Rija Ménagé June 29, 2014
Tomorrow I'm flying to Thailand and the journey begins...
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for helping me make this project a reality. It matters a lot to me as a stepping stone for further community development projects and for the goodness that I will be contributing to the nascent project of Gaia Ashram.
I'm very grateful to you all.
Rija Ménagé June 17, 2014
Yesterday (Hong Kong time), I've organised the public screening of the documentary "Garbage Warrior", recounting the incredible story of Michael Reynolds and his journey inventing and building radically sustainable off-grid homes called Earthships and his struggles to establish communities of Earthship in the US where it had to fight legal and political battles and all over the world in disaster striken areas.
We had discussion/debate after the screening about whether the concept of Earthship communties or some aspects of it could take off in Hong Kong.
Great discussion that made for a great evening.
I received some donations as well,
So my thanks go to everyone who came and special thanks to those who donated.
Rija Ménagé June 13, 2014
The next event I'll be organising is approaching. That will be the screening of a documentary film on Tuesday 17th June at The Good Lab on Kowloon side of Hong Kong.
The film we are showing is Garbage Warrior. It's about maverick architect Michael Reynolds. He invented the concept of Earthship in the 1970s, and refined the concept since them. He fought legal battle to change the law to allow for residential communties of Earthships to be possible in his home state of New Mexico. Later he took the concept to disaster striken areas like Indonesia after the 2004 Tsunami and The Philippines after the 2013 typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) to demonstrate how off-grid dwellings built with recycled/natural materials can be designed and then built by non-specialists to help communities to be resilient to climate change and other calamities.
If you are interested in watching the movie, the event is free, and you can register online here:
I'm using this event as an attempt to raise more funds to volunteer at The Siddha School after my internship for helping them to build the physical structures of the school using natural building materials and techniques.
Rija Ménagé June 11, 2014
Yesterday, I gave a talk at the City University of Hong Kong on Intentional Communities and Eco-villages.
There were about 20-30 attendees, and the Q&A resulted in very good two-way discussions.
I could see some delegates fully inspired after leaving the room at the end, a few more that were intrigued and want a follow-up event, some who have never heard of eco-village until this talk.
I think it was a great evening, and I know several of you were there and I thank you for coming.
You will find the slides I made for the talk here:
Rija Ménagé June 7, 2014
Thanks to everyone who came to meet me at the Good Lab's Good Marketplace yesterday.
I'm grateful for your encouragements and for the great conversations we had.
I'm hoping I have inspired a few of you as well.
Rija Ménagé June 5, 2014
Check out this video explaining what is The Siddha School and what its mission is.
Any additional 10 USD contributed to my campaign beyond my initial goal will go towards one day of me volunteering at this school after the internship. I will be involved in the construction work they are mentioning in the video.
Rija Ménagé June 5, 2014
You will be able to follow my adventures and the state of my projects online,
on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/permarija
on Twitter: https://twitter.com/permarija
on my Tumblr blog: http://blog.rijamenage.com/
but I will continue to update you through this channel as well.
Rija Ménagé June 4, 2014
I would like to thank everyone for their support.
My deepest gratitude goes to you all who have contributed.
And my thanks of course extend to anyone who has shared the word of my campaign online and offline and also to those who have sent/expressed encouraging words to me.
I have reached the goal of 1000 USD, which means that I can attend the Gaia Ashram Internship!
Tomorrow morning, I’ll be heading to the Thai consulate to apply for a 60 days tourist visa.
It appears that the Thai government has recently tightened the visa processes, so that it is much more difficult to do land-based visa run. So I won’t take any risk and go for the safe 60 days tourist visa.
Right now I’m preparing for the event on the 6th at the Good Lab. You will have an opportunity to meet me there and you can register your attendance here: http://bit.ly/GoodMarketplace
Furthermore, I have started to contact schools in rural areas to volunteer and test-drive my permaculture curriculum after the internship.
The Siddha School at the intentional community of Kailash Akhara is very interested in me volunteering with them as the person who manages the volunteer program knew me from my work in Panya in March and knows what skills I can help them with.
The Siddha School is very interesting as they are developing an original curriculum for an holistic education aimed at vulnerable children. Also the nature of the volunteering work leverages and augments my existing permaculture skills as the school infrastructures are still in progress.
I think it would be a unique and enriching experience to be building the school physically and intellectually, especially in light of my future eco-village projects in the Lower Mekong Basin.
You can learn more about the school and what's special about them here:
They do charge volunteers 10 USD per day however.
I told them that contributions that go beyond my initial goal will go towards my volunteering with them.
Put it in other way, for example, just 2 more contributions of 50 USD will allow me to volunteer for 10 days with them.
I will be also looking for at least a second school where I can give a lesson using the curriculum I’ve developed. The Bamboo school in Buriram province hasn’t replied to me yet, but the Gaia Ashram also works with a local school, so I’ll wait to be there to explore what’s possible.
Given my visa will be valid 60 days, I want to set a new goal to reach: 1200 USD.
It will allow me, after the 30 days internship, to volunteer at Siddha school for 20 days and then with other schools/communities/organic farms (ones that don’t charge volunteers)
in Isaan for the remaining 10 days.
Then I’ll head back to Hong Kong where I’ll be leveraging my additional experience on my existing and potential projects, courses, workshops and communities while planning the next steps for my dream of Mekong self-reliant nature-connected communities.
And I’m not forgetting the two scholarships for a permaculture course but It’s too early for me to visualise a road map for them yet but I will keep you updated on this channel.
My gratitude and love to you all.
Rija Ménagé June 3, 2014
Thank you again for your solidarity and for being so swift at giving me your support. I'm amazed and very grateful for what is happening.
A particular big thanks to my own family who stood collectively behind me with their support and contribution.
Please keep helping me helping others while I help myself, by sharing this campaign large and wide.
I would love to be in a position where I can help in more than one way people who didn't expect my help in the first place.
Rija Ménagé June 2, 2014
I'd like to give my heart-felt thanks to those of you who contributed already so soon after I launched the campaign. I'm not used to ask for help, and the response I see in the short amount of time is filling me with a cocktail of admiration, faith, trust and love in humanity at large, in our communities in general, and in you in particular.
Furthermore, encouraged by that one person who donated more than 100 USD, I've contacted a school in Isaan (in Buriram province) to query about opportunities for permaculture teaching collaboration.
By donating the higher-tiers of contributions, you are not just helping me, you will be enabling future students from poor areas to learn and value self-reliance and not succumb to the glitter of materialist/consumerist society.
Rija Ménagé May 31, 2014
Regarding the events, I mentioned in the "Want to meet me?" section:
The Good Market place event on the 6th June.
More info and registration can be found here a this url:
For the talk I'm giving at the City University of Hong Kong on the 10th of June, more info and registration can be found at this url:
Thanks, and please share this campaign!