-finance, micro-projects and collective work camps, capacity building training and seminars for villagers, psychological and physical health initiatives, environmental awareness, livelihood training and social enterprise development, expansion of legal access for women and children confronted with human rights abuses, caste integration exchange programmes, and exposure trips.
The Village Action Group grew into many activities, and eventually became the Village Action Trust, an umbrella for many of Auroville’s outreach projects under the Auroville Foundation, with Village Action Group one of several units under the Trust.
The main activities of AVAG today are described below:
1. Background on Auroville and its relation to the villages
Since Mother enunciated the goal of achieving 'an actual Human Unity" and the villagers sold much of their land to Auroville, the relation between Auroville and the villages has evolved.
2. Community organization
Helping villagers to form self-help groups that organise themselves for community improvement is building up a new community structure, in which all voices are heard.
3. Women's Empowerment
Traditionally oppressed, women are organising themselves for community development and at the same time gaining status in the community organisation.
4. Dalit Development
The former "untouchables" are also getting organised for the development of their "colonies" and at the same time being included in the general development of the area.
5. Development strategy
As can be seen, AVAG is evolving a comprehensive programme for sustainable community organisation. AVAG works with women, but also with men, it works with dalits, but also with the caste villages, it works with children and also with teachers and parents, it works with the poorest and also with the leaders of the village. All these programmes have recently been consolidated into a strategy for the next five years.
Auroville Village Action Group welcomes interest in and support of its projects. It receives funds from internationally recognised funding agencies, the Government of India and individual donors. The Central Audit General of India annually audits accounts. We are especially happy when social work students come for several months experience. If you would like know more about Village Action, or to offer your services, or your financial participation, you can contact us at:
Ph. 0413-2678871 or 2678872
Irumbai Main Road
Irumbai 605111, Tamil Nadu, India