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Greetings from Sustainable Livelihood Institute (SLI), Auroville. Three years is a short time in the life of a knowledge institution, but, could be a very long time in a given context.
Livelihoods in rural Tamilnadu has been deeply challenged in the last decade and half due to several phenomena, viz., the global economy and Indian rural landscape being seen as a global market, the shifting investment base into rural parts and establishing of secondary and tertiary sector industries in rural areas, the introduction and explosion of the digital revolution with the all prevalent smart phones, news and communication medium being driven by the social and digital media that has reached the last mile never reached by the earlier print media, the shrinking natural resources and the threat posed by its mindless exploitation, the increasing pressure on the family health due to changes in lifestyle and increased dispensable incomes and finally, the impact of climate change on weather and thereby all human activity.
Each and all of these have impacted the rural life and livelihoods and much of the priorities of the rural families and their life has been in responding to this diverse challenges. To profess and put to practice Sustainable solutions in this context is verily swimming against the tide of majority public perception; it also means to invoke several human values that have been seen as enhancing the quality of life and choices from time immemorial. SLI has seen both, ridicule for stating something not so popular and much appreciation for holding on to the values that integrate and include. Auroville in its 50th year is the playground where these conflicts are often manifest in several dialogues and decisions. SLI is happy to be the small window through which the rural livelihoods of Tamilnadu can access Auroville insights, experiences and expertise in these challenging times. The enthusiasm and immediate implementation of small ideas by the village community members, the ultimate beneficiaries of our programmes and initiatives, has been one of the most satisfying aspects of the SLI journey. As we move into the 4th year of operation, this is our motivation and this is what where we see hope for a stable and sustainable rural livelihoods in Tamilnadu.