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March 08, 2007

About Anu and Krishna

History: Anu and Krishna are both architects and have worked for a long time in constructing houses in rural areas. We enjoyed talking to them about how they got interested in this field. 1988 was declared as the year of homes for the homeless (by the UN I think) and the theme for the annual architects meet was decided to be the same topic in 1987, in order to prepare for the main conference the next year. This exposed many of the students to the problems faced in the slum and rural areas and encouraged them to think about constructing houses using local materials etc. Anu and Krishna were deeply influenced by this conference and since then, they have been working with different NGOs, first with Gandhigram near Madurai and then with a group near Gudalur. Gandhigram has many cottage industries. They both worked on mud houses there. At Gudalur, they worked on teaching the tribals construction methods. Their goal was to make them self-reliant in some skills and to eventually empower the tribals so that their (Anu and Krishna) presence would not be needed. They worked with children who had dropped out of school and later, also spent time teaching younger children. They trainees were able to do estimating, draw out plans and analyze costs. How did they come to be at Sittilingi? Anu and Krishna’s friends, Regi and Lalita, doctors by profession, decided to move here in 1992 – 1993 since the place had poor human development statistics. They set up a hospital, called Tribal Health Initiative. Anu and Krishna were interested in working with the children in this area. After a year of travel to various such efforts in India, they moved to Sittilingi in 2003 - 2004 and Thulir was started.

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