Environmental interventions and renewable energy
Our new capacity in the use of solar energy has been a very important step forward that has given us the much-needed push towards self-sustenance. When we began cooking our three meals a day for over a hundred people on the solar cooker, we saved the cost of fifteen gas cylinders every month. Then, last year, we shifted all our baking too, to a solar bakery when a solar oven was built in-house with the support of volunteers from St Ignatius, Sydney, NSW, Australia. This has made a HUGE difference in our ability to try a great variety of food which is not only healthy but also very delightful and exciting for the children as well as the kitchen staff. It is FUN and also quite economical to try out pizzas (healthy versions, of course!) and cookies and biscuits and other wonderful Indian-baked products in our solar bakery now. With our entire campus run on solar power, the electricity bills that ranged from 20000Rs to sometimes 40000Rs per month have become a dreaded thing of the past.
We are expanding our activities in order to be closer to Nature, to save the environment and be as self- sustainable as possible. We grow our own vegetables, the vegetable and food waste is fed to pets and cattle, their waste goes to the biogas plant and what finally emerges makes the perfect organic manure for our vegetables and crops.
Water scarcity has always been a threat and a challenge in the desert state of Rajasthan. The water- harvesting project was also started in January, again with the support of students from St. Ignatius, NSW, Australia. A rainwater collection pond was built which has collected 300,500 liters of water this monsoon. Such a vast quantity of precious water would have simply disappeared were it not for this pond. What an amazing blessing! This water will now be used for growing vegetables via drip irrigation for at least the next six months. This will enable us to grow more crops and more trees every year. We are also saving approximately 31,500 liters of water per month by using dry mud to clean the plates and other kitchen utensils. This is an age-old rural method, still widely practiced in desert districts of Rajasthan.
Our campus is a ‘No Plastic Zone’ now and visitors have to pay a penalty if they carry or leave plastic bottles behind. We are trying to be a zero-waste community, leaving no carbon foot-print and thus we are not only taking care of the children of today, but are committed to leaving a better world for tomorrow’s children.
Our major supporters in helping us become self-sustained are Give Foundation, St. Ignatius, Riverview, NSW, Australia, Mr. Manoj Bhojwani, The Netherlands.