Various undertakings have been started at Uluru Children’s Home (UCH) to increase its self-sufficiency capabilities. These are primarily in the area of UCH’s daily requirements such as food, water, and energy.
- Rainwater harvesting: This is a recently-implemented project aimed towards self-sufficiency. In partnership with the Rotary Clubs of Monash (Melbourne) and Besant Nagar (Chennai), rainwater-harvesting works through collecting monsoon rainwater from the roof of the dormitories and then storing it. This project aims to improve the quality of drinking water at UCH an in turn reduce reliance on well water which was salinated by seawater after the 2004 tsunami. The foundation for the rainwater harvesting project was laid in March 2008 and it is nearly operational. Once completed and functional, UCH should be able to independently provide clean and fresh drinking water for more than 80 residents. The next monsoon season will hopefully see adequate amount of water collected.
- Banana and Vegetable/Herb Garden: The Banana Garden, with many varieties of bananas, was recently planted at UCH. In addition, a vegetable/herb garden is being implemented. These two endeavours will not only increase the self-sufficiency of UCH and provide the children with fresh, home-grown produce, but will also teach the children gardening skills to grow their own vegetables, and how to care for the environment.
- Milking cows: A generous donation of milking cows to UCH is in the process of being finalised. This will hopefully, to a large extent, make UCH self-reliant on milk for its residents. Farming and agricultural education is being planned for the children to add to their already extensive educational programmes.
- Energy audit: An extensive energy audit of UCH and the adjoining administration buildings is in the process of being implemented. This audit will assess to what extent other energy sources, such as solar, wind, or biomass, would be viable and cost-effective for use at UCH.
- Standby power supply: A study has commenced in collaboration with Engineers Without Borders Australia into the viability of a standby power supply for UCH. Uninterrupted power supply is essential, as at present UCH is reliant on a small, inadequate generator in case of power shortages (which often occur for 8 or more hours per day). This project will assess the adequacy of the current standby generator in providing this alternative service, and then assess and identify the most cost effective and environmentally sustainable solution.
- Vermi Compost: UCH has begun a program where cow dung and biodegradable waste are collected and placed into a pit along with earthworms. This compost eventually become fertalizer which is used in the gardens. In the future UCH may sell this fertilizer which would be 10 rupees per kg.