We The Trees

Get Rija to an eco-village design internship at Gaia Ashram

A campaign by Rija Ménagé

  • $1,020
    Raised of $1,000
  • 12
  • 0
    seconds left
102 %
Successfully funded on June 30, 2014
  • Contribute $5 or more

    You will receive my deepest and warmest gratitude

    0 contributor(s) chose this reward.
  • Contribute $10 or more

    Limited to 100 Contributors

    I will email you a personalised Thank you e-card and your name will appear in the credits of a short documentary I will be making on permaculture/eco-villages in South-East Asia

    3 contributor(s) chose this reward.
  • Contribute $25 or more

    Limited to 15 Contributors

    I will send you a handwritten postcard from Thailand

    1 contributor(s) chose this reward.
  • Contribute $100 or more

    Limited to 10 Contributors

    I will give a free permaculture lesson to one school in South-East Asia and gift them with a replicable lesson plan

    0 contributor(s) chose this reward.
  • Contribute $200 or more

    Limited to 5 Contributors

    I will offer a scholarship for a future permaculture course I will organise to one person who would like to attend but cannot afford it

    0 contributor(s) chose this reward.
  • Contribute $300 or more

    Limited to 3 Contributors

    The village elders will teach us everything to know about bamboo, so I will be hand crafting and sending you a small bamboo basket

    2 contributor(s) chose this reward.

Eco-village design internship at Gaia Ashram

In July, I will be participating in a month-long ecovillage design internship at Gaia Ashram in the Isaan region of North-East Thailand, near the Laos border and close to the city of Nong Khai.

We will be learning and putting into practice techniques of ecovillage design and principles of permaculture to develop the nascent intentional community of Gaia Ahsram which is based on strong bonding with local villagers and on the deep ecology movement. We will be learning valuable skills while helping a community that's making a difference in improving the life of the local people through nature awareness education of children and empowerment of local farmers.

I'm seeking financial support from my family, friends and the ever growing network of sustainability enthusiasts, permaculture  activists as well as from people who long for a restored sense of community. This is so we can support each other, improve community cohesion wherever we live and inspire people from all walks of life into leading a more sustainable life.

Want to Learn more about the internship? 
check out the programme on Gaia Ashram's web site

What is intentional community and eco-village?

An intentional community is a planned residential community that exhibits strong social cohesion and rely on team work and in which the members share common values.

An eco-village is an intentional community where the shared values are the pursuit of ecological, economical and social sustainability.

What is Permaculture?

Permaculture is a design approach for making human settlements, and food systems that are modelled after nature and that work with nature.

The practice of it provides the stepping stones towards self-reliance and connectedness with nature.

The teaching of it empower communities to become self-sufficient and to repair human-inflicted damages to nature.

Want to learn more about Permaculture?
watch this interview of David Holmgren:

What is Deep Ecology?

Deep ecology is the realisation that we are part of nature and that other beings in nature are as important to the healthy functioning of the Earth as human beings are, irrespective of how usable they are to us.

Want to learn more about deep ecology?
watch Satish Kumar's explanation:

What will I do with the knowledge I'll gain?

From the experienced facilitators,  I will develop skills in holistic education, participatory learning and facilitation, while improving my skills in permaculture design and gaining experience in ecovillage design.

From the local villagers, I will learn traditional techniques to work with nature's resources without depleting them.

Armed with all that knowledge, I will be able right away to pass it on to the people I can touch through the sustainable grassroots organisation I run in Hong Kong, the permaculture sites I help out and the courses and workshops I run.

It is also a  step towards my longer term goal of bringing self-reliance to marginalised communities across South East Asia through eco-village developments.

Finally, it will help with my continual quest to lead a more sustainable life and to inspire others in doing the same.

'Be the change you wish to see in the world.' — Mahatma Gandhi

'Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.' — Nelson Mandela

Who is Rija?

Rija was a software engineer in the media industry in London, then he quit his job and moved to Hong Kong. In Hong Kong he fully realised the danger to our future represented by the prevalent consumerist, materialistic and cartesian world view and idealised lifestyle, and he embarked in a journey of self-discovery that culminated in him taking a Permaculture Design Course held at Panya Project, an eco-village in Northern Thailand and at Mindfulness Project, a forest Buddhist monastery in the Isaan region.

He runs the Green Sustainable Living Hong Kong, a grassroots organisation of sustainability enthusiasts and helps Hong Kong permaculture sites by designing for them and organising volunteers runs. He is also teaching permaculture in urban context.

Want to meet me?

I will be present and promoting this campaign at three public events in June, so if you are in Hong Kong, you are more than welcome to drop by and have a chat with me.

6th June, Good Marketplace @ The Good Lab:
I will have a booth to promote my activities as Permaculture Designer and as organiser of the Green Sustainable Living Hong Kong meetup group.

10th June, Talk and presentation @ City University of Hong Kong:
I will be giving a talk on intentional communities and eco-villages.

17th June, Documentary Screening @ The Good Lab:
I will be organising the public screening of a documentary film about sustainable communities

How will your funding dollars be spent?

I've estimated the total budget to be 1200 USD.
and I need help raising 1000 USD.

The fund you will help raise will go towards the following:

  • Internship fees (690 USD)
  • Return flight with low-cost airline (220 USD)
  • Return bus journeys to Nong Khai (50 USD)
  • Visa covering the duration of the internship (40 USD)


I would like to thank my PDC teacher Christian Shearer for inspiring me and for telling me about the internship.

I would like to thank Gaia School Asia for creating the opportunity for this internship and for letting me use their materials for this campaign.

I would like to thank all the people of Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam and beyond who have let me inspire them.

I would like to thank WeTheTrees for providing the platform to support this campaign.

I would like to thank the entire Permaculture community for being so awesome!