Kalpetta: A bunch of researchers and students from world over have come together to set up a better life at a tiny little hamlet in Wayanad, Vellaramkunnu.

With their focus on financial and social empowerment, researches from Amrita University and students from Netherlands and Switzerland have come to the hamlet setting up a solar grid and giving lessons on using a lemon grass oil distillery.

The project attended by volunteers from Delft University of Technology, Netherlands and EPFL Switzerland is being coordinated through the 'Live in Lab' project promoted by the Amrita University. The project aims to empower the local tribes and enable them to live a sustainable life both ecologically and financially.

The Solar Micro Grid has been installed at the Vellaramkunnu hamlet and will power 42 households. It has been fitted with grid monitors co-developed by Savitha Krishna Uppalluri (Amrita University) and Henty Beetle (EPFL). The monitoring instruments installed in the grid by the researchers will supply data to the research labs at Amrita University.

Lawrance Griffian and Jarmablam from the Delft University have another job cut out for them. They have been busy installing a low cost lemon grass distillation unit at the hamlet. The duo is training the locals in using the distillation unit to produce medicinal essential oils that can be marketed as value added products.

The community at Vellaramkunnu, numbering around 300, used to live on logging and collection of lemon grass. The group led by Ranjith Mohan, Co-ordinator, Live in labs, will also help market the oil and soaps produced under the program.