About

Ananda Valley is a settlement focused on all-round sustainability (environmental, economic and social sustainability) and local development, with a vision of being a model for sustainable 21st century living.

Ananda Kalyani is located in a gorgeous green valley in the centre of Portugal near the beautiful Serra da Estrela Nature Reserve. Over the last years we transformed this lush but abandoned valley into a habitable place.

Our land currently covers 50 hectares comprehensive of wild forests, a beautiful river, several scattered ruins, small springs, wild fruit trees and also 11 hectares of certified organic agriculture land.

Recently we built a simple suspension bridge, several compost toilets, six solar heated showers, two warehouses for activities and farming, and we are currently improving the camping area with a capacity for 300-400 people.

Greening New Paths

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conscious sustainability & self development

Learning Centre

Creating awareness about the consequences of decisions taken NOW and the impact they will have on future generations

Ananda Valley in all its activities and projects represents a non-formal lifelong Learning Center for conscious regenerative sustainability and self development. Over the last years we had hundreds of volunteers and participants (both Portuguese & international) working with us. Our aim is to let them experience a different way of living/being, rooted in harmony with nature and the surrounding community, showing them how to meet our current needs without compromising the needs of future generations. With time dedicated to meditation and yoga practices we encourage discovering and nurturing altruistic mental tendencies (e.g. kindness, generosity, self-sacrifice), and overcoming competing survival tendencies (e.g. fear, accumulation, fight & flight). Over the years we experienced that developing a more altruistic mindset often goes hand in hand with an emerging new, more sustainable, sense of purpose in people’s life. This is what Ananda Valley is all about, individual change as the base for a larger societal change. Our aim is to create awareness about the consequences of decisions taken NOW and the impact they will have on future generations (intergenerational justice). We also facilitate ways to put this awareness into daily actions to create more sustainable habits. We believe that this will define whether society will move towards violence and unsustainable behaviors or towards a more peaceful and benevolent society.

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Events Site

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As you can see, we are already organising many activities such as the Spring Yoga and Meditation retreat, the Ananda Festival of Bliss, the Spiritual Warrior Camp or Socio-Economic Activism Trainings. Besides that we also organize volunteering programmes and youth exchanges on for example Ecology, Permaculture or Disaster Relief & Preparedness, attracting people from all over the world.

All our events are drug, smoke and alcohol free, promoting a healthy & vegetarian lifestyle. Can you imagine all the amazing activities that can be organised here?

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Conscious Sustainability

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Unsustainability is the most critical issue we are facing on planet Earth right now. The very existence of human society as we know it today is being challenged. We need to act.

The present-day era is characterised by an unsustainable financial system, a raising social inequality, a crisis of natural resources and a dangerous environmental crisis.

As Naomi Klein clearly states:
“We live in a time of overlapping crisis, and we need to connect the dots, because we don’t have time to solve each crisis sequentially. We need a movement that addresses all of them”.

It’s too late to be pessimistic. Instead, at Ananda Kalyani we provide positive models with:

  • an environment that is supportive, inclusive and in harmony with nature,
  • methodology that promotes an expansion and transmission of consciousness,
  • several tools to act in the world, in order to bring positive changes to life.

We are contributing to the growth of conscious sustainability on topics such as deep ecology, social activism, vegetarianism, lifelong learning, art, sustainable organic agriculture, spirituality, social service and we are always open to include other areas of regenerative sustainability.

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Master Unit

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Ananda Valley is an example of a Master Unit. “Master Units” are centers of ecological, social, spiritual and cultural activities. In details it describes a specific kind of development programme, based on socio-environmental awareness that includes a strong volunteer component and a self-development base within an eco-friendly settlement. A Master Unit may be considered as a ‘nerve centre’ for the healthy development of the local community.

In many ways the concept of a Master Unit is similar to the idea of ecovillages or intentional communities, but for a Master Unit the aspect of social-service is vital and crucial, while this may not be the case in other similar projects.

The Neo-Humanistic base that cultivates an open, holistic and intuitive outlook through practices targeting pure consciousness and spirituality, the heterogeneous nature of members’ expertise, as well as the scientific manner of testing/examining new techniques, together create optimal soil for the growth of solid, well-grounded projects.

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The Big Picture

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Ananda Valley encompasses more than just the rural center, the heart of the Master Unit. This rural center functions as the base for many of our projects, events and festival. Here is where we are physically building our settlement, where we developed organic agriculture projects like the “Berries and Cherries” project and the “Food Forest” project and where we host the yearly Ananda Festival of Bliss and many more events.

But there is more… In the nearby cities of Covilha and Fundao we are running two vegetarian restaurants, both called Ananda Café. In Covilha we also have a beautiful adjoint space, called Ananda Room, where we host holistic activities such as yoga, weekly free meditation evenings and cultural nights.

Furthermore Ananda Valley is facilitating local economy initiatives: we are for example co-founders of Bio-Eco, an association of organic producers in the region who organize local markets, and organizers of Local Development Conferences in collaboration with the local University (UBI). Several Ananda Valley residents are pioneers or active members of initiatives around themes such as: ecology, vegetarianism/ veganism, alternative education, ethical tourism, bioarchitecture and bioconstruction, organic farming, just to name a few. 

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History

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Ananda Valley is the result of combined forces of a group of complementary associations with the same clear approach together a more peaceful world is possible.  Deep ecology, sustainable agriculture, vegetarianism, lifelong learning, art, spirituality, social service and social activism are different ways these non-profit associations are contributing towards the aim of sustainability/regeneration. Together they work towards their vision of becoming a model for sustainable 21st century living.

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Vision and Mission

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Vision

“A safe and vibrant settlement rooted in conscious all-round sustainability – social, economic and environmental – acting as a service, research & learning center. Ananda Valley provides a journey from an holistic perspective, where individuals, by moving together in harmony with nature and the surrounding community, can realize their full inner potential and outward actions.”

Mission

Ananda Valley creates a way of living and learning inside an environment that is supportive, inclusive and in harmony with nature. The main focus areas are related to deep ecology, sustainable organic agriculture, vegetarianism, lifelong learning, art, spirituality, social service, or social activism, as tools for conscious regenerative sustainability. 

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Aims

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1. To create a model for sustainable 21st century living,

based on neo-humanistic values and all-round service, which will be a replicable educational, research and service resource for society at large;

2. To act as a social hub,

bringing together people who are interested in music and the arts, education, culture, health, economics, innovative scientific techniques and consciousness studies;

3. To help improve the quality of life of all living beings,

both human and non-human, and to create a supportive environment which provides for the needs of the residents and the surrounding community within a governance framework based on sociocratic principles;

4.To strengthen the local economy 

and the surrounding communities, through interaction and by helping them in their efforts to become self-reliant in terms of food and energy as well as through the creation of employment opportunities;

5. To promote a healthy and ecological lifestyle,

supportive of activities that lead to joy and happiness and stimulate the regeneration of biodiverse sustainable ecosystems; 

Estrela Sustentavel

Is an ICT (information and communication technology) company that functions to create software for the future. Always with an eye set to promote sustainability and social development, it aims to give a good financial basis for the creation of the Master Unit as well as setting a standard of sustainability for it. As the work is developed, new and interesting technologies are discovered and created which inspire the team even further in the endeavour to develop Ananda Kalyani. 

http://www.estrelasustentavel.pt/

Events & Ananda Festival of Bliss

Our beautiful green valley is the perfect spot to organize events. We’d love to invite you to enjoy life with us and join us in one (or more) of our events. You can dance and sing your heart out at the annual Ananda Festival of Blissyou can face your fears and be a hero at the Spiritual Warrior Camp or you can get back in touch with yourself at our Spring Retreat.

A bit of special attention goes out to our Ananda Festival of Bliss, because this is the time a year when everything we stand for comes together! Ananda Festival of Bliss is a festival for people who believe they can make the world a better place. It’s an adventure of art and nature, a heaven for activist and dreamers, for young people, families, lovers of ecology and warriors of peace and spirituality! Ananda Festival of Bliss will inspire for individual changes to happen and this will serve as the base for a larger societal change that is so necessary in our world.

All our events are drug, smoke and alcohol free, promoting a healthy & vegetarian lifestyle.

Please visit our events page for more detailed information on events and the festival.

F.A.Q

  • When we need volunteers?
    All year round.
  • Do we require a minimum duration?
    Yes, we require a minimum of 1 Month
  • Is the project really 100% vegetarian?
    Yes
  • Can I bring my non-vegetarian food and eat by myself?
    You can of course hang out at a local restaurant or have your meat for a picnic, but please don’t eat non-vegetarian food, alcohol or take drugs inside the project.

Ananda Valley Internships

6 and 12 months positions, in the areas of: 

  1. agriculture & natural construction
  2. ecology, sustainability & permaculture

Cherries and Berries Project

Already harvesting blackberries and raspberries in season 2016 and now waiting for cherries first harvest in 2017 season. Our first big agricultural project consisted in planting and looking after more than 2150 berry bushes and cherry trees. This region is known for its delicious cherries, so we planted 550 of these local trees in over 1.5 hectares. Spread across half a hectare we planted berries and they will be cared for using the latest techniques such as biodynamic agriculture and permaculture. Using special “teas” made of specific plants we are making our herbal friends very happy! This project will guarantee financial security and stability through direct sale of produce. 

Vegetable and Herbs Project

Our second agricultural project is envisioned to provide us with economical sustainability, through a source of fresh and organic fruits and vegetables. We are now at Fundão Market selling our produce on Monday and Saturday mornings in the summer season. Come and visit us! We are also going to plant and distribute organically-grown medicinal and aromatic herbs. Using permaculture techniques, we are planning to have tincture herbs and and produce essential oils. A diverse and plentiful crop!

Food Forest Project

Using a permaculture, biodynamic, natural agriculture insights, and primarily what nature is telling plus a pinch of intuition, we will create step-by-step a self-sufficient forest made of a symbiotic community of mostly perennial edible plants and vegetables. Usually forest gardening is seen as a low-maintenance sustainable plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables. It is an ancient art and deep science of combining plants in woodland-like patterns, forging mutually beneficial relationships, creating a garden community that is more than the sum of its parts.The first food forest is being developed in an area of 1.500 m2, to begin testing and experimenting several techniques, and requires a small economic support to buy plants and few tools to start the forest. Three 1.000 liters tank will be placed in one corner of the forest, to provide more water in the first 3 years of the project, and for extremely dry years during the summer months.

Want to know more? Come and visit us on one of our open days!  

What We Offer

The dynamic volunteer team at Ananda Valley is a place where you can dive into an international, community experience rich in learning and personal development. Our aim is to provide space and opportunity to express yourself and learn how to develop your full potential, supporting a more sustainable way of living, socially, culturally, economically and ecologically.

The project need people passionate about nature, willing to work with joy and happiness, not scared by people who meditate, are vegetarian or are singing mantra and doing Yoga asanas in the early morning. We are growing, learning and we need people who work with love, not afraid of the weather and are open to make friends from all around the world!

As a volunteer you are here not only to serve your own personal development, but also the development of this beautiful project. Service to the project means participating in all working activities, some boring, some fun, giving the gift of warm and joyful environment. 

What We Need

We are looking for volunteers who are open to live with people from different cultures and backgrounds and who are interested to share in and learn from the whole process, sunny days and rainy days.

Most of the work is general maintenance of the farm and organising events. You will be involved in some of the following activities: helping with the development and maintenance of the forests; planting in the organic garden; collecting wood and fruits / wild berries. You will learn how to prune and take care of many different trees and berry bushes, composting, mulching, caring for and transplanting seedlings, how trickle drip irrigation systems work, weeding and all other aspects of maintaining and developing an organic farm. You may like to help with selling the food grown at our market stall, visit other eco-villages and projects nearby.

If you are interested or have experience and knowledge you can take part in more specialised opportunities like: informatics ( website, help in the automation of greenhouse, electrical system in AK, small apps to assist in recording sales, batch number creation, other tasks that can be automated), communication/marketing and events management.

Volunteers' Guidelines

We have developed a set of  Guidelines stating how we aspire to live and work as a community.

We are a 100% drug and alcohol free environment. If you are found under the influence of drugs or alcohol, we will ask you to leave immediately.

The Schedule and Guidelines will be sent to you when you contact us. After reading and agreeing with them we forward with video call, so we can “meet” each other.

Service

Volunteer service is based on at least 5 hours of work per day with 2 days off on the weekend. 

With 5 hours a day, 5 days a week focused on your working tasks you have ample opportunity to learn about your personal relationship to work, develop a variety of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ skills, and about how to be present with what it is to be in service.

Erasmus+ volunteers projects

EVS (European Voluntary Service) & ESC (European Solidarity Corps) programs:

  • candidates must be between the ages of 17 and 30; candidates between 25 and 30 years will get priority;
  • financial support: all essential costs related to your volunteering project; you will be provided with insuranceaccommodation, board and any local transport that you may need, and a small amount of ‘pocket money‘;
  • EVS volunteering projects in Ananda Kalyani are usually long term but we are open for short term projects as well;
  • you volunteer on an unpaid and full-time basis;
  • what you have achieved and learned through volunteering is certified via the Youthpass recognition tool.

Active Projects:

If you are interested to volunteer in Ananda Kalyani please contact us. We will need the contacts of your sending organization so that together we will be able to create the project tailored specifically for you and apply with it. The results about the approval of the project will be accordingly to the deadline (October, February, May).

Ended Projects:

  • 2017 – ORGANIC EPIC 2 – ANANDA MARGA Portugal
    • 3 volunteers from all over Europe.
  • 2017 – ORGANIC EPIC – AMURT Portugal
    • 3 volunteers from all over Europe.
  • 2016 – EVS Treasure Hunt – AMURT Portugal
    • 3 volunteers from Italy: Valeria, Francesca and Andrea!

Erasmus+ Youth Exchanges

Youth exchanges allow groups of young people from different countries to meet, live together and work on shared projects for short periods.

Youth exchanges take place outside the school environment. On a youth exchange, you can expect to participate in activities such as workshops, exercises, debates, role-plays, outdoor activities and more.

Participants’ learning experiences are recognised through a Youthpass.

Only in 2019 we had three amazing youth exchanges with NNN youths from NNN European countries.

  1. 28 June – 19 July “Making Ananda Festival of Bliss”
  2. 4-13 September “Back2Nature”
  3. 27 Sep – 6 Oct “Footprints 2.0”

Learning Centre

We are excited about a new project which is now in its initiation phase: a Learning Center focusing on Regeneration and Sustainability.

Learning Centre