Rajaveni Balasudharam (Raji) hails from Auroville, an International Community located in Tamil Nadu, South India. She is the Co-Director of the Mohanam Cultural Heritage Centre in Auroville. She met Melissa Michaels in 2004 at Golden Bridge’s International Youth Camp in Boulder, Colorado, USA. It was an inspirational meeting as well as a rich experience where she learned about women’s empowerment. This helped her to initiate a project of her own in Auroville.
Mohanam Cultural Centre began in 2001 with the aim of providing the younger generation of the villagers with an opportunity for extracurricular activities. This helps them to find identity and connection to their own original culture, which faces tremendous change in the globalization process.
Mohanam Cultural Centre offers traditional Tamil folk dance and music, South Indian Art called “KOLAM,” martial arts, theatre, women’s empowerment, community development, education on youth learning and performing arts, evening/after school activities, and cultural festivals with the native villages to promote diversity.
Our offerings in Mohanam aim to train, self-motivate, build self-confidence, and empower the native women and girls. Currently we work with a group of 150 married women and 11 young girls.
Along with co-directing Mohanam Cultural Center, Raji runs another small project in Auroville called ‘LIVELY’. At LIVELY, she works to train and support people from the local native villages to design and manufacture local products.
Raji wishes to continue her work with full dedication to train others to continue on with future generations.