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ARC Home > Projects > Sacred gifts :
Jains re-build village

INDIA: Jains build a sustainable community in earthquake village

During the devastating earthquake in the Indian state of Gujarat in January 2001, the village of Ninama was utterly destroyed and its 1,500 inhabitants left destitute.

The situation came to the attention of the Shree Raj Saubhag Satsang Mandal (RSSM), a Jain spiritual organisation whose Ashram is in the nearby village of Sayla. The head of the Ashram resolved to build a new village for these dislocated people. Though there was no existing connection between the village and the ashram, and none of the inhabitants are Jain, the ashram could not allow any soul to suffer from such a calamity in its neighbourhood.

In some places the devastation from the earthquake was absolute. Credit: CASA 2001
Eight London–based Jain groups (and one other), collectively known as The Gujarat Earthquake Relief Fund, responded to appeals from the Ashram to raise the necessary funds for the project.

The new village was built to embody social and environmental ideals, building 335 houses in landscaped clusters to promote communal living, with individual electricity and sanitation facilities. The building materials and house design are drawn from local tradition and thus embody local ecological wisdom. Water is supplied from an overhead water tank with distribution points spread across the village, and drainage is planned so as to avoid pools of water, breeding grounds for mosquitoes, and other causes of disease.

The project was offered as a Jain Sacred Gift in November 2002.

The Gujarat Earthquake Relief Fund and the RSSM are committed to the long–term development of the village, and future plans include the improvement of healthcare and educational facilities of the now re–named ‘Ladakpur’ village.

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