The Community Centre will provide a focal point for social and cultural life in Kaza, as well as providing a location for health services. Once completed, the centre will include a hall, and kitchen as well as a craft centre and a library. Most importantly it will incorporate a Eye-Testing Clinic for which no facilities presently exist in the valley. There will be simple accommodation upstairs for home-stays which will provide income so that the Community Centre may become self-sustaining.
The first phase of construction of the Eco Community Centre in Kaza was completed on the 28th of September 2013. The construction period lasted 5 months. This phase included construction of the masonry foundations, rammed earth ground floor, ring beam lintels, ventilators and corbelling, and site preparation for the winter.
Local labourers and stone masons were hired. There were difficulties with the weather but the schedule was completed on time and the ground floor is now built. The construction uses earth-based technology; mud bricks and rammed earth are not costly, they retain warmth and are earthquake resistant; cement, on the other hand, is not thermal and is damaging to health. Solar panels will be installed on the roof to take advantage of the 300 days a year of sunshine in the Spiti Valley. Using eco-technology is an alternative to burning wood in winter which is expensive and damaging to the environment.
Our task now is to get the roof on the Community Centre before the winter comes at the beginning of October. We have 3 architects working on site in Kaza from the Auroville Earth Institute in Pondicherry doing a magnificent job with a team of local masons, carpenters and labourers.