Bethania Branch of SABHA

24, نوفمبر 2010


The Bethania branch of SABHA began in December of 2004 as a response to the destruction caused by the Asian tsunami. The Atlanta International School (known commonly as AIS), a private school located in Buckhead, joined forces with the Kodaikanal International School in southern India, using the school’s local knowledge in order to send aid to those who were in most need. It was through the Kodaikanal International School that AIS came into contact with the Bethania Orphanage, formally known as the Bethania Association. Located in the small town of Kannivadi, Tamil Nadu, the orphanage houses both orphans and needy children.


In the summer of 2005, Mrs. Shanta Kalyanasundaram, the founder of parent organization SABHA and a teacher at AIS, formally adopted the orphanage and created a student run CAS (Community, Action, Service being the three pillars in the International Baccalaureate’s extracurricular requirements) group in order to raise money to support it. The Bethania group is, therefore, run almost completely by the students, including both high school students as well as middle school ones. Each year these students plan and run the annual Bethania Benefit, an event that acts as the group’s primary fundraiser. As this is such a large event, involving not only a dinner but entertainment, which usually manifests itself as a varied assortment of performances by the students, as well, it takes most of the year to plan. Every week, the group meets and discusses the details of this fundraiser, which has traditionally been an immense success, raising money not only through the tickets purchased by the attendees, but also through the items bought in the live auction that takes place throughout the evening.


The fact that Bethania relies so heavily on the students for its success is only one part of what makes it such a unique organization. Using the concept of sustainable development as its basis, the Bethania branch strives to provide aid to the orphanage through less traditional means. Instead of simply sending money, the organization chooses to provide the orphanage with the tools it needs to cultivate its own continued success. In the past, Bethania has raised money for livestock, seeds, a proper water supply system, and education for the children. These projects along with many others have served to improve the lives of the children drastically with the final item being the most important. The Bethania branch believes that, if given the proper education, a child will be able to better their lives and then, in turn, better the lives of others living at the orphanage. This use of a cyclical model of benefit has proven to be extremely successful so far, much more so than the traditional one-way flow model that is seen so often in foreign aid models.

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The concept of sustainable development and sustainable design focuses solely on creating something that is either renewable or capable of supporting itself without additional input. This has been applied to the idea of foreign aid with varying success. The plan created by the Bethania branch of SABHA falls under sustainable development and design as it aims to create an environment in which the receivers of aid, in this case being the orphanage, can use skills and infrastructure they have been provided with to support themselves without any additional interference from the organization. This forces the orphanage to sustain itself and, in turn, produce a renewable resource in the form of its educated children, who can then go on to join the workforce as skilled laborers.

The two negotiations we find the most interesting are: the relationship that exists between the orphanage and the Bethania organization in terms of “donor” and “receiver”, raising the question of who being what, and the effect of education on the community as a whole, how it influences development and quality of life not only for those being educated but their surroundings as well. Through the Bethania case study, these two areas of interest raise interesting facts as well as questions, creating a complex web of exchange between not only the organization and the orphanage, but between the orphanage and its surrounding communities, allowing the organization to indirectly benefit a much broader area of need.

Elevator Pitch: Mold Detector

21, نوفمبر 2010

Our product is for anyone living in an apartment, house, or other man-made living space who is concerned about their exposure to molds and other harmful allergens or bacteria. Molds are often hard to detect and can have harmful effects on the human body, some of which can be fatal. This is why we offer an innovation to make the detection of mold in household environments an easier, more accurate process. With sensors that are designed to pick up the presence of mycotoxins, the harmful toxins released by mold, in the immediate environment, our product can readily signal to the user that the current condition of their home is detrimental to their health. By removing the possibility of human error which often occurs during mold inspections, a person’s living conditions and health can be significantly bettered, therefore preventing conditions such as asthma and a variety of allergic reactions from developing.

Supporting Research:

Mold Entrances
Mold spores can enter a household through open doorways, windows, heating systems, ventilation and air conditioning units. They attach themselves to your clothing and can even be brought in by pets. When they find the right conditions they grow and contaminate the air in your home….

General Mold Information

Toxic Molds in Homes, Stachybotrys chartarum

Molds in Your Home Can Cause Health Problems and Structural Damage

The home buying and selling community is abuzz with talk about insurance and liability issues involving stachybotrys chartarum, also known as black mold or toxic mold. Some homeowners have even burned down their homes, and everything in them, because they felt it was the only way to eradicate toxic mold from their surroundings.

Molds in your Home

Mold health issues are potentially harmful effects of molds.

Molds (also spelled “moulds”) are ubiquitous in the biosphere, and mold spores are a common component of household and workplace dust. However, when mold spores are present in abnormally high quantities, they can present a health hazard to humans, potentially causing allergic reactions, producing mycotoxins,[1] or causing fungal infection (mycosis)….

Mold Health Issues

Water Damage, Mold and House Insurance

You’ve had water damage in your house due to a burst pipe, a roof leak or a heavy summer storm. You hope that your insurance will cover the damage. What to do? First, read about mold below. You may not know the implications of water and mold damage.

Mold Damage

****Field research is pending for when Jessie Hughes goes to mold ridden St. Croix. Stay tuned for the juicy details by Friday!****


11, نوفمبر 2010

Group Members: Jessie Hassett, Sarah Banks, Jessie Hughes

Broad Topic: Health

Narrowed Topic: The impact of allergens and other harmful particles (mold, bacteria, etc.) on the household environment.

Field Activity: Observation of different living spaces and what factors affect the inhabitant’s quality of life.

SABHA and Astoria Scum River

9, نوفمبر 2010
Bethania Branch of SABHA
Dedicated towards promoting sustainable development in rural India, the Bethania CAS (Community Action Service) Group is part of the parent organization SABHA and is based at the Atlanta International School. A prime example of “Sustainable Design in a Service Environment”, Bethania strives to better the living conditions of those living in the Bethania Orphanage through unconventional means of aid. Instead of funneling money raised by the organization straight into the orphanage, Bethania takes that money and uses it to purchase items that the orphanage can then use to take charge of its own betterment. In the past, these items have taken the form of cattle, seeds, and even a water pump system that has now become indispensible. By altering the design of community service and foreign aid, the dependency cycle is broken and the children that were once receivers of aid can become self-sufficient adults that can then, in turn, benefit their own community. This is Bethania’s ultimate goal.

Taxonomic Categories:
– Sustainable Design
– Community Beneficial Design
– Global Oriented Design

– Relationship between the “donor” and the “receiver”.
– Cyclical relationship between further education and bettering the overall community.
– Return flow of aid from former “receivers” after they have secured careers.

Astoria Scum River Bridge
Art is capable of many things, taking the form of a painting, a poster, or even a small bridge with enough room for a single pedestrian to cross. The story of the Astoria Scum River Bridge is an interesting one and shows how a simple act of designing and then building can set into motion a community response to a problem. By building the Astoria Scum River Bridge, Posterchild and Jason Eppink called attention to a leak that had been left unattended for decades, spilling out water onto the sidewalk that would then freeze in the winter and become hazardous to pedestrians. The bridge was a piece of ironic design, of protesting through “solving”. It fixed through not fixing and it that way it is absolutely brilliant.
Taxonomic Categories:
– Community Beneficial Design
– Protest Through Design
– Unsolving Design
– How to effectively get the problem across to the right people.
– How to obtain the resources needed.
– How to make sure that the same problem doesn’t happen again.