Introducing Green Silk Road 2023 team members
The Green Silk Road (GSR) is an evolving network of ecological and social regeneration projects across Eurasia, catalysed by groups of travellers visiting sites and building relationships. Each season the groups will differ in size and composition. Below the travellers of 2023 spring - summer introduce themselves. They all know each other from living and working together in the international intentional community of Auroville in South India.
Like most Luxembourgers, Alex (41) speaks the local language as well as French, German and English, and Spanish which she learned from her mum. Hopefully she'll soon improve her Tamil to have deeper connections with her friends and neighbours in South India, her new home. She worked with film and television for many years and does subtitle writing as a way to make a living.
She likes attention to detail, which has drawn her to do embroidery and mosaics, or any other slow, meditative work. But she also likes action, and she manages to combine these interests in her work with the Tree House Community in Auroville, where she supports the team by carefully preparing the materials for the tree houses they build.
She feels more like a student than a teacher in life and loves being around kids, either baking or playing or going on adventure trips with them. She has been an active co-organiser of the Endangered Craft Mela, which connects local artisans with school children for a week long immersion in 30+ crafts, ranging from metal work to basket weaving to stone carving and rope making.
Trained as an agricultural engineer, Gijs (45) has been working with farming collectives in India for 20 years. He started various projects and companies and became a coach / mentor for other social entrepreneurs. He is an Ashoka Fellow and has been involved in the quest for Alternative Economies with an India-wide network called Vikalp Sangam and with an international movement for Sustainable Development Goals called Catalyst 2030.
Gijs worked on blockchain technology to support community based organisations in the global South to take charge of the market for ecosystem services and he hopes to see more interactive, participatory ways to involve more stakeholders in these critical questions that will shape our shared future.
He lives in a regenerating forest with his wife and 2 kids, one of whom is also coming on this trip. He has worked with education and taught systems thinking to groups aged 10 to 70.
Vikram (32) is a keen individual who enjoys and values working in the forest. He was born and grew up in Auroville where he has learnt how to live in community and in an environment which is conducive for inner growth. Forest and land management is his main drive at the moment, he engages as well in small building projects.
Pragnya (28), and her ideas about how she experiences the world and its current state, were strongly influenced by her childhood in New Delhi - a city at the helm of India’s transformational journey, where paradoxical development brews against the reinvention of tradition and culture of an older India, and above all else, diversity thrives. Although, unlike most Indians, her language diversity is limited to English & Hindi.
A background in Economics and a range of short-term stints at various grassroots organisations across the country followed, eventually the strong craving for a life absorbed in nature and community living took root, leading her to settle in a forest community in Auroville. As an aspiring change agent, she embraces practices and works on projects that build community immunity as an anecdote to the crisis, examining and acting on the intra-human and human-nature relationships that for her play a leading role in the collective visioning of our times.
Pema (18) born in an ecovillage in America, Sirius Community, and having travelled a little of South America and European ecovillages as a child, has come across many alternative ways of living. Pema moved to Auroville when she was 14 and attended one of Auroville’s high schools, Last School, a school based on a pedagogy of free progress where she developed her skills in fine arts.
Now 18, Pema is leaving Auroville to set out on a new adventure- University! But first joining the Green Silk Road group up to Scotland to yet another famous Ecovillage called Findhorn, to visit her father who lives there.
Sijmen (13) is not in any school at the moment, but learns through participating in Auroville community life. He enjoys bird watching, forest work, carpentry and playing games. He has acted in various local theatre and movie productions. Gijs is his father and the rest of the team are his extended family.