I stumbled upon this amazing place back in March 2011, by way of introduction by Jaya and Raja (former teachers at Ashram Paryavaran Vidyalaya) and being sent there by Anand Ji (visionary at Ashram Paryavaran Vidyalaya). He had sent me there to deliver a donation to the school, telling me, “Go check out what they are doing for a few days.” I fell in love with the place, their lifestyle and their connection to each other as a collaborative community. I stayed there over 20 days, only returning to APV School upon Anand Ji’s request.
We initially discussed my splitting my time in thirds, spending one third year at APV, one third at SNC and one third at a new school Ananda Ji was planning to set up with his brother in their home village, Pavek. However the Universe had decided otherwise and set me up to stay there quite consistently from June 2011 – June 2012 for some of the most challenging and transformational times of my 80 months living in India (between 2010-2016). I have since returned twice: during the month of November 2012 and again spending the entire monsoon in 2016.
How I was involved:
June – August 2016
June 2011 –
otherwise offering developmental support remotely
Space For Nurturing Creativity, Shyamavan (Guptakashi, Uttarakhand, India)
Outreach & Development Associate
• Shared responsibilities in raising & mentoring children & young adults in a communal household of more than 25 people, in a rural village in the Garhwal Himalayas, including meditation and bhajan (music) sessions.
• Aside from our daily life, revolving around ‘Sruti’ (Listening), ‘Swadhaye’ (Study of Self), ‘Samvad’ (Dialouge) and ‘Samiksha’ (Critique Sessions), which are the foundations of our Holistic Education methodology, regularly participated in and organized discussion forums, camps and workshops with other youth, teachers & activists interested in education as a means for social change.
• Setup & administer website http://www.sncshyamavan.org
• Setup & co-administer Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/SpaceForNurturingCreativity
• Write grant and project proposals & collaborate in devising fundraising and program expansion strategies.
• Designed letterhead, brochures & Powerpoint presentations (bilingual Hindi / English)
• Wrote successful proposal, granting permission from the local school board director to expand scope through implementing our curriculum and alternative teaching methodologies in surrounding local government primary schools, through a partnership program.
• Guided young adults in producing their own curriculum materials to be used in school partnership program.
• Guided young adults in devising and maintaining personal professional resumes.
• Taught Yoga, Swimming, English, Creative Writing, Arts & Crafts, Photography, Computers & Multimedia
• Photograph & Video activities & events; guided others to do the same.
• Participate in general household upkeep, including organic farming, composting, painting and carpentry.