Ecovillage Excellency Award, 2014

Aurora Community, Romania

Aurora Community is an intentional, eco-spiritual community and a learning center actively working to be an example on new models of living, sharing the best practices for sustainability, supporting a lifestyle with low impact on the ecosystems of the planet, and spreading a more simple way of living, with grace, beauty and meaning. By Filipa Simoes.

The project was born in February 2013 with two members, and it is now a thriving group of people committed to manifesting a common vision of peace and sufficiency for present and future generations of all beings, living in harmony and united in diversity.

Working for self-sufficiency and sustainability at the economical, social, ecological and cultural levels, the community has a common daily practice of meditation and yoga and is moved by a deep sense of individual and collective healing through the transcendence of the "I" and the "Mine",
offering their work in service for the common good.

Aurora Community is located in Eastern Europe, in the Romanian Carpathian Mountains, and is integrated in a region with a rich historical context but also deeply imprinted by the marks left by ancient long term conflicts.

From the times of the Roman Empire (who dreamed of conquering Dacia to exploit the abundant reserves of gold and silver that can be still found in great quantities in the Western Carpathians), through the wounds, still present, marked by the annexation by the Austro-Hungarian Empire,
Romania tells a story of survival of both World Wars, to the scarcity times of nearly five decades of imposed communism, to the long harsh winters, to the difficult relations with the Roma minorities, and to the high level corruption on the rise.

Since the brutal war in the former Yugoslavia, to the current violent conflicts in Ukraine, the Eastern Europe is a region in need of healing, and it's time to look at it.

Aurora Community strives to bring a new culture of peace into the region, leading by example and inspiring by practice. In one year, 20 workshops were organized and over 350 people, from the most diverse backgrounds, have been touched by many subjects such as Deep Ecology, Community Building, Dragon Dreaming, Hatha Yoga, Permaculture, Bioconstruction or Beekeeping.

Because of the background of previous conflicts that still remain in the region, this work has a special focus on:

- DEEP ECOLOGY: re-connecting with the Self, with other beings, and with Nature, overcoming stigmas and barriers between cultures, healing and re-establishing more resilient relationships.

- COMMUNITY BUILDING: supporting the emergence of new intentional community projects.

- NETWORKING: creating networks of support for the Permaculture, Transition and Intentional Communities movements.

All the events have been successfully organized on Gift Economy principles!

In July, attending the GEN-Europe 2014 Conference, kindly hosted by the Community of ZEGG in Germany, Aurora Community was unexpectedly honored and surprised, being awarded as one of the most inspiring projects of the year! It was a very significant and meaningful award, in honor of the life and work of Paulo Mellet, and somehow, it was a confirmation that all the work done so far has the support of the Universe! It was a magical moment!

The money prize of 1.500 EUR will be used for the fundraising campaign to buy and free 10 hectares of land for the community. These 10 hectares include a beautiful traditional wood house, two barns in need of refurbishment in order to accommodate more residents and long term volunteers, a stone house with a recovered wood stove, now working as a bakery, two gardens implemented according the permaculture principles that proudly provide already 30% of the community food needs, water springs, rich soil, an amazing wildlife diversity and forest!

Several simple structures have already been placed to receive the increasing number of visitors, volunteers and aspiring members, but a lot of work still needs to be done to create the learning center and accommodate more people.

The community work and some of its projects, such as Terra Livre (free land) Movement, and the Danube Communities Convergence, have been presented in Romania, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Germany and Portugal, including the participation in studies and research for sustainability, organized by the Romanian Universities of Timisoara, Alba Iulia and Brasov.

In August 2013, Terra Livre, one of the heart projects of Aurora Community, was launched.

Terra Livre is a movement for the liberation of the land that aims to create a greater awareness on the sacredness of the Land and the role of humans and intentional communities as Guardians of the Earth, bringing to the individual and collective consciousness the need to review terms such as “owner” and “ownership.”

The movement started to fundraise the money in need to buy and free the land for Aurora Community. In one year, 15.000 EUR were raised with the support of 64 individuals and 2 communities. During this time the movement has taken a larger purpose and now is the time to expand the work and take a step forward.

According recent reports, from the 322,000 hectares of virgin forests of the Carpathian eco-region, 210,000 are in Romania. In a country where 3 ha of forest disappear every hour, the intention for
Terra Livre Movement is to encourage and support the emergence of community managed projects willing to recover, protect and preserve the land, the forest and its biodiversity and to assume an active role as Guardians of the Earth.

Campaigns such as "We are land keepers", and "I am the Eastern Forest", are currently taking place in the Terra Livre and Aurora Community websites and Facebook pages.

Aurora Community is deeply grateful for the support of all the people who, directly and indirectly, have contributed to the crystallization of the community and the recognition of its work.

More info about Aurora at:

www.aurora-community.org
www.terra-livre.org

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Created by

15.09.2014