Shanti Ananda Nature Concept School English Newsletter 3/2018

This newsletter is about "Generational Change in the Project Management" - it's about my colleague and project manager Horst Wagner and me regarding our roles in the school project. In the following lines there will be statements from both of us – first me and after Horst Wagner.

 

But first, I would like to announce that our website www.natureconceptschool.org has been redesigned by Pramod Kumar Sahu - the new design is very appealing. The main menu is now on top of the page, creating a much clearer structure; the white background conveys a pleasant impression ... The donation page (http://natureconceptschool.org/donate.html) is redesigned: finally; after a long search, we found a way to activate an online payment portal: https://danamojo.org/. It will take some days to complete it - I hope that this option will help us generate more funds and, above all, regular donations.

Helga Shanti at the opening of the Koelner Indian Week

My talk about the Shanti Ananda school project - announced in the last newsletter - took place on June 4th in Cologne during the 10th Indian Week. Despite the beautiful weather about 25 people were present, and it gave me a lot of pleasure to present the project for the first time in an official framework in Germany. The response was good; several aspects were discussed, with the issue of "Sustainable and sustainable financing" being particularly important. Especially the topic "fundraising" was discussed later.

 

I have been in India since 2006, for 12 years, and during this time a project has been built up that is perceived by each and everybody as very remarkable and of high quality. That was possible because my colleague Horst Wagner and I were permanently on site to look after the project in many ways, and the donation situation was secured for many years. However, donations have fallen dramatically for quite some time now and are far from covering the expenditures, leading to the need for systematic fundraising.

 

In recent years, I have often taken on the role of a fundraiser - in addition to my various tasks in the project - and feel increasingly overwhelmed and stressed because I am a teacher and artist and NOT a fundraiser. In my remaining lifetime, I would like to concentrate on my actual tasks and therefore outsource the fundraising. Competently by Annette Kleinbrod (EZ-Scout of the German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Development (BMZ)) I heard that for successful fundraising human resources, time, energy and money are necessary.

 

Surely there are people who would like to experience themselves as a fundraiser and may be more successful than me. It could also be a team that deals with meaningful and sustainable fundraising in the future. We can talk about the modalities ... People, who appreciate our innovative project and are interested in fundraising, may contact me!

 

Fundraising consists of information dissemination, Internet research, contacts - by e-mail, telephone and at the personal level - and more. Fundraising needs to be sustainable and systematic, and success can sometimes only be expected after half to one year. Maybe there are also ideas from former and / or current supporters / donors how to do the fundraising in future ... A fundraiser does not have to be with us in India - although of course it would be useful if he / she would know our project. It can be a student, a retiree or other contemporaries. You can live in Cologne or Shanghai, in Germany, India or on the Fiji Islands - that does not matter. Decisive is your motivation and commitment to our project. Our project is about holistic, high quality education based on human values and focusing on Mother Earth. Creativity is the focus. Moreover, we are not ‘only’ a school, but also a reforestation and art project, and therefore have a financial need of about 60,000 Euros / year.

 

FUNDRAISER FOR THE

SHANTI ANANDA SCHOOL PROJECT

GET IN TOUCH!

 

The question of who succeeds project manager Horst Wagner and me has also been burning us for a while ... In the last 12 years, we have both done the work on site. Of course, there have been some volunteers who - mostly once or for a limited time = fed their knowledge and abilities into the project, but there were not many. We are here in a rural area of India, which has little infrastructure only and is hard to take for Westerners. You have to know what you want in order to stay here - for us it was the motivation to build a high-quality school project in an underprivileged area - with associated architecture, reforestation and artistic elements (mosaics) ... Horst Wagner and I are now both 60+ and would like to step down one or more steps and give other people a chance to get engaged constructively in the project. These can be students who are doing a practical year and / or people who want to find a new challenge. We imagine that in the best case a group should lead the project… Maybe the time is right now.

 

I would like to emphasize at this point that we are open to VOLUNTEERS who want to support us in our work. Of course, they should share the basic philosophy of the project and be ready to engage in a different and sometimes alien or alienating culture – in a creative, tolerant and open way. If you are interested in working as part of our holistic pedagogical, reforestation and art project, please contact us. The areas of pedagogy, gardening and music are particularly welcome - in addition to the aforementioned fundraising. We offer a lot of freedom, living in a beautiful nature and a good human atmosphere.

 

Horst Wagner with horse Tara

... and here comes the statement from Horst Wagner:

 

"Dear Friends, Sponsors and others who are interested in our school project!

 

My name is Horst Wagner. I have been studying social work in Cologne and have been full-time involved in the school project since 2010. Some of you have followed the development of our school project from the beginning and know of my activity in the school project. For the others of you: here is a little statement on my person and my activity in the school project.

 

My first visit to India took place in 1995, when I visited this land for spiritual reasons. Already after the second visit in 1996, I felt the need to help people in this country - it attracted me more and more to the needy, I wanted to do something to make things more humane. So, in 1998, I actively started my involvement as a social worker - also noted by my then spiritual teacher, who advised me to give up my daily stay at the ashram and go to the villages to help improve people's living conditions. I have done that and do it still today.

 

The forerunner of the Shanti Ananda School Project was launched 17 years ago when a Swami from the Puttaparthi area asked me to help him set up a school in Mudigubba. There was a small temple, and it was supposed to serve the children as a classroom in the beginning. I took care of the financial resources, and after three months the school life started when the temple had been expanded. In the following 5 years, a German friend took care of the school and kept it alive until the death of Naganandaswami in 2006.

 

When the Swami died, Gerlinde, who had hitherto cared for the school, left India, and the school had to be shut down. Helga visited the dying Swami in Bangalore and promised him on his deathbed to continue the school on her responsibility - what she did from 2006 onwards; transforming this small school with her abilities as a trained teacher and artist into a high quality holistic place of experience, whereby creativity is her main motivation.

 

Thanks to Helga's efforts, helpful people were found making it possible to purchase the current school area in March 2010. I joined at that time and got involved as a project manager and architect - at times also as a music teacher.

 

When I first entered the grounds, it was a piece of desert with one Neem tree. Gradually, a nature school was created with the help of the teachers and the other employees. The buildings were arranged in the form of a spiral; we chose the octagon shape for the school houses and the administration building, aligned all the structures on the new school grounds on a numerological base - also taking into account the Indian Vastu - (the Indian version of the Chinese Feng Chui). We made air-dried clay bricks with our own machine (CSEB with Auroville standard) to take the ecological aspect into account - and also because it guarantees a greater cooling of the rooms, which is especially important in this area where high temperatures are reached.

 

In short, from my point of view, we thought of everything that constitutes a model-oriented holistic school project.

 

The pedagogy introduced by Helga and a high level creativity completed the project, making it a real model project. We have ample space of more than 36,000 square meters, which offers space for an integrated playground, a bicycle parcours, a green classroom and our three horses.

Helga has written in many newsletters that we have planted more than 3,000 trees since 2010. With the construction of the new school, a personal wish came true for me, especially because I was able to realize my idea of spiritual architecture.

 

Since the school is in a distance of 40 kilometers from the place where I live with my family, and my presence on the school grounds was usually six days a week to ensure a good quality standard, a daily two hour drive was part of my work; and so far I have traveled 180,000 km on a dangerous road, where I am grateful, that there was always a guardian angel at my side, when a critical situation in the road happened.

 

But since I am not spared by the aging process, I feel that the possibilities of my body are gradually limited; and I would like to step back a little with my now 67 years to give space to a new generation.

 

With these lines, I want to send out my wish to the universe that people feel called upon to take this project - which is far ahead of its time on Indian soil - into their own hands: people who are willing to dream a vision, with high ideals and with the desire for a better world as the driving force.

 

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