Bholu Anganwadis

Ahmedabad, Gujurat
Partner NGO: Manav Sadhna

‘These projects have not just been about a building, but about strengthening a community through dedication to a project and love.’ Ciara Tapia (TAP volunteer)


Bholu 17

Location: Sabarmati Gandhi Vas II, Ahmedabad
Completed: 2019
Ellie Gutman and Emma Leckie

Bholu 17 is located within the Sabarmati Gandhi Vas II area of Ahmedabad in close proximity to Bholu 16 and to Manav Sadhna’s Manav Mitra Community Centre. Bholu 17 has been designed to maximise its small yet prominent corner position. The curved wall of the original building has been brought into the new scheme, which opens up the street with the patterned brickwork distinguishing the school amongst the typical lean-to vernacular of the slum. Efficient and clever planning, treatment of openings and raised roof form create a generous and bright feeling within the site and classroom. The local community have referred to the completed Bholu as a “good luck charm” for the area.

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Bholu 16

Location: Sabarmati Gandhi Vas II, Ahmedabad
Completed: 2017
Volunteers: Leanne Cosio and Christina Fogale

Bholu 16 forms part of larger community development program planned by Manav Sadhna around the Kiran Community Centre. Bholu 16 is considered to be a core component of this community outreach program. The new Bholu 16 school has relocated 40 children and 2 teachers in a bright and airy new nurturing learning environment from a previous small space which was inadequate having no natural light, ventilation, sanitation or waste facilities, and having dilapidated building conditions.

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Location: Ramapir No Tekro, Ahmedabad
Completed: 2016
Volunteers: Kali Marnane and Niini Soisalo de Mendonca

The site for Bholu 15 is situated within Manav Sadhna’s Mosal Women’s Centre, which supports many of the Bholu 15 mothers who work as rag pickers. The design of Bholu 15 aims to connect with the centre to provide flexible spaces that can expand and contract as required by the community whilst providing a safe and beautiful environment for children to learn in.

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Bholu 14

Location: Sabarmati, Ahmedabad
Completed: 2017
Volunteers: Janelle Campbell and Lorenzo Mauloni

Bholu 14 was located on a site that had been previously used as a dumping ground for the community which resulted in difficult soil conditions to build on. Due to these conditions, it was decided to use lightweight construction. This was not only a structurally logical approach, but also allowed for the structure to be dismantled and re-used elsewhere in the event the site would be reclaimed by the government in years to come. Bamboo was the primary construction material used in the building, for its sustainability and as it is a readily available material within Ahmedabad.

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Bholu 13

Location: Tahakar, Sabarmati River, Ahmedabad
Completed: 2014
Volunteers: Jo Waterhouse, Susanne Pollmann and Harshil Parekh

The site for Bholu 13 is located in the middle of the community tucked in a quiet, colourful laneway. Two surrounding trees form a beautiful canopy over the site, providing a cooler micro environment. A vacant block opposite provided an opportunity for the preschool to have an adjoining garden and playground.

With a compact site, the biggest design challenge was ensuring adequate light and ventilation entered into the space. Bholu 13 features a ‘floating’ roof as a means of responding to the hot, dry climate by aiding with passive ventilation and allowing views of the trees. The design of the space was planned simply with amenities to the back and one large teaching space addressing the laneway. The internal floor and wall finishes feature recycled stone, tiles, fabric, artwork and perforated metal, which add colour and a richness of detail to the small building.

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Bholu 12

Location: Thakor Vas, Sabarmati River, Ahmedabad
Completed: 2012
Volunteers: Evan Drage, Ciara Tapia, Caroline Kite and Komal Gopwani

Bholu 12 is located within the heart of the community and was designed as part of a temple complex and community space. It was designed to take advantage of two established trees that provide shade to the anganwadi and which provide a community hub. As the school was to fit within a solid building complex, colour was a key element in the finishing to create a lively and joyful environment.

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Bholu 11

Location: Ramapir No Tekro, Ahmedabad
Completed: 2012
Volunteers: Jesus Porras Montesino, Kah-Fai Lee, Caroline Kite, Ciara Tapia, Evan Drage, Scott Flett

Bholu 11 is a happy, bright and thermally cool learning environment, with a generous garden space; a luxury in the slum. Bholu 11 has become a beautiful oasis within the barren slum, with young and old enjoying the greenery of the vegetable garden and the shade beneath the trees within and around the site. Wall and floor mosaics add an element of surprise and playfulness to the space, and express the love that was given to this small project by volunteers and community.


Bholu 10

Location: Ramapir No Tekro, Ahmedabad
Completed: 2010
Volunteers: Jesus Porras Montesino, Kah-Fai Lee and Karen Erdos

One of the defining features of Bholu 10 is the front gate of the anganwadi. Made from recycled plastic bottle tops, which are woven onto a steel mesh as part of the door frame, it provides a beautiful coloured screen between the outdoor and classroom space.

The exterior walls of the amenities block were built by volunteers, with the columns made from recycled drink bottles filled with scrap paper. The children of the community were instrumental in working with the volunteers to make these beautiful and unique columns that create light and interest at the entry to the anganwadi.

Bholu 9

Location: Gandhivas Tekra, Ahmedabad
Completed: 2009
Volunteers: Jillian Hopkins and Jesus Porras Montesino.

The design of Bholu 9 cleverly uses the small site to create a series of spaces, from the entry seat and screened entry, to the bright classroom and courtyard beyond. Passive thermal design was employed through the use of a high level brick screen and cross-ventilation through the classroom.

The success of this project lay within the community involvement, instigated by the volunteers and evident in the community contribution to decorative elements around the building, such as the tiled entry seat artwork, chai cup screen using cups donated by the local women and participation in the painting of the school and garden elements by the community. 

Bholu 8

Location: Motera, Ahmedabad
Completed: 2010
Volunteers: Jillian Hopkins, Jesus Porras Montesino, Lily Lim

Bholu 8 is a great example of TAP’s volunteers implementing the ‘Reuse, Reduce, Recycle’ mantra, with a design that incorporates bright colour, an outdoor stage and an imaginative playground made from waste tyres.

Colourful woven screens mark the entry at the front. Inspired by the ‘katlo’ day beds used by the locals, they were created by a local community weaver. Playful murals on the walls were created by the community and a spacious fenced playground and garden at the rear of the site were included for the children to play in.


Bholu 7

Location: Sabarmati, Ahmedabad
Completed: 2009
Volunteers: Adele Wintridge, Fahmi Ahmed and Renae Tapley

Bholu 7 is located within the courtyard of a house of an owner who offered the site. The large site for the school allowed for the design to be focused on its relationship to the garden and water collection while creating a peaceful learning environment.

An emphasis on external play and engagement with nature was instigated through external seating areas; a stone bench surrounding the central tree in the courtyard provided a seat in the shade, while a second bench along the school wall has become a popular lunch place for the children to enjoy the outdoors.

Bholu 6

Location: Ramipir No Tekro, Ahmedabad
Completed: 2009 and renovations in 2014
Volunteers: Simon Hearn, Jo Waterhouse, Gemma Pierce Cooke, Nikki Holdsworth and Harshil Parekh.

Bholu 6 is located on a corner site and has been orientated to address the streets on two elevations. An entry courtyard and a low level fence create a sense of arrival and a buffer to the busy street. The pre-school captures the fine balance between a school as a public facility and the importance of a safe, peaceful place to learn.

The overall planning of Bholu 6 anganwadi incorporates a generous classroom with the external courtyard housing washing and toilet facilities. After several years in the harsh slum environment, and dilapidation of the old roof, the school had become unusable and was in need of a major renovation. The renovation included raising the roof height to build in clerestory windows for light and ventilation, durable waste stone flooring, new roofing and insulating panels to the ceiling and increased privacy to the courtyard spaces by raising the wall heights and adding screens.


Bholu 5

Location: Sabarmati, Ahmedabad
Completed: 2008
Volunteers: Leanne Marshall and Harry Gardner

Bholu 5 was donated by local residents and is shared as a anganwadi during class hours and used as a household outside these times.

Bholu 5 is a wonderful example of how simple and clever design interventions can make great changes in the children’s learning space. The outdoor area and wash area was extended and improved to give the children more space and high level ventilation grilles. Recycled decorative windows and fans were incorporated to create an airy and light-filled room. Due to the quiet nature of the site, the class is sometimes conducted outside under the shade of these trees, allowing a connection to nature.

Bholu 4

Location: Sabaramati, Ahmedabad
Completed: 2008
Volunteers: Leanne Marshall and Harrison Gardner

Bholu 4 was created by extending a room on an existing local house and adding new windows, doors and an entry veranda to the street. The school, while a small intervention, is cool and well ventilated. The long space can accommodate a large number of children and its size and planning allows the space to be used as a community centre in the afternoons.


Bholu 3

Location: Ramapir No Tekro, Ahmedabad
Completed: 2009
Volunteers: Leeanne Marshall and Harrison Gardner

Bholu 3 was built on land that was generously donated by an elderly local resident, Mano-ma, who wanted to assist the children of Manav Sadhna as she has no family of her own. A compact space, the building is cleverly oriented to the site, so the school looks out to a large existing shade tree and the classroom allows light and breezes to flow through. The Bholu 3 design also incorporates a beautiful veranda space and outdoor wash area, all decorated by local artisans and the children.


Bholu 2

Location: Ramapir No Tekro, Ahmedabad
2008 and renovations in 2011
Volunteers: Jodie Fried, Jane Rothschild and Paul Tilse, Jesus Porras Montesino and Caroline Kite.

Bholu 2 was the first pre-school which was completed in collaboration with Architects Without Frontiers, Australia. The inconspicuous school space is tucked behind houses with a narrow address to the street, with a small stair and shoe store upon entry. Once inside, the classroom is expansive and light, being raised above the street level. Due to its generous size, this has allowed for an increased intake of children from the surrounding area.


Bholu 1

Location: Ramapir No Tekro, Ahmedabad
2007 and renovations in 2011
Volunteers: Jodie Fried, Jesus Porras Montesino and Caroline Kite

Bholu 1 was our very first school and was the instigator for starting The Anganwadi Project.  Bholu 1 replaced an existing dilapidated preschool that was dark, hot and unsuitable for young children to learn in. The new anganwadi was and is the most simple of all Bholus and the epitome of our grass-roots approach to building these schools. It is compact, yet bright and airy. Bathroom facilities are provided with clean tiled floors, electricity and overall a safe and joyful learning environment for the children.