KARUNA SUDDHAJALAM PROJECT
A Pioneering rainwater harvesting and aquifer recharging project, ‘Karuna Suddhajalam’ was launched by the Ashram in 1999. Under this, an unused quarry in front of the Ashram was acquired and converted into a rainwater harvesting dam. All the rainwater falling in the Ashram complex is harvested through a network of rain pits and drains and channeled into the mini dam. The project, with a storage capacity of five million litres, has helped to recharge the groundwater level in the surrounding areas and to revive several dry wells. The project, which serves as a model community based initiative in a water scarce area, received a national award from HUDCO.
HEALTH AND SANITATION DRIVE IN CHANDIROOR
In the 1990s, Santhigiri Ashram launched a multi-pronged community development initiative in Chandiroor village, covering health, environment, sanitation and social issues. A health survey done in the area had revealed that a large number of people were suffering from eczema and other skin diseases. The main cause of these diseases was the canal water, contaminated by the several prawn and shrimp processing units in the area. Santhigiri joined the local people to petition the state government against this health hazard, resulting in a landmark order to the units to instal effluent treatment measures. The Ashram also led a major drive for the cleaning up of the blocked and stagnant Chandiroor water canals.
COMMUNITY PROJECTS IN HERBAL CULTIVATION
Schoolil Oru Oushadhathottam Onnente Veetilum
[A Herbal Garden in My School and One at My Home Too]
Santhigiri Ashram is conducting this project in association with the Kerala Government for promoting the cultivation and protection of medicinal plants. The project, currently being implemented in Kerala, will be taken up on a National level also by the Ashram. Under this, the Ashram’s Agriculture Division helps in the soil survey of an area for herbal cultivation and also distributes herbal saplings free of charge in different schools. So far, the project has been implemented in the Wayanad, Kottayam and Thiruvananthapuram districts of Kerala with assistance from the Central Medicinal plant Board during 2005-07.
Ente Oushadha Gramam
(My Herbal Village)
Under this programme, the Ashram distributes medicinal saplings free of cost to farmers in nearby villages and also provides necessary assistance to them them for cultivation including supply of manure. The Ashram guarantees to buy back the medicinal plants for the use of the Ayurveda and Siddha Vaidyasala. The project has helped to spread awareness among the people on social forestation, medicinal plant cultivation and traditional healing systems.