Location: Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India
About: The Agency for Non-Konventional Urban/Rural Initiatives (ANKURI) works to create sustainable livelihoods for people of local villages through means of educational empowerment, income generation for women, and optimal utilization of local resources. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas outside of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India, ANKURI aims to address the most pressing needs of the surrounding rural communities and wishes to create an ecosystem of mutual learning and development in the rural pockets of Uttarakhand.
The ANKURI Centre at Thikana, Bharatwala is a confluence of ideologies and practices envisioned by ANKURI, and aims to alleviate poverty, teach useful skills in knitting and business practices, facilitate quality education, and build upon the rich community of the people who have lived here in the foothills for centuries.
ANKURI started organizing local women into knitting groups in 2000. The Knitting Centre was inaugurated in Bharatwala in 2008, formalizing the knitting program which engages and employs local women. The Literary Centre was initially conceptualized to provide academic help to the students of the women knitters associated with ANKURI, but the other children from the village soon joined in. In the beginning, the classes were conducted in the common places in the village, however, the Literacy Centre was inaugurated in 2008 as a state of the art classroom with interactive teaching-learning materials (TLM). The faculty was recruited locally and were provided training to ensure maximum learning to the students. The centre was discontinued in 2014 after the teachers got married and shifted out of the village, and ANKURI did not wish to compromise on the quality of the facilitators. The Summer School was first started by the student members of the International Internship Program in 2007. The classes were initially held in the village. From 2010 onwards, the medical interns started conducted medical camps for the villagers in response to the need assessment survey conducted by one batch of interns. The Summer School for students was resumed in 2010 in collaboration with local (public and private) schools in the region.