Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh often makes headlines for the wrong reasons. Crippling drought and mass migration for employment are common and even subsistence agriculture is difficult. But in the remote hamlet of Tekulodu, tucked away from civilization, a group of people are determined to turn it around
Spread across over 12 acres, ProtoVillage was started in 2010 with the idea to turn a hamlet into a role-model rural community that is ecologically sustainable and economically viable.
"We wanted to design a trade model that does three things: it should earn money because it becomes an incentive for people to replicate. Second, it should be a trade system that actually brings people together instead of breaking them apart. Third principle is a trade system that nurtures and nourishes soil, air and water while being economically beneficial to people and safeguard the soil, air and water and to pass it on for generations to come," says Kalyan Akkipedi, who came to Tekulodu and started ProtoVillage.
Nearly 10 years since inception, Proto Village is still a work in progress. With a wind turbine and solar panels, the village is also off the grid.
Kalyan says that ProtoVillage's education system, dubbed Maya Bazaar, is in the process of developing a curriculum where conventional subjects such as Math and Science are used as tools to teach children essential everyday skills such as making bricks to charting their own calender.
There are 12 families living in Protovillage currently, and everyone contributes to building and growing it in one way or another.
"India has 650-plus districts and each waiting for its own role model rural community, the way rural villages ought to be. And we imagine at least 650 role model rural communities set up and they should make the language of rural resilience easy and they should make it really popular and fashionable. And through this particular example village that weâ€™re building we call proto-village, the whole idea is to show that such a life is actually possible," Kalyan adds.
Watch the video below.