“The Spirit of the Maekong Journey”
“Connecting with cultural, spiritual and
ecological roots; A two month Journey along the Maekong River by the Gaia School
Asia team & NextGEN Asia, to connect with local children, youth, teachers and schools,
and together deepening our connection with the culture and nature, through our holistic educational programs.
Our Gaia School Asia team consists of 4 experienced teachers/facilitators who have been working with children, youth and teachers throughout the world. Gaia School Asia believes that we are not separate from nature and that all beings have intrinsic value. We believe that children are born with a natural connection to nature.
OUR VISION & MISSION
As part of Gaia School Asia's vision
of strengthening & awakening the “Spirit of Asia”, we have a yearly
outreach program where we journey to provide educational programs for
children, youth and schoolteachers. During our journeys we are also representing NextGEN GENOA (http://gaiaschoolasia.com/projects-activities/http:// ) which is the youth movement of the Global Ecovillage Network of Oceania & Asia. Our education programs are inspired by Deep
Ecology philosophy, Permaculture and Ecovillage Education movement. We aim to inspire & motivate children & youth to care for the earth, help to build up skills for sustainable living and
THE STORY OF 'THE SPIRIT OF THE MAEKONG'
In English the river is called 'the Mekong River', derived from 'Mae Nam
Kong', a term of both Thai and Lao origin. In Laos/Thai 'Mae Nam Kong' river translates to 'mother of water. The Maekong River is one of the mighty rivers in Asia, and the river starts from the Tibetan Plateau, flows through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia & flows into the sea in Vietnam . Many
lives & beings have been relying on this river directly
and indirectly for centuries. It is the heart and soul of mainland Southeast Asia. Over 60 million people
depend on the river and its tributaries for food, water, transport and
many other aspects of their daily lives. We believe the Maekong River has her spirit and many peoples
living near her also hold that belief, for them she
takes the form of a waterdragon that they refer to as the 'Naga”. Her spirit does not separate from all lives that
rely on her. We are called to learn from the story of the river, its people and share her stories. This mighty river inspires us to take a
journey along her banks to see how people have been connected or
disconnected from her. How are the ecosystems developed along her sides? How is this development affecting her? How are these systems sustained?
ACTIVITIES WE WILL OFFER
- Week-long Nature Education programs for schools & children. Our education programs are designed to engage the mind, hands, heart
Our educational activities aim to reconnect, deepen and acknowledge the connection with the Maekong river and Nature amongst the children, youth and schoolteachers along the Maekong. We will be working on practical eco-projects with the local schools, youth & children in Laos & Thailand.
- Connecting to village Youth groups taking time to learn from them and hear their
stories. Providing youth empowerment workshops and doing hands-on projects/ actions together that create positive change in their communities.
- Connecting & networking with like-minded schoolteachers. This is part of the “Teacher of the Earth” campaign of Gaia School Asia.
- Collecting and sharing stories of children and youth who have been active in trying to sustain or regenerate the abundance of Earth. The stories of the youth will be part of “Young Spirit of Asia” campaign.
- Documenting the journey: what we learn, what we share and processes we use in our programs. This documentation of materials will be shared for free online.
EDUCATIONAL PROCESSES & WORKSHOPS
To get more detailed information about the educational process of Gaia School Asia go to our website:
Previously we did the “Spirit of the Himalaya” campaign. We took the journey from Sri Lanka all the way up to the Himalaya to share and offer similar educational programs. To read about it in detail you can go to the link of one of the newsletters of the 'Spirit of the Himalaya Journey'
To see a slideshow of our previous work go to:
Sri lanka Youth group:
WHAT WE HOPE TO ACHIEVE:
- Children & youth become aware of the ecological issues occurring locally and globally, inspired and empowered to take care or to keep taking care of the earth.
- Raising awareness amongst teachers of the ecological issues and the importance in being part of the solutions. inspire and empower them to tell a different story of the earth. A story that will inspire children and youth to take care or keep taking care of the earth.
- Long-Term objective of the journey is for Gaia School Asia & NextGEN Oceania & Asia to be networking with Schools, Youth Groups & NGOs in Laos & Isaan (North-East of Thailand) to create a regional network of educators & youth who are inspired to take care of the Earth & to connect the local with the global movement.
- Documenting & gathering
teaching materials of the workshop process & sharing these resources with
others in the network & with those that are interested in nature education.
- Inspire youth & children in other regions to take positive action within their communities.
- We will compile and publish a book: 'Spirit of the Maekong': a colourful, collection of the stories we collect along the way
WHO WILL BENEFIT:
Children, Schools, Teachers & Local NGOs in Laos and the North-East of Thailand
Two months from 01 March until 10th of May
Traveling South along the Meakong River from Vientiane, Laos to Pakse, Laos. We will be crossing into Thailand & work our way back up along the Thai side of the Meakong River to Nong Kai & back to Gaia Ashram the base of Gaia School Asia where we will have a one week Nature Youth Camp with the children of our village.
MADE WITH LOVE BY:
Om Sunisa Jamwiset
Om is from Thailand & is together with her partner Tom, one of the founders of Gaia School Asia (http://gaiaschoolasia.com/gsa/) & the representative of NextGEN Oceania & Asia (http//gaiaschoolasia.com/projects-activities/ ). Om has a lot of experience facilitating workshops in many Asian countries for very diverse groups through her network with many NGOs & communities in Asia. She has a deep love for nature & a deep commitment to change through education our stories to a story that emphasises on taking care of the Earth .
Kate is from originally from South-Africa & has been teaching for over 7 years, specializing in creative methods using art, storytelling, natural elements, outdoor settings and permaculture. She teaches English as a foreign language, pre-school, yoga and art to children, adults and family-groups. In 2010 she founded Creative Languages. Inspired deeply by nature and Deep Ecology, she has wrote and illustrated the children's book 'The King and The Tree'.
Lucy was born and raised in London, UK. She has spent most of her adult life living abroad teaching English as a foreign language and learning about permaculture and mindfulness practices. She is passionate about bringing her experience into classrooms to help kids build a more positive world view.
Tom is originally from the Netherlands & has a deep love for nature. He has traveled a lot & during his travels spent a lot of time in nature & working with nature through Organic Gardening & Permaculture. In recent years he is based in Thailand with his partner Om. Together they founded Gaia School Asia (http://gaiaschoolasia.com/gsa/http:// ) & have been representing NextGEN GENOA (http://gaiaschoolasia.com/gsa/ ). Through their work they have connected to thousands of youth & children in Asia & they hope to bring positive change in Asia.
The money raised will go towards transport, travel expenses, teaching materials & documentation & sharing of the materials with the wider network, buying of materials for implementing on site, small scale, educational permaculture design with the children/youth/villages we work with.
Breakdown of budget:
· Travel/Transport Expense 700$
· Tools and implementation materials 150$
· Food & Accommodation 800$
· Teaching Materials / Visuals / Printing 75$
· Documenting & distributing materials in network 75$
Total 1800$WITH MUCH GRATITUDE!
Thank you!! We appreciate all the support we can get! We look forward to keeping you updated about the Journey, all the
activities and sharing the stories we harvest along the way!
May the 'Spirit of the Maekong Journey' benefit all Beings!