“Connecting with cultural, spiritual and ecological roots; A two month Journey along the Maekong River by the Gaia School Asia team, to connect with local children, youth, teachers and schools, and together deepening our connection with the culture and nature, through our holistic educational programs that are based on Deep Ecology philosophy, Permaculture Design and the Ecovillage Education movement!”
Our Gaia School Asia team consists of 4 experienced teachers/facilitators who have been working with children, youth and teachers throughout the world. We represent Gaia School Asia which is a voluntary organization that wishes to see a future where we, humans, live in harmony with nature with awareness, understanding, love and respect. We believe that we are not separate from nature and that all beings have intrinsic value. We believe that children are born with a natural connection to nature. In collaboration with schools, communities, NGOs and parents, we aim to support children and youth in Asia, through our educational activities, to keep and deepen their connections to nature as well as encouraging them to seek a lifestyle that is in harmony with nature. We also represent NextGEN Asia which is a network of youth of Ecovillage movement in Asia.
We believe that nature has her spirit and this spirit is not separate from all the lives that rely on her. Cultures that are built in respect and connection with nature are valuable and also a key to sustainability.
As part of Gaia School Asia’s & NextGEN Asia’s vision of strengthening & awakening the “Spirit of Asia”, we have a yearly outreach program where we journey to connect with Nature’s Spirit and her beings, her people and culture in Asia. Our educational programs for children, youth and schoolteachers are deeply inspired by the learning, connections and stories we gain along the way. Our education programs are also inspired by Deep Ecology philosophy, Permaculture and Ecovillage Education movement that is adapted for the cultural contexts, it is designed to deepen, strengthen the connection with nature & culture for sustainability, inspire participants to care for the earth in their hearts and in their actions, build up skills for sustainable living and ecological practices.
THE STORY OF “THE SPIRIT OF THE MAEKONG”
The Maekong River is a mighty river in Asia. Many lives & beings have been relying on this river directly and indirectly for centuries. We believe the Maekong River has her spirit and many peoples living near her also hold that belief , for them she takes the form of “ a Waterdragon or Naga”. Her spirit does not separate from all lives that rely on her. We are called to learn and share her stories. This mighty river deeply inspired us to take a journey along her banks to see how people have been connected or disconnected from her. How are the ecosystems developed along her sides? How is this development affecting her? How are these systems sustained?
ACTIVITIES WE WILL OFFER:
We will present our educational programs that reconnect, deepen and acknowledge the connection with the river and Nature amongst the children, youth and schoolteachers. We will also be working on practical eco-projects with local youth & children.
– Week-long School Education programs, that are adapted to suit the local and cultural context. Our education programs are designed to engage the mind, hands, heart and spirit.
– Connecting to village Youth groups taking time to learn from them and hear their stories. Providing youth empowerment workshops and doing hands-on projects/ actions together.
– Connecting with like-minded schoolteachers.This is part of the “Teacher of the Earth” campaign of Gaia School Asia.
– Collecting and sharing stories of children and youth who have been active in trying to sustain or regenerate the abundance of Earth. The stories of the youth will be part of “Young Spirit of Asia” campaign.
– Documenting the journey: what we learn, what we share and processes we use in our programs. This documentation of materials will be shared for free online.
EDUCATIONAL PROCESSES & WORKSHOPS
To get more information about the educational process go to our website:
Previously we did the “Spirit of the Himalaya” campaign. We took the journey from Sri Lanka all the way up to the Himalaya to learn and offered similar educational programs. To read about it in detail you can go to the link of one of the newsletters of the “Spirit of the Himalaya Journey”
To see a slideshow of our previous work go to:
Sri lanka Youth group:
WHAT WE HOPE TO ACHIEVE:
– Children & youth become aware of the ecological issues occurring locally and globally, inspired and empowered to take care or to keep taking care of the earth
– Raising awareness amongst teachers of the ecological issues and the importance in being part of the solutions. inspire and empower them to tell a different story of the earth. A story that will inspire children and youth to take care or keep taking care of the earth.
– Long-Term objective of the journey is for Gaia School Asia & NextGEN Oceania & Asia to be networking with Schools, Youth Groups & NGOs in Laos & Isaan (North-East of Thailand) to create a regional network of educators & youth who are inspired to take care of the Earth & to connect the local with the global movement.
– Documenting & gathering teaching materials of the workshop process & sharing these resources with others in the network & with those that are interested in nature education.
– Inspire youth & children in other regions to take positive action within their communities.
WHO WILL BENEFIT:
Children, Schools, Teachers & Local NGOs in Laos and the North-East of Thailand
Two months from 01 March until 10th of May
We will be traveling South along the Mekong River from Vientiane, Laos to Pakse, Laos and then we will be crossing into Thailand & work our way back up along the Thai side of the Mekong River to Nong Kai & then back to Gaia Ashram the base of Gaia School Asia where we will have a one week Nature Youth Camp with the children of our village.
MADE WITH LOVE BY
Om Sunisa Jamwiset
Om is from Thailand & is together with her partner Tom, one of the founders of Gaia School Asia (https://gaiaschoolasia.com/gsa/) & the representative of NextGEN Oceania & Asia (http//gaiaschoolasia.com/projects-activities/ ). Om has a lot of experience facilitating workshops in many Asian countries for very diverse groups through her network with many NGOs & communities in Asia. She has a deep love for nature & a deep commitment to change through education our stories to a story that emphasises on taking care of the Earth .
Kate has been teaching for over 7 years, specializing in creative methods using art, storytelling, natural elements, outdoor settings and permaculture. She teaches English as a foreign language, pre-school, yoga and art to children, adults and family-groups. In 2010 she founded Creative Languages. Inspired deeply by nature and Deep Ecology, she has wrote and illustrated the children’s book ‘The King and The Tree’.
Lucy was born and raised in London, UK. She has spent most of her adult life living abroad teaching English as a foreign language and learning about permaculture and mindfulness practices. She is passionate about bringing her experience into classrooms to help kids build a more positive world view.
Tom is originally from the Netherlands & has a deep love for nature. He has traveled a lot & during his travels spent a lot of time in nature & working with nature through Organic Gardening & Permaculture. In recent years he is based in Thailand with his partner Om. Together they founded Gaia School Asia (https://gaiaschoolasia.com/gsa/http:// ) & have been representing NextGEN GENOA (https://gaiaschoolasia.com/gsa/ ). Through their work they have connected to thousands of youth & children in Asia.
May the “Spirit of the Maekong Journey” benefit all Beings!