We had had our first transnational meeting of Children in Permaculture project this September 2015 in London,UK which was followed by the international conference and convergence (IPCUK). Those of you who had attended the conference and convergence will remember Tierra Martinez,from Argentina, an inspiring and energetic Permaculture Teacher and important figure in the movement and development of permaculture in Latin America. (See https://www.ipcuk.events/profile/Tierra-Martinez) I met Tierra during the session called “Children and Schools”. After a mutual connection and dialogue on alternative education,children and permaculture he invited me to come to Brazil to take part in their project where they would be designing and building a new school with permaculture principles: Escola Ayni.
Photos above and below:Tierra Martinez,founder of Permaculture Institute Na’Luum.Photo: Marina Todeschini de Quadros
Everything developed quite spontaneously after that and I am now in South of Brazil,Guaporé, Rio Grande Do Sul in an innovative and beautiful project for 3 months. Although I had taken a PDC I was asked by Tierra to participate in the PDC run by him and Beatriz Ramirez, which took place in Spanish and Portuguese. I was told it would be necessary to also be able to connect to the team and to know more about the premises. In 10 days I began learning both languages and experiencing many suprises (sleeping in the forest where the school was built at night to connect to the place to name a few). The course had a wholistic approach and was more focused on the social aspects of permaculture,with emphasis on communication as well as hands on connection to nature.
Since then many historical milestones for the project and Guaporé have been taking place. Before I continue I would like to share what Ayni is..
Ayni,initially designed as a city school, is formulated to be a place of inspiration,transformation,education and sustainability. A place of learning and expression for children,parents,educators and the community.
Founder of Ayni,Thiago Berto
Here is an excerpt from the interview that took place with the founder Thiago Berto about the project:“With Ayni we are looking at education how it would be 250 years later. We are trying to bring future to the present and at the same time go back to our roots. It is like a social laboratory so we can train how the society can be in the centuries to come.The school and the pedagogy will be the heart that will generate the movement.” (31.10.2015) He states that ideally it should be the adults in the school and the children who would be teaching. He visualizes Ayni to expand not just in the city,but also on a regionally,nationally and on a worldwide level inviting visitors to come in the future and being an inspirational educational model. You may read more about the project,the meaning of the word “Ayni” and Thiago’s story from the following website http://www.fundacaoayni.org/index.php?site=home.php&i=i
The land which Ayni is going to be built belonged to the government. However it used to be Thiago’s grandparents before that and last week,the municipality voted to grant permission for the building of Ayni. Two days ago,I had the chance to be part of signing the agreement between the mayor and Thiago. This is another positive development in the project as it continues with the full support of the municipality.
Voting of the municipality members in the town hall./Gaye Amus in town hall./Cheering takes place as the project is accepted.
The project Ayni is developing and the design evolving every day.
Meeting with architects./Elements ofthe design./Tierra’s initial design sketches.
Gaye Amus in Guaporé,Brazil,city school Ayni./ PDC course participants’ son. Photo: Elizandra Nunes/ Ayni site in the making. Photo:Gaye Amus
I am happy to be part of the experimental and dynamic process,sharing my knowledge and experience for this project that will hopefully inspire new ways of education and living for society. May the platform of projects with children and permaculture flourish. Sending warm greetings from Guaporé.
The traditional small fruits of the forests and streets of Guaporé. Surinam cherry, Pitanga. Photo:Gaye Amus
Gaye Amus is an environmental educator, permaculture designer and is specialized in early childhood education.
Born in Kuwait 1978, Gaye is from Istanbul,Turkey and has been living in Finland for 8 years. Her experiences have taken her on a pathway from working in various kindergartens inluding a forest/nature kindergarten to presently facilitating workshops, giving seminars and consulting on nature education and outdoor learning.
For more information: www.learninginnature.org