Volunteer Review – Alexandre Seguro

(English Version Below)

O meu nome é Alexandre Seguro e eu sou um estudante português de 17 anos a acabar o secundário. Eu fui-me tornando mais consciente do mundo à minha volta nos anos mais recentes estando preocupado com os seus problemas e esforçando-me por encontrar soluções eficazes e aprender sobre estas. Na busca de tentar fazer sentido da minha realidade, eu comecei a questionar as coisas que tinha previamente aceitado como verdades e apercebi-me que muitas delas eram ilusões que me foram transmitidas pela sociedade em que cresci. Isto fez com que eu procurasse mais profundamente na esperança de encontrar respostas mais significantes e duradouras. Nesta altura comecei a interessar-me mais pela espiritualidade, sustentabilidade e ação social, e, a partir daí tenho-me desenvolvido mais nessas áreas alterando o meu estilo de vida.

Há um mês atrás conheci o Dada Mahaprajinananda (um monge da Ananda Marga) nos IV Encontros Ecossocialistas, em Lisboa, e ele falou-me da Ananda Marga e do PROUT, entregando-me folhetos de ambos.

Devido a, nessa altura, estar ocupado com a escola, só comecei a olhar para os folhetos passadas duas semanas. Mas quando olhei…. Fiquei muito espantado! Senti-me muito feliz a aprender sobre a Ananda Marga, os seus projetos e as raízes filosóficas e espirituais que a suportam. Rapidamente, encontrei o projeto da Master-Unit Ananda Kalyani e fiquei muito impressionado e entusiasmado porque a visão do projeto é a visão que eu já tinha do que o mundo precisa e, na verdade, era isto que eu queria fazer depois do secundário (construir uma comunidade sustentável e autossuficiente que sirva como exemplo e modelo para auxiliar o desenvolvimento da Humanidade). A parte fantástica é: eles estão, de facto, a fazê-lo!

Eles não estão apenas a teorizar sobre a comunidade ideal com a melhor forma de viver, sentados em casa, no computador a ver documentários, como eu estava 🙂

Ainda que seja muito importante teorizar e sonhar, é crucial pôr as ideias em prática, cometer erros, aprender, crescer e continuar a desenvolver o sonho, ajustando-o à realidade, para que este se possa concretizar!

E isto é difícil. Requere imenso esforço ser pioneiro num projeto que está a tentar criar uma maneira de viver diferente (sustentável, igual, conectada, pacífica e abundante). Estás a remar contra a corrente e, no começo, não tens muitas pessoas a ajudar… Mas não te sintas desencorajado! A magia é que, quando estás a fazer algo bom para a Humanidade, que está certo e ancorado na verdade, tu tens muita força. E desde que continues a persistir em mover-te nessa direção com a máxima confiança nas tuas capacidades, é apenas uma questão de tempo até as pessoas conseguirem ver o bem que estás a fazer e decidirem juntar-se a ti. Tens que liderar pelo exemplo. E quando as pessoas se começarem a juntar ao projeto e a dar-lhe força, isso vai acontecer a um ritmo constantemente crescente, tal como a Sequência de Fibonacci, e as coisas começam a manifestar-se mais facilmente, mostrando a abundância que é possível criar ao unir a Humanidade com um objetivo comum: PROSPERAR JUNTOS COMO UM!

Felizmente, as pessoas que estão por trás do projeto são muito dedicadas e dão-se ao máximo a ele em serviço altruísta, tendo uma consciência mais alargada e global, percebendo a importância deste tipo de projetos nu nosso mundo atual. Por isto, eu tenho um tremendo respeito por todos os voluntários a ajudar no projeto!

Eu tive a feliz oportunidade de me juntar a eles por uma semana, durantes estas férias de Natal, e crescer imenso. Eu sabia que ia estar com pessoas simpáticas, a aprender diretamente sobre o projeto e a crescer espiritualmente mas não tinha noção do quão acelerada a rotina é, quão árduo é trabalhar na terra fisicamente (na maioria dos dias, ia apanhar azeitonas de manhã e desmatar parte do terreno para dar espaço a um bonito pomar) e quão desconectado eu ainda estou da Natureza (não sendo cuidadoso e suficientemente consciente com as plantas com que estava a interagir) apesar de me ter conectado mais e disfrutado disso: apercebes-te que tens tantos amigos :). Isto fez com que eu ganhasse uma preciosa nova perspetiva do mundo, apercebendo-me que a Raça Humana se desconectou da Terra e abandonou as áreas rurais para se refugiar nos confortos e comodidades da vida na cidade. Eu sinto que esta desconexão causou muitos dos problemas que vemos hoje.  Por isso, a solução óbvia para mim, agora, é voltar às origens reaprendendo o que negligenciámos (sabedoria espiritual do Oriente e da Natureza) utilizando as coisas positivas que adquirimos nesta “viagem” (ferramentas tecnológicas e conhecimento científico do Ocidente). Nós precisamos urgentemente de mais pessoas que vejam esta visão da possibilidade de um mundo melhor; nós temos tudo o que precisamos! Vamos fazer isto acontecer!

Fazer voluntariado na Ananda Kalyani não é uma aventura fácil, é desafiante, mas muito recompensador! Estou muito feliz por agora fazer parte da equipa e super inspirado para continuar a trabalhar no projeto a partir de Lisboa.

Se sentes dentro de ti a vontade de criar um futuro melhor para a Humanidade e estás disposto a deixar o teu ego de lado, enfrentando novos desafios e crescendo como uma comunidade, este é um lugar em que podes fazê-lo com alegria, sendo parte de algo maior que ti próprio! Mas não te esqueças: para criar esta nova maneira de viver temos de estar dispostos a mudarmo-nos a nós próprios e a largar os nossos hábitos confortáveis, mas não produtivos, aos quais estamos habituados na sociedade normal. A Ananda Kalyani é um lugar onde mudança significativa está a acontecer! Tens que estar centrado e permanecer calmo no interior, mas ser ativo e produtivo no exterior. Desta maneira, desbloqueias o teu grande potencial interior partilhando-o com o mundo!

{English}

My name is Alexandre Seguro and I’m a Portuguese 17-year-old boy finishing high-school in Lisbon. I’ve become more conscious about the world around me in the recent years being concerned about its problems and striving to find and learn effective solutions. In the quest of making sense of my reality I started to question the things I had previously accepted as truth and found out many of them were illusions passed on to me by the society I grew up in. This led me searching more deeply in hopes of finding profound and meaningful answers. At this point I became interested in spirituality, sustainability and social action and have been growing in these aspects since then by changing my life-style.

A month ago, I met Dada Mahaprajinananda (an Ananda Marga monk) at the IV Ecossocialist Encounters in Lisbon and he told me about Ananda Marga and PROUT, giving me flyers of both.

Because I was busy with school, I only started looking into the flyers two weeks after. But when I did … I was amazed! I felt very happy learning about Ananda Marga, its projects and the philosophical and spiritual roots supporting it. Then I saw the Ananda Kalyani Master-Unit project and was very impressed and excited because it was the vision I had of what the world needs and actually what I wanted to do after high-school (building a sustainable self-sufficient community that serves as an example and model to aid the development of Humanity). The amazing thing is: they are actually doing it!

They are not just theorizing about the ideal community with the best way of living sitting at home in the computer watching documentaries, like I was 🙂

Even though it is very important to theorize and dream, it is crucial to put it into action, make mistakes, learn, grow and continue to develop the dream adjusting it to the real world, so that it can become true!!

And this is hard. It takes a lot of effort to pioneer in a project that is trying to create a different (sustainable, equal, connected, peaceful and abundant) way of living. You are paddling against the stream and, in the beginning, you don´t have many people to help… But don’t feel discouraged! The magic is that when you are doing something good for Humanity, that is righteous and rooted in truth you have a lot of strength. And as long as you persist in moving forward with utmost confidence in your capabilities, it is only a question of time until people can see the good you’re doing and decide to join you. You have to lead by example. And when people start joining the project and giving it their strength, it will be at an ever-increasing rate, like the Fibonacci Sequence, and things start manifesting more easily showing the abundance it is possible to create from uniting Humanity with one common goal: TO THRIVE TOGETHER AS ONE!

Gladly the people behind the project are very dedicated and give themselves fully to it in self-less service, understanding the bigger picture and importance of this kind of projects in the world today. For this, I have tremendous respect for the volunteers helping in the project!

I had the fortunate opportunity to join them for a week, during this Xmas vacations, and grow a lot. I knew I was going to be with good people, learning directly about the project and growing spiritually but I wasn´t aware of how fast-paced the routine is, how hard it is to work on the land physically (most days, I went to pick olives in the morning and clear bushy areas in the afternoon to create space for beautiful forest gardens) and how disconnected I still am to Nature (not being gentle and conscious enough with the plants I was interacting with) even though I connected more and enjoyed it: you realize you have so many friends :). This made me gain a precious new perspective of the world, realizing the Human Race disconnected from the Earth and abandoned the rural areas to refuge in the comforts and commodities of the city-life. This disconnection, I feel, has caused many of the problems we see today. So, the obvious solution for me now is to go back to the origins, relearning what we’ve neglected (ancient spiritual wisdom of the East and present in Nature) and using the positive things we’ve gained with this “trip” (technological tools and scientific knowledge of the West). We urgently need more people to see the vision of the possibility of a better world; we have everything we need! Let’s make it happen!

Volunteering at Ananda Kalyani is not an easy adventure, it is challenging but very rewarding! I’m very glad to be part of the team now and super inspired to continue working on the project from Lisbon.

If you feel inside of you the desire to create a better future for Humanity and are willing to let your ego aside, facing new challenges and growing as a community, this is a place where you can do it with joy, being a part of something bigger than yourself! But don´t forget: to create this new way of living we have to be willing to change ourselves and let go of our comfortable but unproductive habits we are used to in normal society. Ananda Kalyani is a place where significant change is happening! You have to be centered and remain calm on the inside but be active and productive on the outside. This way you unleash your great inner potential, sharing it with the world!

 

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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.