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Chembakolli – a village in India

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1 Chembakolli – a village in India
Housing and homes Aims: To explore different types of housing in Chembakolli To understand how Adivasi communities are trying to improve housing provision in and around Chembakolli This PowerPoint looks at houses in and around Chembakolli. It touches on some challenges Adivasis are facing around housing as well as steps they are taking to improve conditions. Drawings that Adivasi children have done of their homes are included – these were produced during a lesson on homes at Vidyodaya school in nearby Gudalur.

2 Chembakolli is one of many Adivasi (tribal) villages in the forest around the Nilgiri Hills, south India. There are over 100 houses, connected by paths winding up and down the valley. Adivasi housing is similar across the villages. There are four main types of housing in villages like Chembakolli. Questions to kick off initial discussion: What is different/similar about these houses? Can you tell what the different houses are made of? What do you think are the benefits and drawbacks of each type of house? Remember what the climate is like in this area. Explain that we’ll find out more as we go through the PowerPoint

3 This is an Adivasi house in Chembakolli.
Question: What do you think it’s like to live in the forest? Traditionally walls of Adivasi houses were built using small wooden materials and sticks. The walls were then plastered with mud. Question: Why do you think Adivasis use mud to make their walls? (Answer: to make the walls stronger and more durable, and mud is a readily available material.) Photograph: ACCORD/AMS/ACTIONAID

4 Adivasi houses used to have just one room where everything happened like this one but nowadays more and more houses are built with at least two rooms and a verandah outside. Houses are mainly used to store belongings and sleep in. People live outside the house most of the time. Question: What do you think it’s like to live here? Photograph: ACCORD/AMS/ACTIONAID

5 Thatched roof In the past, most roofs of Adivasi houses were built like this one. Do you know the name of this type of roof? Question: What do you think the roof is made of? Where do you think the material came from? (Answer: a special type of grass from the forest) Note: In this photo you can see the method of using mud to plaster the walls. Photograph: ACCORD/AMS/ACTIONAID Thatched roof

6 Verandah Question: Do you know what this part of the house is called? The verandah has always been an important part of Adivasi houses. Adivasis spend the majority of their time outside their home, and the verandah is where families and friends come together to spend time. Cooking also often takes place in the verandah (or inside the house when it is raining). Photograph: ACCORD/AMS/ACTIONAID

7 Each village has a sacred house or temple
Each village has a sacred house or temple. This is the Kattunayakan temple in the village of Venna, near Chembakolli. Photograph: ACCORD/AMS/ACTIONAID

8 Thatching a roof Most Adivasi houses were built with a thatched roof but to protect the forest over the years, the government hasn’t allowed people to collect wood and roofing grass from many parts of the forest. This means many Adivasis have had to look into new ways of building roofs. Adivasi houses can now be divided into four main types, based on what the roofs are made of: thatched / tiled / metal sheet / concrete. The next slides show the different types. Photograph: ACCORD/AMS/ACTIONAID

9 Tiled roof Photograph: ACCORD/AMS/ACTIONAID Tiled roof

10 Metal sheet roof Photograph: ACCORD/AMS/ACTIONAID Metal sheet roof

11 Concrete roof Concrete roof
The government is now funding some housing for Adivasis. It mainly provides concrete for roofs, like the one on this house. Concrete roofs are strong but can cause problems for Adivasis as they don’t have the skills or equipment to repair them. Also, houses with concrete roofs don’t let the air through, which has health implications as germs are easily spread. During the monsoon season Adivasi families have to cook inside which means there is nowhere for the smoke to go. Adivasis would prefer not to build concrete roofs. What do you think are the best types of housing to live in? (see next slide) Photograph: ACCORD/AMS/ACTIONAID Concrete roof

12 Tiled roof Some Adivasis think that the tiled roof houses are best as it’s easy for people to build on their own, they’ll be able to look after it and replace broken parts. Almost all the families will be able to look after the walls as long as they’re build with mud bricks. Mud walls are best for this area as they can be kept clean easily and replastered when it’s needed. Tiles can stay on much longer than thatched roofs and last longer in the monsoon rains. Photograph: ACCORD/AMS/ACTIONAID Tiled roof

13 Low-cost tiled house made using Adivasi design
Housing today Housing today As it is now illegal to collect wood and other materials from many parts of the forest, Adivasi communities have to find new ways of building homes and repairing existing ones. This means that in many Adivasi communities more than one family live together in one house. Adivasi village leaders are working together to improve housing in and around Chembakolli by campaigning for more funding from government, as well as making sure that the government provides local materials. What does campaigning mean? They are also training young Adivasi people in new ways of building using local materials, which don’t cost a lot to build. These people are being shown how to make soil cement blocks (above). Photographs: ACCORD/AMS/ACTIONAID Low-cost tiled house made using Adivasi design Soil cement block making

14 Manju’s drawing of a thatched roof house
Illustration used with permission from ACCORD/AMS ‘My name is Manju. I am 9 years old and I live in the village of Chembakolli. I live with my mother, father, sister and brother. The roof of our house is made of grass. The walls are made of sticks. We have two rooms. We sleep and cook inside the house’.

15 Madhan’s drawing of a tiled roof house
Illustration used with permission from ACCORD/AMS ‘My name is Madhan. I am 9 years old and I live in Kodamoola. I live with my father, mother and brother. My roof is made of tiles and the walls are made of stone. There are three rooms. There are no windows. We eat and sleep inside the house’.

16 Ashwini’s drawing of a metal sheet roof.
Illustration used with permission from ACCORD/AMS ‘My name is Ashwini. I am 7 years old and I live in Kanchikolli. I live with my father, mother and sister Ashwathi. My house is made of cement. The roof is made of metal sheets. Our house has four rooms and four windows’.

17 Chembakolli: life and change in an Indian village (3rd edition)
From Bangalore to Chembakolli: a journey through South India Further information & materials: Chembakolli photopacks, CD-Roms, storybooks and more (above) on sale in ActionAid’s online schools shop: Live Chembakolli blog and free downloadable resources on the ActionAid website: More information on the Adivasi communities and ACCORD here: More information on the work of ActionAid here: The Chembakolli story Five years in Chembakolli CD-Rom

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