The people behind New Colors
Nikadass (AKA Kumar) was born in Auroville, India, on March 9, 1979. He completed his 10th grade from Udavi School based on the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo. In his teens, Nikadass worked in several guest houses in Auroville where he interacted with people from different nationalities. He learnt a lot from this exposure and during his higher secondary education in Auroville, he decided that he wanted to do something useful for the village. Nikadass then went on to acquire an MA in History from Annamalai University and a Diploma in Computer Applications (DCA).
Nikadass joined Udavi School as a teacher, teaching sports, Tamil, and other subjects. He was soon appointed as the class teacher of Grade 3, even though he did not have an official teaching degree. He worked hard on improving his teaching skills and proved to be an asset to Udavi. After six years of teaching, Nikadass started the learning centre New Colors, and has since devoted his energy to social service in the local villages. Nikadass has also lived in Israel for two years, where he taught in a local school and gained experience in landscaping and garden design.
His partner in life and work, Renana, has supported him in his endeavors and in the development of New Colors. His daughter, Kineret-Lali, also studies in New Colors.
An Israeli native, Renana married Nikadass in 2006, and they live together in Edayanchavady village. Renana completed her high school diploma in agricultural geography and economics. She completed her degrees in civil engineering and architectural and interior design engineering from Tel – Hai in Israel. She has also done a course in casting blocks of land in CSR, Auroville.
Prior to New Colors, majority of Renana’s work experience was related to engineering. She has also successfully completed several interior design and landscaping projects at Auroville. At New Colors, she doubles as a teacher and a designer. Her key strengths include 3D visualization and high commitment to work.
Janet and Tom, Canada
“ We live in Canada, and care deeply about the human capacity to thrive. Our experiences, both from our careers in the business world and our travel have led us to examine carefully, how we live on this planet, what we pay attention to, and the actions that we take. Our support of New Colors has always felt completely reciprocal. In fact, we often feel like we get back much more than we give.
My husband and I are constantly touched and moved by the work that ‘Kumar and Family’ do for New Colors. We personally met Kumar in August, 2004. At that time, we were so impressed that such a very young man understood so much about ‘what is important in life’. He already had in place many programs that provided much needed activities for the villagers, particularly the children’s study program. At that time the children were studying under a make-shift roof on poles and could not do so during the rainy season as water made the mud floor unworkable. We reviewed Kumar’s very detailed budget and decided on the spot to contribute to the finishing of that building. e sent us pictures as it was being built and so we really felt a part of it!
We also contributed to the building of a toilet with a septic system, as Kumar believed that hygiene was very important for the children. Again, because of his long term thinking and good budgeting, this facility is still in place and being well used today. For us, there is certainly something deeply satisfying to be able to provide something so fundamental to the health and well being of the children.
This past year we have been working with Kumar on a very exciting drinking water project. We have been totally captivated by the ongoing steps in the development of “The Golden Waters Project”. Initially, the pictures of the dedication ceremony with the children was very vivid, and deeply moving. As they drilled for water, we also felt like holding our breath and crossing our fingers… and then were totally excited when we saw the pictures of the water gushing from the drilled well. The project has now expanded with a much larger capacity tank able to provide drinking water not just for the children but for the villagers… for a small fee. Together with a planned Tamil food restaurant, the Golden Waters projects is well on its way to be self sustaining, a concept that Kumar totally embraces. “
Juergen, Ireland (the father of New Colors)
“ Somehow it all started in 1972. I was living in a commune in Berlin and we heard about Auroville and Sri Aurobindo. Few friends left for India. I never made it that time, but ended up in the west of Ireland with my future wife Monika.
In 2002 I finally decided to visit Auroville, stayed in the center guesthouse and that’s where I met Kumar first. He invited me to his house and introduced his after school project, which consisted of a few stone pillars, a bit of a roof, children of all ages and Kumar enthusiastically in the middle helping them all to do their homework.From there on our friendship grew and so did the project. We organized Indian Auroville evenings in our house, raised money for his genuine project and visited it and Auroville every year since.
By 2008 the project got a name ” New Colors ‘and had turned into a 3 rooms educational center with good material and it helped up to 70 children daily to develop their personalities, skills and self-esteem.
I never forget the inauguration in 2009, it started 12 O’ clock at night and finished with breakfast for hundreds of villagers the next morning, gave me a wonderful experience and inside into Tamil village life, customs and culture. Everybody thought I was Renana’s father.
Whenever I am there I offer my skills as a puppeteer. Last time we build Victorian style cut out theatre with several performances at the end of the term.
The eagerness and discipline of the children to learn is a rewarding experience every time I am helping out in new colors.
2010 I became the liaison person for Auroville, in Ireland.
We are delighted to support such an energetic and warmhearted family (including mother and grandmother)
In 2010 we decided to co-finance a “transit-lounge“ on their land in Edyanchavady. It is called as “La Monika”. It’s a one room small house with shower and toilet and a small veranda. (Turned out really sweet) It can bring a small income to the project and is helpful to house visitors and volunteers for the project.
We are looking forward to stay in it soon… Surrounded by chicken, cats, dogs, children, mango trees, motorbikes, Lali, a golden water tower, banana trees, snakes, mosquito and a loving family with a marvelous cook in the kitchen..
Yummy, Yummy Dosas..tschau from Monika, Heidi , Jan and all their friends, who had a delicious meal in New Colors !
Greetings! Love, light and lots of Oms from Cork in Ireland. “