Monday, 16 March 2015

An Inception

Deriya is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Anybody who has visited it before would agree to the fact that the Derekars of Deriya are wonderful hosts. The word ‘tribe’ no longer instils a sort of apprehension in me. They are simple folks, with a humble lifestyle and a highly inspiring attitude.

The farmlands amidst dense forests of Deriya
Project Deriya marks the beginning of my journey with Kaleido. In the month of April 2014, Kaleido requested for volunteers from the Construction Industry for this Sanitation Initiative. Just out of college, this interested me, as it had a mix of my passion (Travelling) as well as my profession (Architecture).

Project Deriya involved a lot of 'fun' travel
The initial discussions happened with Shashikanth Subramanya, Aravind Bhat and Gnanaskandan Velu over a few weekends, at Belaku Shishu Nivas, N.R. Colony. Shashi had made a small survey of the settlement. This, along with discussions of other case studies helped us get more clarity on what was required to be done.

Sanitation, along with Food, Clothing, Shelter and Clean Drinking Water is a basic amenity for human beings. A toilet is probably a small, yet an essential part of our household. It requires a range of back stage services to be planned, in order to keep it functioning continuously. It is a known fact that about 626 million people in India practice open defecation. More people in India have access to a cell phone than to a toilet, says the UN-IWHE Study-1. Efforts to build toilets in remote areas of the country have been made by the Indian Government as well as by Non-Governmental Organisations.

As per the Government’s sanction, individual houses in Deriya were entitled toilets. With a clear delay and lack of execution, Kaleido decided to step in and contain this problem of open defecation. Based on the size of the growing community, and on certain design standards, a decision was taken to build six toilets. These toilets were to be constructed together as a single block, so as to increase their sense of responsibility towards this facility.

The aim of the design was to achieve the least possible building footprint, without any compromise on the standard space requirement. The location of the block was decided and finalised, considering various factors like -
- Distance from all the houses.
- Available survey land; in order to avoid breaching local land rules.
- Proximity to a perennial water source.
- Proximity to an existing electric line.

The six toilets, three back-to-back, have two entrances facing opposite directions (East and West). Measures have been taken to ensure sufficient natural lighting. Jali ventilators on the side walls, ensure Cross Ventilation. The entrance to the Women’s toilets has been given more privacy. Snakes in the forest range, are an unavoidable problem. Based on the tribal’s advice, plans of MS perforated sheet ventilators and floor tiles were discarded.

The main water tank receives water from a perennial rivulet nearby. A 1000 litre capacity sintex tank is provided near the toilet, for emergency conditions during peak summers. The Sewage Pits are provided away from any of the drinking water sources, keeping in mind the absorption capacity of the red soil. Solar power and Biogas were disregarded after various discussions and debates.

Community Interaction

As an incentive to community participation, it was decided that the community itself would construct and maintain the facility, while Kaleido provides only financial and technical aid. Hence, local construction techniques and materials were given utmost importance.

Walls constructed using locally prepared bricks
After many site visits and discussions with Mr. Jayanand, Mr. Deepak and the local plumber, drawings were explained and released. The proposed timeline of the project got affected due to untimely pre-monsoon showers. However, this extra time helped collect more funds for the project. Construction began with a small Bhoomi Puja in October 2014.

Most site visits were fruitful. Apart from construction, we initiated community interaction, especially between the women of the tribe voicing out their social concerns and issues of hygiene and sanitation. One site visit with the Kaleido Productions team was fun and lively, with a Street Play and Awareness Programmes across the community. The tribe is not male dominated and their broad minds allow for the opinions of women in making important decisions for the tribe.

With the Kaleido Productions team
Finally, I would like to thank a few individuals, who have made a difference to the Project.

Mr. U.S.Sateesha, Project Manager, Ashok-Design-Build, helped in planning the services and the budget of the project. He has been kind enough to visit the site and get the project kick-started, when it was most required.

Engineer U.S Sateesha's site visit
I would like to thank my father, Mr. Shamasunder, Group General Manager, ISKCON Bangalore Group, who gave me a practical orientation, as this was my first endeavour as an Architect.

I would like to thank Ar. Aditi Raj, who made sure we did not stray away from the right path, at the very beginning.

I would like to thank the Kaleido livelihoods team, for giving me this wonderful opportunity. The team is highly self-motivated and is willing to go beyond its comfort zone, to extend its hand to the needy. This has been an eye opener for me, to the world beyond the city we live in - the taste of a simple life, which we strive to achieve.

I also thank Mr. Jayanand and the entire Construction team, extending warm regards to Mr.Jayanand’s family for taking care of us as their own, allowing us to trouble them in the kitchen and play with their kids.

Vinay and Shashi playing with Aditya
The toilet block is almost ready, and only its continuous usage and maintenance will make this project a success.

Visits to Deriya will continue and Project Deriya will always remain alive. 

- Pratiksha Sunder


  1. Working for a beautiful cause..

    Kickass job team kaleido.


  2. Wow... Amazing...:) nice work..:)

  3. Amazing!!! Very inspiring work by u all :)

  4. Amazing work by Kaleido :)
    Nicely put by Pratiksha :)