GAIA Kosovo
Permaculture education in Boževce/Bozhevc – environmental program

 


DESCRIPTION OF THE ORGANISATION

GAIA is peace organisation from Kosovo, dedicated to peace building, sustainable living and solidarity between people across ethnic boundaries and minorities rights. Since 2010 GAIA organizes workcamps, youth exchanges, public events related to environmental topics, youth empowerment and human rights, through music, video, ARTivism, volunteering, non-formal education etc. Volunteering program is the core activity of GAIA as well as spreading the idea of volunteering for peace around Kosovo.

GAIA is branch of Service Civil International (SCI), one of the oldest volunteering organization dedicated to promoting a culture of peace by organizing international voluntary projects for people of all ages and backgrounds. So far, GAIA has been working mostly in smaller ethnically diverse communities and our work has been mostly focused on issues and topics which are being neglected or simply forgotten.

Since 2017 GAIA started developing a permaculture idea which is mostly taking place in Bozevce. In this remote village, with help of friends and volunteers GAIA is creating a project on half hectar property which is serving a place for education and practises of sustainable living, natural building, organic food production, communal living etc.
More information about projects and actions of GAIA can be found at www.gaiakosovo.wordpress.com and about SCI at www.sci.ngo

VOLUNTEERS’ TASKS & ACTIVITIES

The volunteer will be part of an experimental permaculture project run by a group of enthusiast, therefore it is expected that the volunteer becomes equal member of the team.

The volunteer will take part in diverse activities which will be planned and adjusted according to different factors and priorities, such as seasons, resources available, current priorities etc. [based on motivation, interest and experiences of volunteers. It is expected that the volunteer will actively contribute to the team/tasks and that he or she finds a place in the team as an equal member. This means that in the project hierarchies are reduced to a minimum, but it also means that the volunteer is expected to take responsibilities and that he or she is able to work alone, as a team member or able to give instructions to a small group of people.


However, the general overview according to seasons will be the following:

Autumn – getting to know the project and communities

  • harvesting herbs, berries, fruits, vegetables

  • preparing and conserving food for winter

  • preparation for winter (insulation, storage)

  • preparing gardens, mushrooms production and compost

  • work in the forest garden

  • getting familiar with local customs, community and the language

  • taking care of animals

  • wood storing (heating and building material)

  • maintenance of objects and buildings 


Winter – time for learning, reflection and retreat

  • preparation of educational activities for spring and summer

  • exploring possibilities for gardening

  • lots of learning about nature and culture

  • visiting and supporting older people in the community

  • taking care of animals

  • preparing seedlings for Spring

  • taking part in educational activities


Spring - lots of outdoor work and educational activities

  • gardening and composting

  • running educational activities for youth and children

  • collecting herbs, mushrooms

  • hand work (with wood, tools, natural materials...)

  • helping in building and renovating objects and utilities


Summer – volunteer camps and festival

  • support coordination of volunteer groups (workcamps) in Bozevce and other communities

  • support preparation and realization of GAIA festivals (BREfest in Sharr Mountian)

  • maintain facilities and gardens


Activities all over the year

  • Documenting cultural and natural heritage.

  • Preparing texts fro the web page, GAIA and SCI newsletters. Taking care of animals and other living and non-living beings.


SKILLS AND COMPETENCES

The volunteer should be interested in sustainable and simple living, environmental topics and holistic approach to social and environmental problems. The volunteer should be ready to live in a small village, but also in a small community with other volunteers, members of GAIA and animals.

It is expected that the volunteer is ready to work in a team, communicate in open and direct way, to be willing to learn, adapt and to respect local customs. Sense of initiative and self motivation are the basis for living and working as the community. Finally, volunteers should be willing to learn local languages: Serbian and Albanian.

The volunteer will be offered to attend several training courses/workshops which will help them in running activities. For instance, a training for camp coordination, permaculture workshops, project writing seminar etc. The volunteer will also have a chance to participate in a youth exchange, in Kosovo or some other country around the Balkans.
The volunteer is also encouraged to initiate a personal project in and with the community. It could be a language course, audiovisual or creative workshops, documentation, workshops in schools etc.

 

CONDITIONS

Food is vegetarian and vegan, mostly made with local products from the village and surrounding villages. Part of the food is grown and collected by volunteers themselves. The food is to be cooked with a wood stove, meaning that the volunteer will need to learn how to make fire. In winter, heat is provided only by fire in the stoves.
The village is located near Kamenica, but it is 20 Minutes by car away or two hours by foot and there is no public transport. Transport is provided by GAIA, if necessary. Usually the car goes down to a city two or three times per week, for people to go shopping or to see other places of GAIA. In winter it can be less because of ice on the road.

A basic level of english for communication is enough, which means that the volunteer should have the vocabulary for daily life. The team members will teach other vocabulary if necessary.

On the place of the project there are living animals such as four big dogs, five cats and a bounge of chicken. The volunteer should not be suffering from a phobia against them or be allergic to their hair. Additionally, a lot of the work in the garden and in the forest garden area is done with straw and there are a lot of blossoming flowers and trees around – the volunteer should not be allergic against that.

The volunteer will share living and working space with other volunteers, surrounded by lots of unspoiled nature, and have a lot of peaceful time for themselves. The living space is quite limited here, so the volunteer should take in account to live in gender-mixed bedrooms with up to four people. But in summer, the volunteer is very welcome to sleep outside in a tent or a hammock, with the beautiful, unpolluted scy as a ceiling


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