News & Notes 685:YouthLink 2016 Report & 2017 Aspirations

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685 icon.jpg   News & Notes 685
4 February 2017



YouthLink 2016 Report & 2017 Aspirations



Dear Community,

YouthLink is happy to update you regarding our current progress and projects. We are team of youth who work from an office which is temporarily situated at Kalakendra building, Bharat Nivas campus. We have about 15 members who work through the office, compensated according to their time commitments, with many youth extended members supporting our work from afar, in schools and in working groups. We began our work in early 2015, as part of the Auroville Retreat process. We are happy to celebrate 2 years now! Below is a summary of our last year and update on our work. YouthLink is a non-exclusive space, please feel part of the family and feel welcome to work with us as a youth or as a mentor. Everyone is welcome!

Core Projects

Hive

The Hive project is a space in the International Zone 'for youth and by the youth,' to engage young people in meaningful activities – with a youth Office for International Networking, a Hostel for groups of visiting students, and Kitchen for the Cooking Apprenticeship Program, and a small Outlet to display Youth Products and Art. The project includes an income generating aspect to ensure we can provide for our own Maintenances and the up keep of our building. This project visions to empower young architects, contractors, project holders and client body of 12 youth, as they will be able to work together to manifest a space which has been workshopped by Aurovilian, Newcomer, and Bioregional youth. This is a collective project, which has been in process since summer of 2015. We could have begun building in summer 2016, but the project has been on hold due to various objections from our Aurovilian resident neighbours in the International Zone. We have been in mediation and re-designed the construction to be 40m distance from the closest neighbour and now we have initiated a Restorative Circle. We would like to build the 1st phase of the Hive for Auroville’s 50th Anniversary, as it was named as ‘Golden Jubilee’ project for 2018 by our respected chairman Dr. Karan Singh. We look forward to the support of the concerned working groups to make this a priority, if it is felt like an important need for our community today. We invite your participation and goodwill for this project to manifest. (Primary coordinator: Kavitha and Hive Construction Team, & Client Body)

Joy of Impermanence (JOI)

JOI is a project started by youth which initially aims to provide affordable housing for anyone interested to build themselves. The idea came from a training organised by YouthLink and the GEN Desk (Global Ecovillage network) given during 5 weeks in December 2016 to 35 students. JOI embraces the idea of impermanence as a spiritual concept of detachment from possession. JOI hopes to build a sense of trust and abundance in simplicity for Auroville. It will ideally provide a space to experiment on self sufficiency, closed loop system, low technology, post monetary system and collective intelligence. JOI would become a platform to provide and protect space in Auroville to create impermanent communities until more permanent structure would be ready to be started. (Primary coordinator: Michael, Serena and Joy team)

ProSkills

ProSkills was launched in November 2016 at the Visitor’s Center, with a fantastic event facilitated by Jesse, our very own ‘Communications’ expert. ProSkills is a space for youth to request, design, and participate in skills oriented development – a space to be inspired by Auroville’s plenitude of resources and opportunities. If anyone has an Opportunity to share (Short Course, Internship, Apprenticeship, Exchange Opportunity, Job, etc.) we can add it to our database and help ‘link’ you to the youth that meet your ideal candidate description. Also part of ProSkills learning, YouthLink supports the Cooking Apprenticeship Program, temporarily located at PTDC. We plan to build a Cooking Apprentice Kitchen & Café in the Hive. From February 2017 onwards YouthLink will be open every Friday afternoon, introducing topics related to ProSkills – and everyone (Volunteer, Newcomer, Bioregional, Aurovilian) is invited to get a taster introduction to the ‘Cool’ things going on in our hometown. If you would like to launch an idea or introduce your work to the youth, do get in touch with us to schedule a Friday afternoon session for this upcoming year.

Youth Link is initiating an English Session, where we will creatively explore texts on Auroville’s ideals as a method to explore our connection to Auroville and improve our spoken and written skills. We are also working to start a creative, fun Tamil class, and a practical way to learn Accounts. In March we will also initiative a Portfolio building and CV-writing sessions. If you are able to offer any sessions for Tamil or Accounts, please contact us as we have youth eager to attend. (Primary coordinator: Shandra, Kavitha, Suryamayi, Kowsalya, Madhu, Mani, and ProSkills support team)

Youth & Economy

We are in the process of starting a Youth Economy Forum in which Youth will actively involve in studying of current Auroville economy and design of one or more new economic systems. We aspire to make this a creative space, where we can explore economic structures from multiple perspectives and play with the elements for a new design. We will dig deeper into the age old wisdom of service economy and learn some fundamental principles of the current systems. In these sessions we would like to bring in the spirit of a new beginning, of joy and playfulness. This start of this forum can mark the beginning of a self-empowered journey for youth and Economy.

Since the Auroville Retreat Youth Link has been interested in the topic of Economy, especially as it so directly affects the lives of youth in Auroville, and those wishing to join. Often the struggles are around topics of lack of savings for housing, education, or starting up a business unit. Also we have recognised the lack of physical space for starting new initiative. We have spent time studying the problems and exploring innovative alternatives. So far we have engaged youth and mentors in an Economy Orientation Day, conducted a week long session exploring the difficulties and solutions to economy in our ‘Ecovillage Design Education Course.’ Youth Link and IEL (Integral Entrepreneurship Lab) have also been blessed with a grant through PCG to begin a project called the ‘Start-Up ToolKit’ which will be printed and launched later this year.(Primary coordinator: Natasha and Youth-Economy Forum team)

Networking

YouthLink has been connecting to several international networks, in order to facilitate movement for youth who aspire to see the world, and youth who wish to return to Auroville and connect in a meaningful way. So far we are establishing contact with:

a) Sourcing Our Oneness: Youth Link participated in the design and facilitation of the Nainital SOO trip, where many individuals from Sri Aurobindo organizations across India and abroad, came together for a weeklong retreat. It was an amazing experience, connecting to our common vision through the elders we met there, and connecting to a large number of youth with whom we have formed friendships and eagerness to meet again, hopefully inviting them to Auroville in 2018.

b) NextGEN: YouthLink hosts the ‘youth’ branch of GEN, which stands for the ‘Global Ecovillage Network’. This network is an international array of various intentional communities and projects that are working to find new ways of living and solutions for our global crisis. It has been wonderful to connect to so many individuals who visit Auroville for its intentional vision, and who go back to places in the world to join or start projects similar to our own. YouthLink has a Youth Exchange program, available to any youth who would like to visit such a community elsewhere in the world. NextGEN at YouthLink works closely to the GEN desk in Pitchandikulam Forest.

YouthLink is proud to share that with the immense support and hosting from Pitchandikulam Forest, we have conducted a 5 Week community design course, exploring Auroville and India’s Social, Economy, Ecology and Worldview dimensions… and exploring our own motivations for projects with tools to design them. This course was primarily designed and implemented by youth. It included 35 participants, with 17 youth from Auroville area, and the rest coming to join us from intentional communities and projects worldwide –example: SriLanka, Sweden, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Switzerland, Portugal, France, Germany etc. We extend a huge THANK YOU to Joss and all the Aurovilians who so gracefully welcomed us into their lives, to experience a new form of learning together.

Auroville Youth Abroad: YouthLink is maintaining a Growing database of Auroville Youth Abroad – those who left for any reason, usually for education and the need to explore the world. These youth have the tremendous potential to support Auroville’s vision while abroad, while simultaneously also needed our support as they often have challenges returning to Auroville, and challenges relating to re-integrating. YouthLInk intends to work with Auroville Youth Abroad to strengthen our AVI network, and to invite these youth back to Auroville to celebrate our 2018 anniversary together.

Ubiquity: This is an online University that is also exploring ‘integral education’, as it encourages and hands on learning which is very practical complemented by an innovative academic learning space. More here: www.ubiquity.university . This opportunity to learn is very relevant for some youth here, as it is competency based (meaning, you do not necessarily need a high school certificate to take a course). This is also a very interesting program as you can collect credits from your work sphere, and also supplement your degree by taking courses in nearby Universities. Its flexibility encourages the individual to grow according to their needs, and helps find you the right network globally to be successful. If any youth are interested in taking any of their certificate or diploma courses for undergraduate/postgraduate, please let us know and we can provide you with more information and put you in direct contact with their team.

Events Organised

Global Zeitgeist Day: YouthLink worked with Jerry from Auroville to organise a Global Zeitgeist Day at Unity Pavilion in March 2016. This is another example of a global movement which may have some relevance to connect to our community here. These networks of people have sometimes overlapping, sometimes contradictory efforts, but overall tend to share a deep aspiration to help find solutions to the world. We invite TZM members to Auroville this day, held a movie marathon and invited creative discussion on the topic, over food, debate, and laughter. It was a wonderful experience and we thank the Zeitgeist India for visiting us once again.

Planning & Communications Workshop: In March 2016, we also were fortunate enough to have Dave and Pala support us with a workshop to explore project planning tools and methods to communicate our dreams. It took place as an introduction to simple and effective planning and communication in order to gain greater clarity and confidence.

International Youth Day August 12th & 13th at Unity Pavilion: Displaying an impressive Art Exhibition, Stalls with various food and games, Stage Performances and Stage Initiative Presentations, all under this year’s theme chosen as ‘Exploring Generosity & Gratitude in Auroville’. This is our annual event, and we invite anyone interested to contact us for this year’s upcoming event. It has been hosted twice in Auroville so far, and has also been recognised by UNESCO and the UN-Youth map of international events.

Economy Orientation Day at Vérité: was organised by Integral Entrepreneurship Lab as requested by YouthLink in August, with morning sessions, discussions and an afternoon field trip to visit an example of a Service and Unit. The event was organised based on the questions of the youth themselves, and although not all questions were answered, a deeper understanding of the economic-landscape of Auroville in relation to the world was understood. Many of the IEL members themselves are struggling to answer some of the larger questions, so it was a valuable session on coming together to measure our own success and limitations as a community. We are especially grateful to Torkil, Uma, Dhanya, Pashi, Aurelio and Ulrike who helped answer questions and hold space for the interesting discussion groups.

'Higher Education: A Gate & A Path: Omar Rabie, newcomer, has offered youth in Auroville 4 sessions in September 2016 with an offer to help follow up. Many youth aspire to leave Auroville for learning more about their areas of interest, and to experience a global exposure, quite naturally. YouthLink would like to support youth through mentoring, and workshop spaces, as facilitated by Omar, in order for youth to identify their true interest and direction in life. We hope this helps provide youth with the right mentorship to also support their application processes and help ensure that they go to the places which offer the type of education they were longing for.

Peace Day: YouthLink joined the opening of the Peace month celebrations at Unity Pavilion, Auroville on September 21st, the International Day of Peace. The event included a special opening, with chanting for peace around the peace table, where YouthLink received the flag of Peace on behalf of Auroville. The event also included activities such as origami, flower mandalas, and an interactive map on the wall for people to write messages directed at any part of the world where they wished for peace. We were unable to conduct a Peace Walk as initially planned, due to political tension and other reasons – we are exploring the possibility to organise a Peace Walk event for Earth Day and anyone who may be inspired is invited to help organize.

Presentations: YouthLink has also presented to various groups over the years, to name a few: Governing Board, International Advisory Council, Rotary International, AVI, CIHRU team, Swadharma Group, Weltwaerts Group, Kodaikanal International School group, Savi Groups, etc.

Conclusions

YouthLink has also conducted various other sessions and is exploring topics not mentioned in this report. We welcome you to make an appointment with us if inspired to join our team as a member or mentor. We would also like to specifically inviting You to:

  • Join our 2018 Auroville 50th Anniversary organization team.
  • Join any of our above mentioned efforts, or approach our team to Propose Your Own.
  • Join us to work in YouthLink: work related to Communications, Networking & Website maintenance available.

Please feel free to contact us:
www.youthlink.org.in / youth (at) auroville.org.in.

Our Current Team: Serena, Natasha, Michael, Kowsalya, Kavitha, Madhu, Sathish, Nikki, Mani, Ricky, Vijayan, Imran, Sundar, Luca, Anand, Anais, Kalvi, Abhimanyu, etc. including many extended members and mentors.