“Some lose all mind and become soul, insane. Some lose all soul and become mind, intellectual. Some lose both and become accepted”
This saying of Charles Bukowski was the first thing that came to my mind after the presentation of Karthikeyan, the founder and the director of “Sirsti Village.”
Sirsti Village is trying to establish a self-sustainable, inclusive and eco-friendly village, which provides a family atmosphere where people with intellectual disability and the marginalized could be equally active contributors.
Karthikeyan who spent 15 years in an orphanage, mentioned in his speech how when he grew older and left the orphanage, a part of the mainstream “normal” folk found jobs and felt integrated into society, while his intellectually disabled siblings were still not accepted and were treated with pity rather than empathy in the society. This behavior of underestimating the ability of his friends and brothers as he insisted calling them, motivated him to start the “Sirsti Foundation”.
Since we arrive to Auroville we had the chance to meet and explore a world of extraordinary projects of sustainable development and passionate innovators with complete realization of environment and human beings. Sirsti Village was able to raise several questions in my mind: firstly the relation between sustainability and social responsibility when we address a sensitive and critical issue as the disabled and marginalized people in India and many developing countries. Secondly, the potential connection between a nobel purpose and a sustainable project. Thirdly, the necessity of creating a sustainable project in the case of Sirsti Village as an effective and suitable strategy or as a supportive policy for fundraising.
Without a hesitation, Sirsti Village was my first choice of the organizations that I would like to work with, not only because of all the mentioned queries, but also because of the deep stories that Karthikeyan was not able to tell in a 30 minutes presentation. The stories that we could imagine with conditions of life to an intellectual disabled person in any context and anywhere on this planet.
My colleague Martin from Linnaeus University and I who chose Sristi Village to work with have the opportunity to visit the village.
We arrived to the main office of the foundation which is 40 Km far from Auroville to find Karthikeyan waiting us with the members of the village and the volunteers. We had a real and effective discussions regarding our contribution to the foundation, the stories of the members with a lot of joyful and optimistic comments of Karthikeyan. Every member in the village has a unique story to tell and that is what suddenly give you a new relation with a project or a work. It is not only the visual project that we are supposed to produce at the end, it is a position of responsibility when it comes to a project that you believe in and you really care about the people who you work with and who essentially trust you. Therefore, the most memorable idea that sticks to my mind at the end of the visit is the understanding of the social context that generates these projects and the recognition of the importance of the human being existence as an end and not a mean in the process of sustainable development generally.