Atale, a small village in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra
Atale is a small village located deep in the forests of the Sahyadri mountains in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. With just 100 mud homes clustered together along the contours of the hillside and surrounded by terraced rice fields, the villagers lead a simple but wholesome life.
They grow their own food, have very few possessions, and are a tightly knit community. Village adults work all day in the fields, earning a measly 300 Rupees a day. Children attend a school at the top of the hill in the morning, and run around the village playing games that create strong bonds with each other and with nature.
But this idyllic village life is under a huge threat. Urban aspirations of earning more money, living in fancy houses and having more worldly possessions have lured the youth from the village to migrate to cities in search of jobs. They live in the city in squalid conditions and barely make enough money to send back some of it to their families. The village is now occupied by the families, elderly and youth who were unable or unqualified to find jobs in cities.
Graminno - Rural Innovation for Sustainability
Graminno. The name is derived from the Hindi word Gramin (ग्रामीण) meaning rural, and the word Innovation. Graminno is a project that aims to create sustainable development in the village. It works closely with the Gram Sabha (local governing body) of the village to provide financially and ecologically sustainable options to the youth within the village itself.
How we started at Atale
Graminno was started in a small village called Atale (आतले) located about 225 kms (140 miles) from Mumbai along the Konkan coast on the steep slopes of the Sahyadris.
The village in a valley formed by the perennial river Bharja that is fed by many hard working ground water sources that seem to silently & constantly replenish it's flow through the year as it finds its way to the Arabian Sea 10 kms downstream.
Globally acknowledged as one of the 35 biodiversity hot spots in the world (ref), Atale is surrounded by thick forests where wild boar, deer, monkeys, a wide variety of birds and some leopards still coexist peacefully with humans.
We first arrived in the village in 2016, driving on the small mud road that winds through twists and turns in the valley that leads to the village.
We were greeted in the village by Tushar, a young resident of Atale who knows the small paths that lead through the forests like the back of his hand.
The village consists of just about 100 homes built to hug the curves of the hill side, neatly connected by small walking paths between the houses, lined by walls built with laterite stones.
We fell in love with the quaint little village and spent the last four years getting to know the village, its habitants and setting up the Graminno workshop in one of the homes in the village whose occupants had migrated to the city in search of better fortunes.
Our primary activites consist of the following:
- A Community Makerspace Workshop is set up in the village containing the required tools and equipment.
- Regular Product Design Camps are conducted that invite professionals such as designers, engineers and artists to the workshop to work with the youth and children in the village and provide product ideas and the requisite skills to produce them.
- Online Marketing and Promotion of Graminno products is conducted through social media, the Graminno website and online shop.
- A network of Support Volunteers is established to help facilitate the logistics for project and promote the products
These are bi-directional learning endeavours, where we try to learn from the villagers about their incredible skills of living in harmony with nature, while they learn from us about our skills of communication, technology and and project planning.
Postal Address: Baudh Vadi, W5PC+85P 104 Atale, Mandangad, Maharashtra 415208
Get Involved in Graminno
Our aim is to create an ecosystem that allows the villagers as well as urban dwellers like us to live together in harmony with nature while providing a quality of life that technology and communication facilitate.
This is the beginning of an exciting journey ahead for all of us, and we would like to invite you to join us on this adventure!
Here is how you can get involved:
- Support rural sustainability by promoting Graminno activities to your friends, colleagues and familty. Purchase products from the Graminno shop to support the village team financially.
- Visit the Graminno workshop to experience the joy and inspiration that it represents
- Stay in the village and experience the simple joy of living in a home built with mud and stones and the cool cowdung floor, and eat simple food cooked over a wooden fire, all in the spirit of an experiential learning break rather than a farm stay vacation
- Connect with the villagers and see how they live simply, but with abundance of joy and happiness
- Volunteer to participate in Graminno.
- This has been one of the most insightful learning experiences for us, the existing volunteers.
- We look forward to more volunteers joining the team.
- The children in the village surely deserve easy access to better educational materials such as books, sports equipment, computers, lab equipment and much more
- The Graminno workshop needs a lot of equipment such as furniture, metal and wood working labs, farming equipment and tools, utensils, tents, outdoor trekking equipment... another long list!
- We need contributions from sponsors in the form of
- Materials that you may have and want to donate
- Sponsor to pay for some of the things in the Graminno shopping list
Graminno Online Shopping
Graminno Online Shopping is enabled and managed by Bijoor Consulting Services
Graminno is supported by various sponsors and partners.