Sustainable Living Lab
Period: 24/02/2018 – 23/12/2018
Deadline: 10 September 2017
Ananda Marga Denmark is looking for four spiritually minded volunteers for our Ashram, Organic Farm and Learning center in the Danish countryside called Ananda Gaorii. Ananda Gaorii is an experiential learning center focusing on spirituality, sustainability and community. We offer workshops, retreats and training on yoga and meditation, (including yoga teacher training), organic food growing, permaculture, alternative economic models and other subjects related to holistic living. We host youth from around the world looking for a more meaningful and sustainable way to live and volunteer at the same time.
Ananda Marga is an international spiritual and social service organization with its home base in India and a network of projects around the world. “Ananda” means “Bliss” and “Marga” means “Path”, so “Ananda Marga” means “Path of Bliss”. The motto of Ananda Marga is “Self-Realization and Service to the Universe”. The first part of the motto, “Self-Realization”, is worked on through daily practice of yoga, meditation, mindfulness and a healthy life-style. The second part of the motto, “Service to the Universe”, is worked on through a network of service projects including schools, children’s homes, medical centers, rural development projects, disaster relief and many other projects.
Ananda Gaorii Ashram, Farm and Learning Center is one of those projects. It is a certified organic farm and yoga ashram, an “Eco-Ashram” if you like, located in the Danish countryside 88 kilometers west of Copenhagen. The mission of Ananda Gaorii is to provide experience, training and information in the areas of yoga and meditation, community living, personal development, health and healing, and a sustainable and self-reliant way of life. We would also like to serve the local community by offering educational visits for schools, music nights, entertainment and other activities to benefit the local region.
Within Ananda Gaorii our projects include a 60 person workshop/retreat facility, a commercial organic and gluten-free bakery, a commercial organic food-growing project producing salad greens and cherry tomatoes, and non-commercial food-growing including small permaculture projects for our own use. The project we enjoy the most, however, is the volunteers themselves, young people from all over the world with a keen desire to explore spirituality, community and sustainability. We offer daily yoga and meditation, personal guidance when requested, and an opportunity to learn a wide variety of skills through doing, including growing food, vegetarian cooking, basic carpentry, group facilitation, event hosting and organizing, volunteer coordination, social media advertising, and whatever skills might be on offer from fellow volunteers. On a more professional level we offer yoga teacher training and internships in bio-intensive food-growing.
Facility-wise we try to offer individual rooms or shared rooms for the long term volunteers where possible. When we have our big summer retreat volunteers shift into tents for a couple of weeks (some prefer it and choose to stay in tents the whole summer). Most of the short term volunteers (usually between ten and twenty) stay in dormitories and EVS volunteers may also be requested to stay in the dorms if rooms are temporarily unavailable due to construction and renovation.
We are six kilometres from a beautiful beach and 3 kilometres from the local town. There are nice bike-rides and walks in the surrounding countryside. Our bakery van drives to Copenhagen to deliver our products every day and volunteers can catch a ride when they wish to visit Copenhagen.
1) Participate in the routines of community life which include daily yoga and meditation, daily check-ins and work meetings, cooking, cleaning, cultural evenings and learning evenings.
2) Help maintain and develop the farm to make it more sustainable and self-reliant (e.g. improving our food growing, food processing, recycling, energy usage, water usage, etc.)
3) Caring for the garden and grounds
4) Help repair and improve buildings and facilities, e.g. construction of green house, roof repair, insulation, heating, construction of tiny houses, compost toilet, painting and decoration, etc.
5) Helping in the bakery (mostly cleaning but occasionally help with production and packing if someone is sick)
6) Help coordinate and guide short term volunteers and organize educational, cultural and recreational activities together. (We usually have 6 to 10 short term volunteers coming to us from Workaway, Helpx and Wwoof. These volunteers normally stay from 3 weeks to 3 months).
7) Help arrange and host workshops/trainings/retreats for the public
8) Helping organize community outreach activities such as visits from schools, community cultural activities, etc.
9) Help develop transition style initiatives to improve the resilience of the local economy and community (this will include fact-finding surveys about local resources and problems)
10) Help with crowd-funding and other forms of funding
11) Help with website maintenance and development, promoting our activities through social media, etc.
What the volunteers will learn:
1) If they are involved in the activities above they will learn about meditation, yoga, living in community and practical skills such as carpentry, growing food, cooking vegetarian food, group facilitation, baking, hosting and others.
2) Interested volunteers can also train to be yoga teachers and do an internship in the bio-intensive system of food-growing.
3) The volunteers will get opportunities to participate in workshops and classes we hold at the community on topics related to personal growth, sustainability and social change.
4) Living together with lots of people from different cultures is also a learning experience.
How will they learn about local culture?
1) We are an international group and Danes are in the minority. Nevertheless there will be Danish people in our community (other volunteers) whom they can learn from.
2) We will encourage the volunteers to spend time in town making friends with local people and researching about local capacities and problems.
3) They will get a chance to interact with local people who attend our classes and workshops
4) We will arrange for Danish classes either from local volunteers or from the municipality.
5) We would like to engage the volunteers in community outreach.
6) Volunteers can travel to Copenhagen and other parts of Denmark in their free time.
Please send your CV and motivation letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. Generic cover letters (the same letter sent to many places) will not be considered. We want to hear about your talents, interests and experience but we also want to hear why you want to join this specific project and why you think you might be suitable for it. As we are an Ashram we are only looking for volunteers who have a sincere interest in yoga and meditation and who are willing to make an effort to practice on a daily basis. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t done meditation or yoga before but you must come with the intention to learn and practice. Establishing a daily practice and making steady progress in meditation and yoga can be as challenging as mastering a musical instrument or any other skill. It takes determination and dedication. Please consider deeply if you are ready for this before applying.
Apart from a strong interest in yoga and meditation the interests/skill sets we are looking for include: gardening and food-growing, permaculture design, landscaping, vegetarian cooking, handyman skills, repair skills (cars, tractors, washing machines, etc. ), carpentry skills, group facilitation, event organizing, marketing, fund-raising, social media advertising, yoga teaching, youth work, and project management. Volunteers who can teach communication skills, conflict resolution skills or any other skills related to enhancing community life are also welcome.
If your motivation letter and CV seem like a good match we will contact you for a Skype interview. Conversational English will also be required.