The Gaia Ashram Internship is a one month Summer Internship program on Ecovillage Design, Permaculture and Deep Ecology. The internship will be a holistic participatory learning experience & process.
Interns will experience being part of the Gaia Ashram Community and we will live together for one month at– Gaia Ashram-. At Gaia Ashram we belief in holistic learning that balances the head, hands & heart. Gaia Ashram encourages participatory learning & values the power of community in holding the learning space. We design the daily & weekly structure of the internship and of our lives here based on these values and principles.
Theoretical learning (Head)
The theoretical sessions will be participatory and interactive. It will cover the 4 keys of Ecovillage Design Education (Social, Economical, Ecological and Worldview inspired by Gaia Education). Each week will cover one of the Ecovillage Design Keys and integrated into this we will be introduced to Permaculture Design & Deep Ecology in terms of philosophy, movement and personal experiences. Overall, We will have a maximum of 2-3 hours of theory per day on the session days, to also create lots of space for practical experiential learning. See more details of the key content below.
Practical learning (Hands – on)
For the hands – on practical learning we will be developing the Gaia Ashram’s farm and restoring nature on the Gaia Ashram land using permaculture strategies & techniques that are appropriate for the Rainy Season & the land and its local context. The hands-on work will focus on Gardening work i.e. developing the vegetable gardens, planting seeds & seedlings, transplanting, propagation of plants, making composts, growing and maintaining a Food Forest, planting green manures, planting lots of trees, planting seasonal crops. Apart from the Gardening we will also will be doing some natural building which mostly will focus on creating natural finishes using mud plasters and art works on the buildings. Interns will also get to work on a project they want to work on on Saturday which is personal project day( see more details about personal project below). We will also be learning some practical skills from local people such as weaving bamboo and making mats from waterlily .
Heart & Spiritual Dimension (Heart)
Weaved into the four weeks will be the lots of opportunities & exercises to connect with the heart & spiritual dimension. During the one month living together we designed to have space in our daily and weekly structure for personal reflection, well -being checking, deep sharing, attunement, practice yoga & meditation. Through the Deep Ecology work we will also be able to connect deeply with ourselves, each other & nature.
We believe that education that empower us need to be a holistic education and also need to be held in a supportive ground and environment such as a community. Therefore, the Gaia Ashram Internship, as well as other programs that are and going to be held here, will start with creating a supportive community among the people who will live and learn together for one month. Facilitators(the Gaia Ashram Team) and all interns will hold the community together throughout the month long journey. This aspect will make our learning even more holistic as it will give us an experience of Being, beside the Thinking, Doing and Feelings we will learn from the sessions.
Below we give the Daily & Weekly structure at Gaia Ashram.
Key Content of the Gaia Ashram Internship of Rainy Season
1. Social Week or People Care (3rd until the 8th of July)
During the social week we will get to know each other, build up trust, strengthen the connections within the group, among the people, with the surrounding nature and with the local people. we will also about communications skills. We will create the foundations of how we can be positively living together as a community. we will establish our common ground and values together. It might require of us to do inner work, to be self-reflective, to let go of inner judgements & preconceptions, to open ourselves up to experience everything as fresh & new.
During the Social Week we will cover topics of :
- Community & trust building and Embracing diversity
- Personal Empowerment & leadership
- Communication skills, Decision-making & Sharing
- Health & Healing
- Education, Social Network & Activism
2. Ecology or Earth care (10th until the 15th of July)
During the Ecology week we will learn about different strategies that will help us in building sustainable human settlements that are self-reliant, resilient & self-regenerating. We will be learning about how we as humans can co-create with nature rather than to against it. We will work on acquiring practical skills that help us to be moving towards the vision where humans & nature are living in harmony with each other. We will learn about strategies and practices that help create living systems that thrive, are abundant & can sustain humans as well as other beings and the earth as the whole.
In this week we will learn about:
- Permaculture Design, ethics & principles
- Natural Building and using local natural materials. We will practically learn & apply plastering with earth & creating natural finishes and natural art works on walls and buildings.
- Interns will be learning about and making composts and biofertilizer.
- Interns will learn and help to establish and maintain the Gaia Ashram’s Food Forest
- Interns will learn and work on establishing the Veggie Garden.
3. Worldview (17th until the 22nd of July)
During the worldview week we will look at how we perceive our world & how we can change our worldview. We vision and create a story for the future where humans live in harmony with nature & each other. We will look at how we can work with nature rather then against it. We will learn about Deep Ecology & “The work that re-connects” as developed by Joanne Macy. We will be introduced to the concept of the “Great Turning” & explore Deep Ecology. We will raise our ecological sensitivity by spending time in nature & observing nature through all our senses.
During the worldview week we will cover:
- Holistic Worldview
- Listening & connecting to Nature
- Deep Ecology
- Celebration, Creativity & Art
- Socially and Ecologically Engaged Spirituality
4. Economic or Fair share (24th until the 29th of July)
During the economic week we will learn about the dominant economic system and the materialistic worldview; how it is affecting the social, ecological & spiritual dimensions. In the local context we will look specifically how this global economic system is effecting local farmers. We will use Participatory Action Research to connect with the local Isaan village & the Isaan farmers in order to understand the economic situation of Gaia Ashram’s bioregion. We will then move beyond this learn about alternative economics systems that focus on Right Livelihood, Social Enterprise, how we can support ourselves & our local communities in a fair way.
During the Economic Week we will cover topics:
- Right Livelihood
- Social Enterprise
- Global & Local Economy
- Other alternative Economic systems
Founder of Gaia Ashram & Gaia School Asia. Lived and worked at Wongsanit Ashram in Thailand for 8 years. Wongsanit Ashram is a intentional community for simple living and for engaging in social action and spiritual practice founded by socially engaged buddhist activist Sulak Sivaraksa . Here she was trained as and started working as a facilitator. After that she spent one year living and working at the Panya project which is a permaculture based community in Thailand. Involved in NextGEN (Next Generation of the Global Ecovillage Network) as the current representative of NextGEN Oceania and Asia. She teaches and facilitates courses such as Ecovillage Design Education (part of Gaia Education), Socially Engaged Buddhism/Spirituality and Training of Trainers. She has facilitated courses for NGO workers, young Buddhists activists, international students, children and teachers. She uses participatory teaching methods and her focus is on deep ecology and nature connection.
Tom is the Co-founder of Gaia Ashram & Gaia School Asia. He has a sensitivity to nature and spent a lot of time in nature. This sensitivity let to a deep commitment to help nature in its healing process. In his role as documentary maker he has used the medium of film as a teaching tool to raise awareness about environmental problems that we are facing in our world and the harm we are doing to nature. Tom first got in touch with the ecovillage movement in 2007 when he did an Ecovillage Design Education course at Findhorn. He spent the last several years working with nature by working on organic and permaculture farms throughout Europe. In gardening Tom uses ecological principles and intuition. The other part of the solution in his view is education and sensitizing youth to the importance of taking care of nature, as they are the future caretakers of our planet earth. Tom through Gaia School Asia and NextGEN Oceania & Asia has taught in many schools in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Thailand about local environmental problems and the need to come up with practical solutions.
Ben is a permaculture designer, consultant and teacher with a background in organic and biodynamic gardening / agriculture, natural building, horticulture and landscape architecture. Ben has been actively practicing and teaching Permaculture for the last 5 years in England, Thailand and India and is currently managing the gardens at the Panya Project, a well known certified Permaculture Education center and international community. He loves community living, natural building and is most often to be found with his hands in the earth working in the plant realm. Ben is passionate about applying Permaculture design to every element of life and believes in being the change we wish to see in the world.
Prema has been traveling and living in intentional and spiritual communities for the past 15 years. Her passion is being part of creating sustainable conscious communities, who are actively working toward harmony and sustainability in the physical, environmental, relational and spiritual aspects.
Prema has diplomas in Art Therapy as well as Group Facilitation, and has spent many years exploring various conscious movement and dance practices, and is also facilitator of Dancing Freedom. Prema has a love of Deep ecology processes and working with communication and social relationships as a key to human evolution. She is also writing a funny children’s novel, based metaphorically in spiritual concepts.
Who might be interested in this program?
- Those who are interested in community living and want to learn and experience it with others who share similar values – like minded people.
- Those who are interested in Deep Ecology, nature connection & spirituality and want to learn to ground it as a basis of every day living.
- Those who are interested in Permaculture in practice.
- Those who are interested in holistic sustainable living and want to gain knowledge, skills, experience, confidence and empowerment in seeking for a sustainable living.
- Those who are interested in Ecovillage design & Ecovillage Design Education(Gaia Education) and want to have overall concept of ecovilage design
- Those who are interested in learning to put ecovillage design into practice, putting vision into action.
- Those who like to learn and gain experience of forming a community and pioneering a project at its very early stage.
- Those who have land or a project they want to according to similar values.
* read about the design of Gaia Ashram at the Gaia Ashram page! https://gaiaschoolasia.com/gaia-school-asia-ashram/
Facilities: Since this is an internship program for pioneers, interns should not expect much comfort. Basic facilities and needs will be provided for.
Accommodation: Dormitory, second floor of the Gaia Sala.
Common Space for sessions: Indoor session will be held at the first floor of Gaia Sala & the Mini-Sala and practical session will be happening on the land.
Toilet and Shower: compost toilets and roofless showers for men and women.
Internet: Internet Shop in the next village is usually available everyday & we have an internet stick for sharing. We will provide trip to internet on sundays.
Food: Healthy local vegetarian food will be served by local cooks. The interns will have opportunity to learn how to make Isaan and Thai food during the internship. The interns will team up to cook breakfast in turns and in the weekends interns will team up amongst each other to take turns to cook lunch and diner.
No Alcohol or Drugs: We ask volunteers not to drink alcohol or use drugs on the land. We ask smokers to smoke at the smoking corner only. this will help to provide healthy environment for learning and living together for one month. We encourage people to take this one month as an opportunity to have a break from their smoking or drinking.
For the internship we maintain a sliding scale according to income or to each persons financial situation:
Minimum: 600 euro
Middle income: 700 euro
Higher income: 800 or more euro
We ask participants to make a 100 euro non-refundable downpayment through Eventbrite. This will secure your spot.Here is the link to Eventbrite to make the downpayment:
We will have 20 spaces available for the Internship after it is full you would be put on the waiting list.
The course fee includes food, accommodation and the teacher & organizers fee. The profit of the course will be invested to develop the Gaia Ashram project.
We understand that all participants will have a different financial situation and through this sliding scale we hope to give the opportunity to all to be able to join the internship. We recommend that participants join the whole duration of the course as to be fully immersed in the community.
For more information, contact the Gaia Ashram team:
Settled in your inside center,
Feeling the breath of the earth,
Breathing as the unity of a community,
Hugging the local customs of the Isan Culture
Sharing the inspirational project of natural life…
The sun raises everyday in Gaia Ashram following the steps of the wind, as the bird does in its unique destiny. Here, for two weeks, or one month, or even longer, times goes on and flows with the hands on full of clay, with the mouth speaking dreams that grows in the organic gardening, with the hearts joining practices of non-violent communication, with the unknown steps into the deep ecology under the stars.
Gaia Ashram is a nursery of seeds waiting for you to come and let them been spread in the heart of the Mother Earth/Pachamama/AMALURRA, before the sunset of everyday.
IZAN (Basque walker)
Sabina Arokiam, Malaysia
“One month that you don’t have to worry about how to improve people or live in any social norm. Freely be yourself, open yourself. These maximise your learning, and build up a solid real connection with all beings. It is perfect. Inspiring learning place, with a bunch of people who have passion and creativity for a better future.”
Natalie Mobe, Hong Kong
Victor wrote about his experience at Gaia Ashram & the Gaia Ashram Internship in his blog:
Reference to the previous Gaia Ashram Internship by Surplus Permaculture:
“May this Gaia Ashram Internship benefit all beings & our beautiful life giving Earth”