Building a 'Solar Eco' Community Centre in Kaza, Spiti Valley, Himalayas
Charity: Spiti Projects Charity www.spiti.org
Project objective: To build a community centre and show case a building that uses modern design technology to harness energy from the sun.
Project funding: £90,000
Project Length: Commenced July 2011
Status: Completed and ongoing
We have been working in partnership with UK Registered Charity, Spiti Projects Charity since the beginning of the project, which is led by Founder, Joan Pollock. She has been working in the Spiti Valley region for 21 years and her earlier projects include building a hospital, school and village clinic. On this project Joan works alongside architects and stone masons from India’s Auroville Earth Institute who are researching and developing earth-based technologies, which are not only cost and energy effective but also earthquake resistant.
Adventure Ashram’s donation has paid for the land, the plans of the building, architects’ time on site and the building materials. Once completed this self sustaining community resource centre will serve as a community hub with a dentist, an eye clinic, a handicraft centre and home-stays for visitors to the valley. It will showcase the use of mud bricks to build homes. Using mud bricks is a traditional form of building with thermal properties, they are able to capture the energy of the sun and heat the air inside the building.
Building for the centre can only happen during the summer months, a busy time for farming and production. For this reason the centre has taken 3 years to build. During 2013 and 2015 great progress was made by Joan and her team. The outside structure and roof of the building are now complete and there was a final push to equip the centre ready for its grand opening.
The Grand Opening of the community centre took place on 31 July 2015, and was a celebration to remembered. Geet, Tashi and Ramesh invited people from across the Spiti Valley and monks came from a local cemetery to perform a special dance. Joan gave a moving address about her passion for the valley, its people and her determination that the building techniques used in the community centre would inspire the next generation to build in a similar way.
This incredible centre will offer children improved health and well being, offer the community a united in one place and offer a showcase of a way to build in a way that can harness the energy of the sun to produce warmth. The centre also hopes to boost tourism and increase the respect and value placed on the Spitiajn’s traditions and handicrafts.
Through working closely together Spiti Projects Charity and Adventure Ashram have bonded through sharing the same vision of improved health and education. Having worked in the valley for 21 years Joan feels ready to stand back now and write a book about her adventures and has asked Adventure Ashram to continue her work. Honoured to be asked, Adventure Ashram has agreed and invited all the supporters of Joan’s incredible Spiti Projects charity to work with them into the future to continue work in the valley.
For more information click on the PDF symbol to download our factsheet.
The community centre will have a meeting hall, dentist, eye clinic, handicraft centre and rooms for visitors to the Valley to sleep in. It will be the first building of its kind in the area.