Puvidham Rural Development Trust is a registered organization that works on developing effective organic farming techniques and providing a humane and child-centered education environment for children in the Nagarkoodal area of Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu, India. It was an initiative which began in 1992 and since then has taken strong roots. It is the culmination of a dream, of Umesh, a mechanical engineer and Meenakshi, an architect who went about to build a community of people whose passion in farming and education could be translated into local opportunities. The activities have now evolved into Puvidham Farm, Puvidham Learning Centre and Puvidham Development Centre and are run under the umbrella of Puvidham Rural Development Trust. Today, Puvidham is managed by a 80 strong family of committed children and individuals who are working to change the harsh and arid landscape into a sustainable and resource rich area. These initiatives are guided by well wishers and Trustees who have had exposure to realities of rural India, its concerns and potential.
The Puvidham Team
(BArch from Sir J.J.College of Architecture, Mumbai. MSc Applied Psychology)
Managing trustee, full-time teacher, administrator and consultant.
After finishing her Architecture Meenakshi spent 2 years at Auroville learning Earth Construction and Lime Mortar construction with Poppo Pingel. There she met Umesh Chandrasekhar Together they came to Nagarkoodal village in 1992 and started to do organic farming and eco-restoration work of the 12 acres of degraded land they bought..
Meenakshi spent the first 8 years in making soil conservation and water harvesting structures and tree planting –mulching and watering the young saplings. In 2000 the Puvidham Learning Centre started.
Trustee, Administrator, Accountant, full-time teacher and Farm supervisor.
Madhavaraj joined Puvidham learning center in 2000. He belongs to a village 4Kms from Puvidham called, Balajangamanhalli. He is trained to do pottery for children in Bangalore. He went to Vikasana School in Bangalore and learnt English from Malathi Akka. She also taught him the Phonetic method of David Horsburg.
Senbagam (B A, B Ed)
She is from a village 6 Km from Puvidham called Parapatti. She came in 2007 after finishing her 12th. She learned to teach on the job. She also went to Vikasana for training in science education. She has done a storytelling course in Kathalaya, Bangalore. Alongside her teaching, she did her BA English. She then took a one year break to finish her BEd. Now she is doing her MA by correspondence. She has cleared her TET EXAM and has been posted as a Government school teacher.
J Sabarimani (BSc; MSW;)
The earth construction Specialist and head mason of all the building construction done at Puvidham. He also does ferro-cement work and is trained in all the Laurie baker technologies practiced at Puvidham. He loves trees and plants. Spends time grafting and creating an exotic nursery.
Rameshwari (D.Ted, B.A )
Rameshwari is one of our trustees. She is a neighour to Puvidham and has seen Puvidham grow to become a forest from a wasteland.
BA; B Ed
With Puvidham since 2011, she is a BA in English. An expert in upcycling. She is responsible for 1st and 2nd children. She teaches stitching, embroidery, makes upcycled foot mats, weaving, and tailoring.
Geetha joined Puvidham in 2018. She is a computer engineer and helps with taking care of computer classes and science experiments.
Mathiazhagan takes care of Junior School and also doubles up as a driver. With Puvidham since 2014, he also takes part in farm maintenance.
Driver, woodwork craftsperson, Drip irrigation manager, poultry manager.
Murugan joined as a driver in 2019. He soon became indispensable as he integrated with the organic gardening and puzzle making activities.
Joined in 2018. She takes care of the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th level children. She is a wonderful resource person for farming extension work. She looks after the vermicomposting, biopesticide and biofertilizer preparation.
Joined Puvidham in 2018. She was teaching in conventional schools for 15 years. She is here to learn how to connect learning with nature.
Manju is the Nutrition manager in the school. She is also in charge of the bakery.
The earth construction specialist helper, farm help. He is an artisan who works with bamboo and wood.
Our Advisory Board
Mr Joseph Thomas
Joseph is an engineer by training with 35 years’ experience in rural technology, agricultural, renewable energy, and social innovation within NGO, business and research sectors in India, South and South East Asia.
Currently as part of the Development Office of Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IITM), Joseph works with Corporate houses to get them to fund and support socially relevant projects that IITM faculty are working on He is also on the Governing Council of the Centre for Social Innovation, IITM. Previously, he was the Chief Technology Officer at Villgro based in Chennai, a VC incubator for rural entrepreneurs. Other assignments were with the Byrraju Foundation, Hyderabad, 2 early startups of IIT Madras namely Midas Communication and n-Logue Communications. After finishing his B-Tech at IIT Madras in 1982, he joined the Shri AMM Murugappa Chettiar Research Centre and was Deputy Director when he left in 2001.
Joseph has served on State level and National level committees in India. From 2010 he was a Member of Project Advisory Committee of Universities and Councils Network on Innovation for Inclusive Development in Southeast Asia, Ateneo School of Government, Manila, and member of the Core Advisory Group on Sustainable Agriculture of the United Nations Global Compact.
Raj, with a Doctorate in Technology, from the Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Mumbai, India, has three decades of experience in the chemical, material and energy chains. He has extensive experience in projects, sustainability, safety management; developing information products, publication systems and training modules. He has a wide exposure in rural skills development, health care and capacity building initiatives and has authored several books, position and trend analysis papers. Besides, he researches business, technology, regulatory and sustainability practices in chemical, energy, material, agriculture and natural resource sectors. He collaborates with government organisations, task forces and rural development agencies. He is the founder and Chief Coordinating Officer of KnowGenix, a niche research and growth strategy firm with chemicals, materials, energy and renewable practices.
He is the founder of a research think-tank, (Weaving Insights Strategies & Experiences), WISE which focuses on Food and water security; Skills development/capacity building; Healthcare technologies & delivery systems; Sustainability management & literacy; Science, technology & society frameworks; and Inclusive education, arts & communities.
Dr Vidya Menon
Dr Vidya Menon is a Dental Surgeon having independent practice in mumbai. She did her studies in Government Dental College, Mumbai.
Though a Doctor by profession, she is also an artist and has participated in select exhibitions.
She happened to visit puvidham, took a liking to the core value systems and sustainable living practices followed at puvidham. Dr Vidya has consented to be on our advisory board and comes on board the puvidham journey.
She can be reached at email@example.com.
Ms Rajyalakshmi Navuluri
Ms Rajyalaksmi is a structural engineer turned Software Engineer with 15 years of experience in project and account management.
She has worked with large IT corporates in India and Abroad. She relishes her experience and expertise in establishing best practices and guiding organizations in implementation of CMMi certifications.
Apart from her career, she is a public speaker and also volunteers with NGO\\'s in helping and guiding orphan girls.
Beyond all this she did have time for kathak, which she started learning since the age of 1.5.
We are pleased to have her on board puvidham as an advisor.
She can be reached ar firstname.lastname@example.org