Ambedkar Nagar, located adjacent to a backwater in Cuddalore, is a village compromising of Dalits, or landless laborers. While it did not sustain heavy loss of life during the tsunami, Ambedkar Nagar is home to victims of trauma, and has suffered loss of livelihood due to the saltwater flooding of leased farms. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was responsible for loss of crops that were due for harvesting.
These villagers were not handed much retribution from the government or by the other NGO's that have been working in this region post tsunami. The project outcome involves the building of a community center. Using the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) method, Architecture for Humanity and the League of Education and Development (LEAD) assisted the community in identifying their needs, evaluated the grants available, and created a design program. Architecture for Humanity developed the design and LEAD engineered and built it. Tied into the program is a Balwadi, i.e. a children's day care center. Grants were received by the community through Terre Des Hommes, Germany. The Balwadi funds went toward the kitchen and the multipurpose room.
As the first public building for the community, the center serves as a focal point of celebration and learning.
LEAD will continue its relationship with the community by monitoring and supporting the women's self help groups (WSHGs) and the micro lending programs.
Some of the challenges faced along the way included: project delays due to inclement weather; high inflation; shortage of materials (bricks, cement); shortage of labor; unreliability of labor and the contractor; and having on the team non-local contractors who could not ensure continuous work delivery. However, overall, the built project reflects the central design concepts.