Catalyst House

Gandhi For Children EarthDome Development Update

Originally Posted on the Gandhi For Children website:  AVANI Eco-Dome Development Update 2014

We have a composite of images & notes relating to the AVANI Domes progress…

Just in time for the monsoon rains last September, the exterior of the main dome structure at the five acre site was completed. The rains actually assisted in the curing and hardening process of the mud based plaster finish.*

Aruna and Mehndi at Gandhi CenterRegistering for College 
Aruna and Mehndi glance at a copy of the college admissions paperwork for the school of science and math. Aruna will be the first AVANI student to continue with her education past the 10th grade. She is determined to become a doctor.

Super Adobe Dome
The super adobe technique of sustainable construction has been around for hundreds of years. The method has been refined throughout the past 40 years to utilize simplified assembly so non-architects and non-engineers can build their own domes.

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Anuradha Bhosale on Castes, Religion and Her Sacred Mission

Anuradha Bhosale Interview by Lynnea BylundAnuradha Bhosale is a highly cherished hero to thousands of impoverished children and their families. Ms Bhosale is a renowned grassroots women’s rights and anti-child labor activist based in Kolhapur, India where more than 35,000 children are involved in daily labor for local industries. A former child-laborer herself at the age of six, she has spent the past 20 years fighting for the prevention of child exploitation, labor, trafficking, and female infanticide.

[note: This interview was first published at www.gandhiforchildren.org]

Owning to her heroism and accomplishments Anuradha has been called the ‘Bandit Queen of India’s Social Movement’, likened to India’s legendary ‘Bandit Queen’, Phoolan Devi who went from ordinary village woman to seasoned bandit of northern India and finally an elected member of Indian Parliament before being gunned down by unknown assassins.

As founder of the WCRC (Women and Child Rights Campaign), Anuradha has educated, trained and empowered thousands of widowed, divorced and deprived women in the rural areas of India to stand up and fight for their rights as allowed by the Indian constitution. 52,000 of them now receive some $714,000 in monthly government pension checks ro which they were previously unaware of being entitled.

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Cal-Earth Apprentices Arrive in Kolhapur India

Whitey at Cal-Earth

Excerpt from Whitey Flagg’s ShelterSpace blog

In September I returned to Southern California to begin my long-term apprenticeship at Cal-Earth.

– See also: Amazing SuperAdobe

I learned Super-adobe and many different types of foundations, flooring, plastering, waterproofing, and much more. I have been studying Permaculture for some time but was also able to participate in a PDC course and finally receive my certificate. As a bonus, this course ended with an unexpected visit from Geoff and Nadia Lawton who gave a one day lecture on “Greening the Mojave Desert”.

While I was teaching a workshop on how to build an emergency sandbag shelter, we received a visit from Lynnea Bylund of Catalyst House, a strategic alliance  consultancy, and her guest, Tushar Gandhi, great grandson of the Mahatma. Lynnea and Tushar sit on the Board of Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute, a benefactor of the AVANI Organization, which provides child labor rescue and women’s advocacy in India. Together, the two organizations are building a residence for children and an educational facility near the town of Kolhapur.

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The Amazing Cal-Earth SuperAdobe Building Method

Nader Khalili invented SuperAdobe

Nader Khalili – visionary, architect, teacher extraordinaire, humanitarian, super-adobe inventor, Rumi scholar.

I have had the pleasure of three visits to the incredible Cal-Earth Institute, in Hesperia California, in recent months.  Our visits have set the stage for Cal-Earth indigenous earth-bag building techniques to be utilized by the Gandhi Worldwide / AVANI Center in Kolhapur India.  The Cal-Earth story and that of its founder’s revolutionary building techniques deserve no small mention and appreciation.

The global need for housing includes millions refugees and displaced persons – victims of natural disasters and wars. Iranian architect, author, visionary and Rumi-Scholar Nader Khalili (1936-2008) believed that this need can be addressed only by using the potential of indigenous earth construction.

Khalili SuperAdobe renderingAfter extensive research into vernacular earth building methods in Iran, followed by detailed prototyping, Khalili developed the sandbag or ‘superadobe’ system.  The basic construction technique involves filling sandbags with indigenous (to a given area) earth and laying them in courses in a circular plan. The circular courses are corbelled near the top to form a dome. Barbed wire is laid between courses (creates a ‘velcro’ effect) to prevent the sandbags from shifting and to provide earthquake resistance. Hence the materials typically found of war – sandbags and barbed wire – are used for peaceful ends, integrating traditional earth architecture with contemporary global safety requirements in an organically aesthetic fashion.

Starting in 1982, Nader Khalili developed and tested the Superadobe prototype in California. In 1991 he founded the California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture (Cal-Earth), a non-profit research and educational organization that covers everything from construction on the moon and on Mars to housing design and development for the world’s homeless for the United Nations.

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