Team Biography

Founder

Bhavana

Born 13 September, 1943 in upstate New York, Bhavana (then Dee) left the USA in the mid-1960s for what she called “the university of the road”, arriving in Auroville in 1971. She lived in Aurobrindavan, Fertile Windmill, and Bliss, started leather and crafts units, and worked at Matrimandir.

In 1983, Bhavana founded Auroville Village Action Group, pioneering the development work that, for her, was essential to manifesting the dream of Auroville. Besides fundraising and administrative work, Bhavana helped many young Tamilians develop their skills, remaining available to them for counsel throughout her life. Shifting to Vérité in 1993, she helped develop the Integral Learning Center, cheerfully attended to guests, and held daily meditation and Savitri reading. She also introduced many
to Vipassana through organizing retreats.

Over the years, Bhavana represented Auroville in India and abroad, and served in various working groups. She was a trustee of Village Action and Animal Care and executive of AIP and Vérité Guest House. Diagnosed with cancer in January, Bhavana accepted it as Yoga, exploring conventional and alternative treatments while preparing for a conscious transition. Bhavana died on 11 May, 2011 in the community she loved and served joyfully for 40 years, and was buried in Vérité’s “wisdom tope”.

Trustees

Anandi Vaithialingam

Was born on 2 nd Nov 1953 and graduated in Home Science at Pondicherry. She met The Mother in Her last Darshan, lived 12 years in Sri Aurobindo Ashram as associate, became the first woman entrepreneur in Pondicherry, moved to Auroville in 1991 and got engaged in several activities of Auroville till 1997 when she became a full time executive manager of Kofpu which she continues to be until today. Besides this, being interested in a raw, vegan diet, she built Auroville Raw Food Centre which consists of “Satchitananda” a raw vegan restaurant and Kofpu Guest House in 2011. She offers workshops on organic raw vegan diet style while deepening gratitude to be in Auroville.

Divya

Has been in Auroville since the year 2000 working in the field of Finance, Management and Solar Energy. After a PGDM from IIM Bangalore, she worked for a few years in a multinational bank. A chance visit to Auroville changed the course of life which led her to moving to and immersing in Auroville’s life.

Alain

Studied in France to postgraduate level. After a few years of working in Paris, he joined Auroville in July 1973. He initially worked in Pour Tous Fund (then Pour Tous Food processing unit). He then actively participated in the preparatory works towards finding a status for Auroville which resulted in the Auroville Foundation Act in 1988. He organized with a small team the beginnings of SAIIER (Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research). Supervised under Kireet Joshi’s guidance the SAIIER research works in publications for Value-Education. He participated in the early 2000s to the elaboration of a development plan for Auroville through SAIIER which resulted in significant increase of regular Central Government funding. From 2005 till now, he has been involved in village work around Auroville, first as member of Auroville teams dealing with the December 2004 tsunami aftermath and then as trustee of Auroville Village Action Trust (AVAT).

Directors

Kavery Subramanian B

Is a chartered accountant and has been working in AVAG since March, 2005 after the Tsunami. He manages all financial tasks of the organisation and also looks after several other units in Auroville in the field of Finance MIS (Management Information Systems). Among other things, his responsibilities include payroll and budget preparation, project management accounting and risk management.

Jerald Moris

Jerald Moris has his master’s degree in sociology and public administration and served as president of the All India Catholic University Federation (AICUF), at the college and later zonal level. After graduating, he joined Village Reconstruction Organization and through VRO Director Father Windy, Moris attributes much of his practical education on implementing social programmes. In 1988, he joined AVAG and he is a member or an office bearer of different networks for development. He continues to advocate people’s participation in all his initiatives.

Anbu Sironmani

Started her association with the development field when she was a student. In college, she was on the editorial board for a women’s empowerment magazine, served as President of the Anti-Dowry Association, and served as a human resource trainer for NGO’s. She worked for the Village Reconstruction Organization (VRO) before finishing her Masters in Social Work with a specialisation in Community Development and then joined AVAG in 1988. Anbu continues to attend regular Trainer’s Trainings on Participatory Rural Appraisal, gender issues, social analysis, somatic Experiencing, and enterprise development. She is also trained in counseling

Executives

Bridget Horkan

Is passionate about fostering fullest potential in herself and others. Her earlier studies in marketing and in yoga have given her a useful mix of practicality with a quest for depth and meaning.

She co-founded Thamarai projects in 2006 , which are informal educational platforms for the villagers of Edyanchavadi. She was involved in development aid in Rwanda in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide and in many community projects in Ireland, where she is originally from. She has run her own business and worked in marketing positions for over 20 years.

She lives and works in Auroville, whose dream of actualising human unity is her ultimate dream too.

Abha Tiwari

Is a graduate in psychology from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University. She joined Auroville in June 1978. Worked in La Ferme (The Farm). Started Shradhanjali in 1980. She is also executive of Mira Boutique, the sales outlet in Visitors Center. Simultaneously in the 1980s, worked jointly on correcting the first 3 volumes of the translation of the Mother’s Agenda from French into Hindi.

In 1997, she went on training to Pune (under B.K.S. Iyengar) and started teaching Yogasanas at Pitanga for 15 years. She also gave yoga classes at Last School and for a short time in Nadukuppam village. She had been occasionally involved with Village Action Group for many years and became an executive in 2014.

Developmental Workers

Iyappan

Iyappan :  My association with AVAG began in 1991 when my friends and I formed a youth club in my village. Our group conducted work camps, micro-projects and a Night School for dropouts. We got valuable support from AVAG and I developed a good connection with them and Auroville. I believe that this is the right place for my inner self to improve.

   As a development worker I have been involved in various projects such as: Life Education, Community Development, Primary Education Programme, Women Power Programme, PEP, Micro-projects and work camps, promoting smokeless chulhas, Housing, Compassion Fund, Economic Research on surrounding villages, Tsunami Relief and Rehabilitation, Exchange Programmes, Eco friendly product promotion, AVAG MFI,  Insurance and Scholarship (LIC), book keeping for AVAG SHGs, SEDAB (Spirulina Cultivation), Meetings and Training for SHGs, AVVAI Education loan schemes, liaison Work, DATA and information collection.

  This work is coherent with my inner values of Unity, Equality and Human rights. Working for the villages in the Bioregion has been my childhood ambition and I feel that AVAG is my family.

J. Ponammal

Ponammal (B.A. Sociology) : I joined AVAG in May 1994 as a development worker. I am a cluster coordinator, trainer for women’s self help groups and check repayment of loans. I am from Annainagar, a settlement near Auroville and joined AVAG to get more exposure in fields of social work. I like my job for the opportunity it gives me to interact with the people in the villages and feel happy to see people benefit from AVAG. I stand for equality and value happiness.

M. Govindammal

M. Govindammal (B.B.A.): I have been working with AVAG as part of the field staff team since 2006. I love my job because I get to interact with people – the ‘Village Exchange’ programme is my favorite. This bridges the gap between people of different castes and villages. As this shows, I strongly stand for equality.

A. Vinoth

Vinoth : I have been working with AVAG since 2008. I joined the organization because of my interest in village development and the cause of improving family situations in homes. I really enjoy working with people and it’s especially good here because I can engage with people free of caste and religious discrimination. I am currently married with a son. AVAG has a close connection to my family because my sister works here in the Tailoring unit as well!

R. Mangai

R. Mangai (High School):  Most of my career has been spent working with AVAG. I first worked as a teacher in the AVAG creche for 13 years and have been working as a member of the field staff since 2006. I love my job because I like to work with people from different communities. I find it especially nice to find affected women and give them counselling. One of my favorite programmes that AVAG currently runs is the ‘Village Exchange Programme’ where Dalit and non-Dalit women spend a full day together – without any partiality or discrimination! I am now married with two sons.

D. Bouvaneswari

D. Bouvaneswari (High School):

I have been working with AVAG since 2006. I am currently married with two children. I am happy to be working with people at a close level, and specialize in dealing with family situations. I am proud to say that whatever I do, I do with happiness and self confidence. These, according to me, are two very important values in life.

Social Enterprise

Siva

Siva (High School) : I am from Edyanchavadi village neighbouring Auroville and work at AVAG as a master tailor for the social enterprise AVAL since February, 2014. My job involves teaching the women in the tailoring unit to stitch new patterns. I love my job because it gives me confidence. I feel satisfied teaching others since it helps them to improve their lives, skills and earnings. The values most important to me are sincerity, honesty and respect

Jayalaxmi

Jayalaxmi (MSc. Home Sciences): I received an extended education in rural development at Gandhigram Rural University and began working at AVAG in January, 2007 as a development worker. I now manage two of the social enterprises of AVAG; Advanced tailoring and the Crochet unit. I like to work toward women’s development and stand for equality.

Office

Vinayagam

Vinayagam : I joined AVAG in 1999 and work here as a driver and office assistant. I have always had the mind to help and that’s why I am happy to do something for others. This has been my practice since childhood. I am very satisfied working in AVAG, where everyone treats me with kindness, equality and respect. My ambition is to do my job well, with honesty and take more initiative toward development of society.

A. Pachaiammal

A. Pachaiammal : I am 53 years old and studied till the 5th grade. I am currently working as a gardener for AVAG. I am married and have three children. Working here brings me a lot of joy and equality is one of the values that matters most to me.

Glory

Glory : I have been working as the in-house cook and house-keeper since 2014 at AVAG. I love my job because I love cooking and making delectable dishes. I am very proud to be working with the Village Action Group because they work for the empowerment of women. I am currently married with 3 children. Equality and truth are two values that are very important to me.

Makizhselvam

Makizhselvam (B.Sc. Computer Science): I have been working at AVAG since 2008. It had always been my dream to work in and around Auroville and I have gotten the best chance with AVAG where I work in an Auroville unit. It is especially ingratiating working here because AVAG does a lot of work for the development of people. My unit works to remove gender and caste inequality, educate children and provide skills training for women and girls. I am married with three children and strongly stand for equality and peace.

Account department – Auroville Village Action Group (AVAG)

Dev Anand

Dev Anand (B.Com Madras Univ) : I am from Pondicherry and have been working at AVAG since July, 2007 as an accountant. My job involves maintaining transparency in S.H.G. records and doing annual audits. We maintain individual files for every single S.H.G. Working here gives my mind peace. I feel happy to work with people and amidst natural surroundings. I stand for love and compassion.

Guejalatchumi S

Guejalatchumi S. (M.F.M. Pondicherry Univ.) : I was born and brought up in Pondicherry and have been working here since 2008. My job includes maintaining the Self Help Group accounts and making sure they are transparent. I also interact with people as part of my job and help women get financial assistance to help improve their current living conditions. I am married and have a daughter. In my free time, I like to work with Kolam and play carrom. Inner and outer peace is extremely important to me.

Meena S

Meena S. (B.Com, MBA Banking Finance) : I am 23 years old and have been working with AVAG since 2013 as an Accounts Assistant. I work here to increase the development in the lives of the people and for the empowerment of women. Part of my job also involves helping members of Self Help Groups get financial assistance. In my free time, I love listening to music and watching Tamil films. I strongly stand for self-respect.

Account department – Auroville Village Action Trust (AVAT)

C. Babyshalini

C. Babyshalini (B.Com Bharathidasan Women’s College) : I have been working as an Accounts’ Assistant since 2015. The different units in the Accounts department fascinate me and I have learnt a lot more about accounting since I’ve joined AVAT. I most value peace.

C. Sangeetha

C. Sangeetha (M.Com Annamalai Univ): I have been working in the Accounts Division of AVAG since 2012. I am currently 25 years old. Like most others here, I love the fact that there are many accounting units and I like to prepare accounts for them all. I strongly stand for self-confidence and believe it is an invaluable trait to have

Mohan

Mohan (B.Com) : I’m an Accounts’ Assistant with AVAT.  I am 22 years old and I started working here in 2015. I find it extremely enjoyable working here because there are so many programmes and units. My work also helps me gain a greater insight into the way the trust works. I most value unity.

K. Selvanayaki

K. Selvanayaki (B.Com) : I am 22 years old and have been working as an Accounts’ Assistant with AVAT since 2014. My work here involves managing a unit and preparing accounts transactions. There are lots of different kinds of units that are part of this organisation and I believe the existence of these units and my experience managing them has increased my overall knowledge of accounts. For this, I am extremely grateful and this is why I like working here. I most value self-respect.