Volunteer Review – Annika Suvi-Marjaana

Happy moments for all of us 

For me it was not just the end of 2018 but the end of living two years abroad – in Portugal and finally in Romania.
2016 I moved from the very very north of Finland (Utsjoki) to Oijärvi, from there to Espoo (south of Finland) and finally to Portugal, and last 3 months in Romania. And now, after few weeks in Finland and home, I’m returning to the very north Lapland (more about that at the end of the text )

When I first heard about the project Ananda Kalyani in Portugal, I was amazed! I couldn’t believe such project exists that combines every aspect of my passions: community life, healthy lifestyles, cooking, yoga, (mantra) music, (adventure) education, … It seemed like my DREAM project, and after 2 years I feel the same, and even more!

I got to overcome many fears and challenges and stretch my limits. I learned the importance of spiritual practices in my life and found many answers for the questions that I had within me. I also learned to live with and accept the feelings of insecurity and uncertainty, because most probably I will never know everything 

I can not describe how grateful I am for the Ananda Marga community and meeting such wonderful, inspiring people and for all the support and love that I’ve received, all the lessons I got to learn and process, all the challenges, all the joy and the pain, the inspiration, the music, the food, all the festivities and events….. and the list goes on!

Here’s some of the things I got to do during those 2 years:

I got to work at the organic vegetable gardens and berry plantations and help with some construction work (mainly painting).
I volunteered at the Ananda – Festival of Bliss.
I got to play, perform and connect with amazing musicians.
I volunteered at the MicroVita festival kitchen that we took around some alternative festivals in Portugal.
I joined the international Youth in Permaculture -project, that offered me another community of support, friendship and inspiration.
I got to plan and apply funding for international youth projects, and after hard work we got 4 projects in total accepted!! I will be involved in 3 of them (inshallah).
I got to join an intensive yoga lifestyle training and play for a mantra music album of Jyoshna LaTrobe in Ireland, which was an amazing experience. (if you want to hear the final album, contact me please!!)
I got to work in a vegetarian restaurant, Thank you Ananda Café , Didi ShiilaJishnu 
I worked as the main chef in a vegetarian kindergarten in Bucharest, Thank you Gradinita Rasarit and Didi Ananda Devapriya for the experience and the opportunity 

I thought I don’t want to mention people by name because then I should mention everyone that I’ve met on the path! But I want to give special thanks and acknowledgement to Prakash, Dada Krsnananda, Dada Mahaprajinananda, Didi Malati, Didi ShiilaJishnu, Abhiik Alexandre, Brajesh Francisco, Damini Dalila and Rui Ritambhar and Prahlad for all the Loving, Positive Energy that you put in the project Ananda Kalyanii that makes it grow so fast, so beautiful and inspiring, that offers truly life-changing experiences for the people who come across!  ?And for Didi Ananda Devapriya for running the projects in Romania with such efficiency and unlimited loving, positive energy that offers support for so many people. 

I didn’t visit Finland at all during those 2 years so I had time to create some longing for the Nordic life and nature. Now it already feels like I never left. It’s cold and dark, but so SO beautiful and cozy  So many things happens in our lives in 2 years and there is so much to talk about, and I took this first weeks to rest and spend time with my friends and family  I would love to visit all my friends around Finland, but you know it’s a big country and not so simple to organize.

And now, so fast, Life is offering me such opportunity that will take me back to the north of Lapland in Inari, where I got a job as the municipal youth worker! And one of the most fantastic things is that they are willing to let me go and do the youth projects in Portugal, and I will try to bring a group from Lapland to go with me  I miss Portugal and the life there, and I’m so happy that we can keep the connection and cooperation alive. ??

Life is so unexpected, and for me it seems sometimes really crazy with the changing environments, but – even how hectic it looks like, it really works for me. Time will tell how long life will keep me in the north this time ❄️☃️ Now, the Polar Night is “officially” passed and we can enjoy the sunlight more and more each day.

  Baba Nam Kevalam – Love is all there is 

 

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F.A.Q

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  • 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.

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Ananda Valley Internships

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6 and 12 months positions, in the areas of: 

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

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.

This year we will have 3 Youth exchanges.

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

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Erasmus+ volunteers projects

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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!

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Service

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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.

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Volunteers' Guidelines

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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.

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What We Need

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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.

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What We Offer

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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. 

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Food Forest Project

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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!  

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Vegetable and Herbs Project

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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!

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Cherries and Berries Project

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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. 

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Learning Centre

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

Learning Centre

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Estrela Sustentavel

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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/

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Events & Ananda Festival of Bliss

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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.