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Auroville Youth Integration (AVYI)

20/06/2023


From the 29th of May to the 1st of June 2023, YouthLink hosted a four day program in the Tibetan Pavilion, for the Youth of Auroville turning 18. This was our first trial, and we hope to facilitate more of them in the future.The aim of this program was to provide clarity and insight into the principles and values of Auroville, while encouraging personal growth and self-reflection. With the goal to inspire and empower, AVYI proved to be a wonderful opportunity for the participants to explore their aspirations and help them make a conscious choice on joining this intentional, experimental community we live in, Auroville.



The AVYI program covered a variety of themes:


  • The spirit and values of Auroville by analysing “The Mother’s Dream”, “To Be A True Aurovillian” and “The Auroville Charter” with multiple facilitators, these sessions were quite interactive and open for discussion, enabling an atmosphere of shared learning and collaboration.


  • The economic structure and groups organisation, this brought a better understanding of how Auroville functions, the challenges and opportunities linked to it and a sense of clarity.


Manas - presentation on the economy and finances of Auroville
  • Participants also had the opportunity to meet Aurovillians from various horizons, engage in dialogues, listen to their personal experiences and gain profound insights into the joys, challenges, and choices that define Auroville. During these sessions the participants also got to hear unexpected stories, discover old photographs, and just feel a deeper sense of community, an eagerness to learn more and uncover these little hidden facettes of Auroville.











 

To alleviate these really interesting, but brain-wracking discussions and sharings, and also because we believe that learning comes through having fun, we made sure all the participants felt comfortable with each other with a variety of fun energizers and team building activities throughout the whole program, in which all the YouthLink members participated in, to foster a feeling of trust and safety instead of a teacher/student relationship.

Thanks to this we had a vibrant and energetic atmosphere, the participants were able to build strong bonds and have a sense of community, collaboration and got a feeling of belonging, with the group, and hopefully, with Auroville.


In order to help each of the participant find their way in or out of Auroville, we had two one-on-one interviews during these four days, one in the beginning and one at the end, where we tried to understand how they felt, where they wanted to go in life and how we could help them to grow and go towards the path that called to them.

They also had a few introspective exercises where they got to contemplate their own journey within Auroville, explore their sense of belonging, and think about their future odyssey in life.



Our first edition of AVYI was a success, not only for the participants that shared glowing feedback, emphasising how this program gave them a sense of belonging and provided them with a conscious understanding of joining Auroville, all while having fun. But also for the facilitators that got to see the willingness to learn and work together from our youth, as well as their thirst for growth. I also think most of us from YouthLink got enriched by this program, we had the opportunity to learn alongside the participants, some of us had their first experience at facilitating and had to get over their fears and anxieties, we all grew together.

As for me (Madhu), this program brought me a lot of clarity and gratitude towards life to have brought me here. I got to see how beautifully my fellow youth are shining and how we have the potential to bring Auroville and hopefully the World to its highest and brightest place.


As you may have understood previously, this Auroville Youth Integration program was only the first of many (hopefully), as we want all of our youth to be able to make an informed decision about joining this glowing experiment.

If you are a Youth of Auroville and you feel like you need to learn more about Auroville, its history, its values and visions, send us an email and join us for our next AVYI program!

You will get to have fun, meet new people, friends and mentors, while learning about Auroville, yourself and others.



 

Here are some testimonies from the participants:



AVYI was an amazing experience. I learnt so much more than I expected. All the organisers and participants were amazing, and I had so much fun. My goal going into this workshop was to get a good enough understanding of Auroville, to be able to explain what it is to anyone I meet in the future. And after the workshop, I finally feel capable of it!

The best part of the program was the people. I knew some of them already, but most were barely acquaintances. By the end, after multiple conversations, tears and laughter, I realised that the organisers and other participants are what made this workshop fun. So thank you to all of you.

As feedback, perhaps an extra day and possibly a visit to some of the working groups to have a discussion with them could make this program more complete.

Overall, my understanding of AV has improved so much. And finally, understanding the place that your parents decided to move to is an amazing feeling and makes me even more happy I grew up here.

Satchi



This program helped me somehow gain so much information. The AVYI program organisers definitely did their best and achieved what they wanted to do. My favourite part of the program was learning about the foundations of Auroville groups from such a friendly team. I just wish the program had been longer than four days.

The thoughts and questions I had about Auroville have changed after attending the AVYI program. I think that this program should happen often so that all the youth get to know Auroville better. Thank you, YouthLink!

Viknesh



The program was enjoyable, fun and lively. At the same time, I felt there was space to explore in-depth and speak sincerely. There were some things I didn't feel like expressing, but that was a personal choice.

There was plenty of important information about Auroville. Some of it went by fast, like the system of governance. If I didn’t have prior context, I would have understood less.

I liked playing Tom and Jerry, an energiser much like tag. Satyavan’s analysis of the Dream was fascinating. And my favourite part of the program was the game in which you roleplay to convince others why a particular Auroville service is necessary.

My least favourite part was the ‘spectrum of feelings’ exercise, but I also feel that it was useful, to understand how I felt about the entry process.

I feel my ideas about Auroville ideals are refreshed. I see that some current community members may not be dedicated to its ideas.

Thank you. I am very grateful.

Yam



I was very happy with the AVYI program. Make it at least one week.

It taught me a lot about Auroville, but surprisingly, it also taught me about myself and others. My favourite part of the program was that it felt like we were creating a mini family. This sense of team and family was very much appreciated. After attending the program, I feel a bigger sense of community, and I’m feeling more interconnected.

I would have liked more team building exercises and to have learned/discussed more about our views and Auroville philosophy.

Maybe we could have also done a group trip to the Matrimandir!

Thank you, and I wish to keep seeing this, YouthLink, and more youth oriented program development.

Asia





Written By Madhu

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