We have met people who built homes or villas or apartments. But have you met anyone who is building a village? No! Then this story of Kalyan Akkipeddi is for you. You may ask me how the village being built by Kalyan is so different from other typical Indian villages. This village generates its own electricity through solar and wind power mill, harvests rainwater, grows its own food, has an alternative school, houses small social enterprises and a recent addition – a skateboard park.
Kalyan Akkipeddi: The Proto Village’s architect
In 2014, Kalyan bought 12.5 acres of barren land in Tekulodu village in Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh and started building the ‘Proto Village’. The village is located in the second driest region in India. You may wonder why Kalyan is building a village from scratch. This is an attempt by Kalyan to create a village prototype that enjoys autonomy with respect to its basic needs through ecologically sustainable ways.
Who are the villagers?
If anyone wants to be a villager in ‘ Proto village ‘, one needs to build their home by collaborating with the other villagers. Are you game for it? There is an interesting story about how Kalyan’s Proto village got its first bunch of villagers.
Before starting Proto Village, Kalyan travelled across India for about 2.5 years between 2008 and 2010. In 2010 he came back to his native district Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh and travelled across 166 villages and finally settled in Tekulodu village. There he spent a good amount of time interacting with all the villagers and understood all about the village – from financial conditions to health issues of about 100 families in a span of 100 days.
After this, he chose a family whose annual income is Rs. 6,500 per year and started working with them for the next eight months. During his stay with the family, he worked along with them in their agricultural land and helped them to increase their income to Rs.14,000 per month. One thing Kalyan understood was villagers don’t like preachers but doers.