Johannes Kuchle lives by one ideology – to make the world ‘green’ and a self-sustainable place. So when he came from Germany on his second visit to India last year he had a mission – to work on a simple yet effective model of biogas plant at ‘Balamitra’, school project run by Samata in Dabbanda on the city outskirts.

Johannes’ first trip to India was in 2009 when he came to volunteer as a teacher in ‘Balamitra’. The school’s idea of an alternate learning method for tribal children and its endeavour to be a self-sustainable unit brought him back to the organisation last year.

After working for more than six months, the first step towards his dream of a ‘clean and green’ energy project is achieved with a biogas plant on the campus. “I came back to work on a biogas and solar project. My idea was to make the campus green and self-sustainable. I made this is a small biogas converter that supports the kitchen unit,” says Johannes. Electricity generated within the campus is from solar energy. The project was supported by a German cosmetic firm, which produces natural and eco-friendly products. Incidentally, Germany leads the world in solar power production. “We contacted the Germany company, which agreed to fund a part of the solar project for Rs 5 lakh,” he added. Johannes along with two French volunteers also made a vermicompost unit.

Nestled amidst the verdant landscapes of the Eastern Ghats in Dabbanda, the campus of ‘Balamitra’ is today a perfect example of sustainable development.

The brainchild of social activist Rebbapragada Ravi, Balamitra is a school project that was started in 2004 providing an alternative to mainstream education for ‘adivasi’ (tribal) children who live in the hills and forests of Andhra Pradesh. Run by Samata, the school is situated in a farm land in Dabbanda. In tune with its natural ambience, the campus is built from local eco-friendly material which houses the Balamitra school with its 40 children.

The organisation also practises organic farming culture and cultivates rice, fruits, and vegetables like tomato, onion, beans and bitter gourd at its campus in Dabbanda.

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