THE NEXT GENERATION
During an "Auroville Retreat" in 2015 (a large collective gathering to reflect on the future of the township) a clear need was felt by the community to make space for the next generation. YouthLink was created by the few young adults who attended the Retreat with the intention to create a service unit that would be led by the youth and for the youth.
At our two-year review, we realised that we as a team at YouthLink have our strengths in Education and Networking, and decided to concentrate our efforts by using this aptitude to empower and link young adults within and outside Auroville.
YouthLink turned down a significant Government of India grant (1.23 Crore, about 177'000$) for its central hub called ‘The Hive’. We made this choice owing to difficulties in finding suitable land without having objections from the neighbors, and due to differences in opinions between Foresters and Town Planners regarding which area would be most suitable. We also had a very limited amount of time within which we had to re-design and execute the project. In the process we learnt a lot about how to take a stand and pursue projects without compromising our ideals.
After a one-week retreat to reflect and restructure ourselves, we came up with YouthLink’s revised vision statement and four main areas of work, grounding ourselves furthermore using tools for collective intelligence.
YouthLink had it’s annual Team Retreat, where we evaluated our work and our efforts together. Through this, we gained clarity regarding our achievements, challenges and strategy for the upcoming year(s). With a solid grounding, we are now ready to take on a larger team, which will join us in September 2019, the beginning of a new YouthLink year.
YouthLink provides information on opportunities in Auroville related to workshops, internships, apprenticeships, job opportunities and exchange programs. Information on career counseling, life coaching and specified mentorship is also available.
YouthLink also designs its own courses which are Certified by the Global Ecovillage Network or by Gaia Education which are then also recognized as a Contributor to the UNESCO "Global Action Program on Education for Sustainable Development".
Our primary beneficiaries are Newcomer and Aurovillian young adults aged 18-40 years old. However, we have always been open to involvement from Volunteers, Bioregional and International young adults.
Co-create a space
to be yourself
Explore oneself through collective learning
YouthLink’s Social domain includes a variety of initiatives, such as public events to engage a diverse group of youth and help bridge generations. However, our social aspect is also related to our internal team dynamics and building a network of ‘family’ through our projects that connect to different Auroville activities and units.
YouthLink creates space for collective youth-designed alternative education. It is important to us that we provide the menu of what is available, and then allow the youth to design their own workshops and curriculum. It is crucial to us that education continues to be a call from within, a desire to learn that is then supported and nourished. Thus, no two educational programs conducted through YouthLink look alike, every course is re-designed from scratch, involving the youth who participated previously to help design the next programs.
Manifest in the spirit of offering service
From ‘dreaming’ to ‘planning’ to ‘doing’... young people coming through YouthLink have several different ways in which they work to integrate themselves in Auroville. We call these “offerings” or “life projects”. They can be small or larger initiatives depending on the capacity of the youth. When projects are initiated under the YouthLink umbrella, they are provided with mentorship to develop their proposals and support to understand Auroville ideals and context.
Seek transformation through innovation
Every Core Team member in YouthLink helps with running the organization by taking up an administrative task. This helps young people learn new skills related to basic communications, databasing and accounting. The Aurovilians on the team take up the signatory responsibility for the service, but also make an effort to include other status’ in the decision-making process. So even if it appears to have a hierarchy, we bring topics to the circle to include our Newcomers and Volunteers in the dialogue - this involvement increases their understanding of how Auroville functions and their interest in taking up the management of the unit in the future.
HEAD - Think
Head refers to engaging the cognitive domain through admin, background work to sustain YouthLink in its activities.
HANDS - Do
Hands refer to the enactment of the psychomotor domain for learning practical skill development and physical work such as building, farming, painting...
HEART - Feel
Heart refer to enablement of the affective domain in forming values and attitudes that are translated into behaviours through an exploration of what attract us such as non violent communication, alternative economy...