The Hunnarshala Foundation is an Indian NGO active in artisan training, community empowerment and the development of traditional building systems, particularly using earth.
The genesis of the Hunnarshala lies in the collaborations and associations that were built after 2001 earthquake in Kutch, India with an objective to capacitate people for reconstruction of their habitat.
POST-QUAKE RECONSTRUCTION saw large scale implementation of earth construction. It was a process in which artisans emerged as bearers of tremendous knowledge and the strengths of traditional building systems and forms were revealed.
DURING THIS PROCESS , we realised that the emerging ideas were important not only for reconstruction process but are invaluable for long term sustainable development in many contexts.
INTERACTION between scientific and modern building science and traditional knowledge suggested directions for strengthening engagement of artisans to deliver high quality buildings, infrastructure and community spaces.
APPLIED RESEARCH has shown that there is a method of transfer of knowledge. Knowledge building and transfer requires not only understanding of technology but also of people and places. Hunnarshala was envisaged as institution to take this up.
HUNNARSHALA took off from projects which demonstrated processes controlled and managed by people themselves. This concept of people managing the processes had already been demonstrated in other sectors like crafts, savings & credits, etc.
HUNNARSHALA believed that same concepts could be applied here also. Coming together of professionals, corporates and research scientists and NGOs in the aftermath of earthquake became an opportunity for this idea. It was the period when all kinds of talent came to Kutch and Hunnarshala came out of this melting pot.