Volunteers

First of all we would like to welcome you and we are grateful for taking this time to look at our website.

Gaia Ashram is an education center where courses on Permaculture, Ecovillage-Design and Deep Ecology are held regularly. Apart from being an education center Gaia Ashram is also a farm that aims to produce a lot of vegetables and fruit. We aim to offer knowledge, new perspectives, inspiration and empowerment to everybody who comes to Gaia Ashram, and we hope volunteers can benefit a lot from working, learning, sharing and living together.

Nature

The vision of  Gaia Ashram is for us to create a community of all beings where we live in harmony with ourselves, each other and nature. On a practical level this means that we plant trees and vegetables, make compost, build our houses and facilities out of natural materials like mud and straw and do anything to restore nature. Also we aim to connect and pay respect to nature and all her beings through rituals and acknowledgement. We aim to deepen our connection with nature through head, heart, hands and the spirit.

Spirituality

We rediscover and deepen our connection with nature, with all living beings and with our own selves. We meditate twice a day and we encourage everybody to do their own spiritual practice. Also there is regular dance and yoga practice for those that are interested.

Community

Gaia Ashram is a learning center where we currently have six long term residents which are people who live on the land in which four are Om & Tom(the founders) their two children and two thai persons Fai and Thai Tom. Gaia Ashram is very open to having more long term residents.

Om is from the local village across the river and her family are also involved in the project and on a daily basis are supporting Gaia Ashram project.

Beside that there are 6-7 local people hired to work at Gaia Ashram as builders and gardeners. But they do not live at Gaia Ashram. They come to work during the day.

There are short term, long term volunteers, interns and course participants at various times.

The essential part of Gaia Ashram community is a community of the residents, volunteers, interns, course participants. Basically its a community of those who live at Gaia Ashram, short term and long term.

Gaia Ashram has created a culture of love & gratitude for nature and each other as essential part of the community core values. We have designed and experienced daily structure that align with our values and this helps us to achieve our goal while making sure we create a good sense of community. We try to create a safe space for being who you are – it is a community where we support each other, live, work, cook and eat together. We have sharing circles and celebrations, and we try our best to live in harmony with all living beings on the land. Volunteers that come to join us, short term or long term will be integrated in the community.

How to become a volunteer at Gaia Ashram?

We take volunteers throughout the year and we welcome volunteers who are genuinely interested to learn about taking care of nature, ourselves & each other.  Volunteers who are interested in sustainable living, permaculture, deep ecology, ecovillage living & are looking for changing their lives to become more sustainable & holistic are most welcome. Gaia Ashram also welcomes volunteer families and people with kids joining the community.

If you are really interested to volunteer at Gaia Ashram please send your inquiry to this email gaiaschoolasia@gmail.com and please fill in the following google form in the link below:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/12XhC6HRp4Zk_pUq6DGTUUzF1Gcz8sfVBmKi3N_wvnQ4/edit

We will reply your email to confirm availability, because sometime it can be full.

We ask volunteers to arrive on a Monday morning as we have a Gaia Ashram tour in the afternoon with new arrivals.


Activities Description:

Generally we have three kinds of activities at Gaia Ashram building,  gardening & nature regeneration. The work depends on the season. We have three seasons in Thailand and below are the seasons and the activities related to the seasons:

Rainy Season July until October

In this time we are planting lots of trees and some water-loving veggies. There might be some ongoing building projects going on that we will be working on.

Cool season November until February.

This is the main time for vegetable production and organic gardening. But we are also building during this time as it is dry..

Dry/Hot Season March until JuneGenerally it is a time for building and this is also a good time for us to go places that are not so hot.

Natural Building

From the building perspective we are focusing at the moment on ongoing projects which include Sala, the Fairy House, our guest houses and there is the roundhouse where some long term members will live. We try to use as many natural materials as possible and we try to design our systems to have a very low to zero environmental impact.

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We try to close our loops by for example building a compost toilet we reduce huge amounts of waste, water & chemical usage that is associated with conventional western type toilet systems and sewage treatment plant. Our waste actually becomes food for our timber trees. Volunteers will have the possibility to learn and gain skill about building & natural building. If you already have some skills we will give you the freedom to experience and refine your skills.

Ecosystem Restoration & Regeneration

Gaia Ashram is also in the establishing phase from nature’s perspective, the land we are regenerating is 6-hectares and used to be a rice field i.e. nothing on it. Now after about 5 years we can see the land is restoring itself & transforming, pioneering species are doing their work, native trees are coming up again and we assist nature or Gaia in its self-restorative ability. This process of assisting nature is one of the most important volunteers jobs.

You will be here to help regenerate and work on ecosystems restoration on this site. We will be working on our agroforestry systems, organic gardens and a lot more. By doing this volunteers can get an understanding of what it takes to help nature restore/heal itself i.e. from a zero bare situation towards a thriving throbbing with life productive edible Eco-system and thereby making its contribution to the larger Biosphere.

To heal nature and ourselves is what we are all about at Gaia Ashram and we hope your time at Gaia Ashram inspires and potentially transformational for you and that you will take this home with you and then apply aspects of it into your own setting, this could be on a big piece of land or it could be on your balcony in a big city. In order to learn about how we can create beautiful landscapes we need to make steps, develop skills, cultivate our heart and minds.

We are also looking for people have skills in Social Media, website development, general event promotions and other office related skills. Please let us know if you have these skills and would be interested in supporting Gaia Ashram on this level.

Work Structures:

During the week we work in the morning together either in the garden/food forest, alley crops, ricefields, ponds, our wetland or on natural building. In the afternoon in the first two weeks you can chose from the project list and can work on that alone or in project teams.

Volunteers, guest & interns join into the chores groups that help us to organize our community life and also to take responsibility of our shared home. Volunteers cook breakfast, lunch and take care of the dishes, take care of the compost on a daily rotational basis & clean the community spacs. When you arrive this will be explained by the long-term community members. If something is not clear please do not hesitate to ask the team or any longer-term volunteers.

Daily Schedule

  • 5:45-6:15           Meditation
  • 6:15-7:15            Yoga
  • 7:00-7:45          Breakfast Preparation
  • 7:45-8:30         Breakfast in Silence
  • 8:45-11:30        Morning Work Session
  • 11:30-12:30      Lunch Preparation
  • 12:30-13:30     Lunch
  • 1330-15:00      Break
  • 15:00-17:30     Afternoon Work Session
  • 18:30-1900      Sunset Meditation
  • 19:00-20:00    Diner
  • 20:00-21:00    Potential evening activity
  • 22:00                Lights-Off

 Weekly structure

  • Monday:       Cleaning blitz/Intro week/Afternoon work session/ tour
  • Tuesday:       Regular Working Sessions
  • Wednesday: Regular Working Sessions/ Trip to Market
  • Thursday:     Regular Work Sessions/watch documentary
  • Friday:           Regular Work Session
  • Saturday:      Well -being circle, Team meetings/ Personal Study
  • Sunday:         Day-off and Internet trip

Practical Information:

Thai visa

We recommend volunteers to get a Thai Tourist Visa from the Thai embassy in their home country. Generally you can get a 2 months visa which can be extended with at the local immigration of office in Udonthani for a months. It is also possible to get 30 days visa on arrival & then cross the border to Vientaine, Laos to extend your visa at the Thai Embassy there. We are relatively near Vientaine about two hours travel from Gaia Ashram. If you intend to stay longer the 3 months at Gaia Ashram please let us know and we can give you more information.

Insurance

We ask volunteers to get a appropriate travel insurance that covers volunteering in Thailand in case of any incidents.Please check out the following insurance companies as a reference they specialize on travelers and would cover volunteering:

Nomads:

https://www.worldnomads.com/travel-insurance/?affiliate=hlpexc&subId=&affiliateTrackingId=0fe1f06efc334d0ebec7acf5e282e489&utm_source=hlpexc&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=Affiliate&utm_content=link

OVEurope:

http://www.oveuropa.com/

Financial Contribution

Gaia Ashram has been developed to the stage where we are now through personal financial investments by the founders, through our education services, some donations and contributions from volunteers.

We ask volunteers for a financial contribution to help to cover the cost of food, other daily living expenses (such as electricity, groceries, water etc.) as well as paying for Thai staff that are supporting the project & the volunteers. Your contribution helps us to sustain the project, your contribution also supports us to have volunteers stay with us and pass on our knowledge how to sustain and regenerate the world.

We value if volunteers stay longer and therefore the contribution goes down the longer you stay with us. We created the following pricing scale for staying in our dormitory:

Stay with us as a guest
2,450 bath/week or 350 bath/day

Stay with us as a volunteer (min. 2 weeks)   
2,000 bath/week or 275 bath/day

Stay with us as volunteer for a month
1,750 bath/week or 250 bath/day

Long-term volunteer (after a month)                                      
1,300 bath/week or 175 bath/day

If you stay longer then 3 months there is the possibility of joining the residents team. If you have an interest in staying longer then three months then you might be considering doing an internship at Gaia Ashram. For more information about Gaia Ashram Internships please check out the following link:

https://gaiaschoolasia.com/?page_id=143743

What to bring?

  • Flashlight
  • In cool season (November till beginning March) some warm clothes
  • Rainy season boots are helpful/raincoat or umbrella
  • Mosquito spray (also sold at Gaia Ashram)
  • Work clothes
  • If you have some project to share bring the relevant information to share.

Travel information

There are many ways to get to Gaia Ashram and for a more detailed description we would like to refer you to the following page:

https://gaiaschoolasia.com/?page_id=175

FACILITIES at Gaia Ashram

Gaia Sala

The sala was the first structure build at Gaia Ashram with adobe mubricks and reclaimed wood at the heart of Gaia Ashram. The sala is still in process of being build and has given many volunteers, interns and course participants an opportunity to learn about natural building. The heart of Gaia Ashram has held many people and the doors of the heart of Gaia Ashram are wide open for you!

Groundfloor of Gaia Sala

This is multifunctional space as it is our common space, dining space, library, meditation & yoga space and workshop space.

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Second floor of the sala

This is the dormitory where we have space for about twenty people to sleep. There are enough mosquito nets, mattresses, blankets and cushions.

GAI201419
Dormitory second floor Sala

Gaia Fairy house  

For those that want more privacy there is the fairy house which is right next to the forest. We call it the fairy house because the little forest is wild and full of fairies and other unseen beings.

There are three bigger rooms with fan upstairs ideal for a couple or family (max 4) with a small balcony looking into the forest.

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Big Room Pricing:

  • + 350 bath per day.
  • + 1,750 bath for a week
  • 6,000 bath per month

Then there are also single rooms downstairs.

Single Room Pricing:

  • + 300 bath per day
  • + 1,500 bath per week
  •  5,000 bath per month
P1420094
Single Room

Tents:

Gaia Ashram welcomes people on bicycles that are traveling the world and for people traveling with their own tents to Gaia Ashram there are available spaces to set them up. Best not to camp out in rainy season. Same rate as dormitory applies. Please inform us beforehand if you plan to stay in your tent.

Other facilities:

  • Minisala is a small open hut to chill out or to have meetings with other people.

  • Kitchen, the kitchen is an important community space of Gaia Ashram and we are happy to share that recently the kitchen has been upgraded and looks beautiful.

  • Compost toilets and separate showers for men and women. Gaia Ashram is also proud to have a vermicomposting watertoilet seen below.
  • Internet Shop & wifi spot in the next village is usually available everyday and can be walked to or we have bicycle that can be used. We recommend volunteers to get a thai sim and get an internet package. Additional internet credit can be bought in local village or through most ATM machines. We can recommend AIS provider as they have good coverage and English customer support. For more information go to:

        https://www.ais.co.th/travellersim/

  • Laundry can be done by hand at Gaia Ashram or there is the option by machine in the village which is 40 bath per kilo.

NATURAL PRODUCTS

We are asking volunteers to bring natural products such as natural soap & shampoo as the waste water goes directly into the land. At Gaia Ashram we aim to have all natural products for domestic use.

We have created the Gaia Shop which is still in its developmental phase. Here we we sell some natural products from the land and from other projects with similar values i.e. Mosquito Repellent, Natural Soap, Shampoo, Organic Rice from our landherbal teas etc.

If interested in purchasing these products please inform the team. Be aware that as we are still in the developmental phase not all products are available at all times.

Part of the profit from the sell of these natural products will go into the Gaia Ashram project & eventually part of the profit will go into supporting the local community. It is our long-term aim to work with the local community to empower them to create more & more natural products for sale and to provide an opportunity for them to earn some extra income.

Your support would be much valued to help achieve our aim in getting the wider community more green & re-localizing the economy. For those volunteers with skill or interest in learning about making natural products you are most welcome to help us.

WASTE

In line with our values we try to reduce waste at Gaia Ashram. We ask volunteers to not bring waste to Gaia Ashram and during your stay at Gaia Ashram we will process our waste into ecobricks that we can use for building project. More info about ecobricks watch the following:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbPt1Jn3YLw

FOOD

As volunteers you will cook breakfast and lunch together in shifts. In the evening we have Om’s sister in law Gig cook for us if there is more then 5 volunteers staying at Gaia Ashram. We cook vegetarian at Gaia Ashram and there are always vegan option for vegans.

 ***No Alcohol or Drugs: We ask volunteers not to drink alcohol or use drugs on the land. We ask smokers to smoke out of sight away from other Community members at a designated spot for smoking.

Gaia Ashram welcomes you and if you want to join us as a volunteer at Gaia Ashram Thailand please sent us an email to the following address:

gaiaschoolasia@gmail.com

  • May all the work that we do be of benefit to all beings and mother Earth!
  • May Mother Earth Gaia and all her beings be happy and thriving!
  • May we dedicate our lives to take care of ourselves, each other, Mother Earth and all beings!