1. Sanskrit word for peace
2. Embracing the World’s international youth movement, dedicated to empowering youth to become compassionate leaders in building a peaceful and more sustainable world.
Every year, AYUDH youth organizers select a theme to shape their efforts worldwide. Based on the chosen theme, AYUDH groups develop volunteer initiatives, sponsor talks, and organize awareness programs worldwide. Themes from recent years have included “Our World. Our Vision. Our Future,” “The Joy of Giving,” and “The Power of Youth to Change the World.” In Europe, AYUDH’s annual themes are supported by the EU’s Youth in Action program.
The highlight of the annual theme is a weeklong youth summit at Embracing the World’s Center in Germany, which draws more than 200 youth participants from around the world.
Political leaders, acclaimed artists, and influential leaders of the environmental movement inspire the youth through talks and debates.
A broad variety of workshops provide a unique opportunity for intercultural exchange, creative expression and personal development.
Across the world, AYUDH youth volunteers visit elder care homes. Through music and games the youth interact with the residents and do whatever they can to be a bright spot in their day.
The HOPE (Harps of Peace) program trains youth in therapeutic harp playing, provides free instruments and facilitates visits to hospitals and elder care homes to apply the healing benefits of music to body and spirit.
AYUDH’s GrowIn’ project trains youth to think globally and act locally by growing their own organic food, in whatever space is available.
From San Francisco to Mumbai, Sydney to Nairobi young people inspired by Amma’s call to grow at least enough organic vegetables to eat once a week have started to use balconies, window sills and community gardens to cultivate produce. They enjoy eating food grown with their own hands, as well as sharing healthy veggies and lessons learned with family and friends. Participants say they have a newfound feeling of connection to nature and an appreciation for the delicate cycles that sustain life on earth.
To train the youth, an online platform provides tips for growing. Video clips give step-by-step guidance and weekend courses offer hands-on training on how to create change - one seed at a time.
AYUDH members are encouraged to explore their creative potential through artwork, dance, photography and video projects. A special emphasis is given to composing, recording and performing their own songs -- turning music into a powerful medium to convey a positive message to the world.
The musical “Reaching New Heights” was composed, produced, and performed by AYUDH volunteers in Germany in 2011. It portrayed the challenges young people face in today’s world, ranging from drug abuse to unemployment, environmental crisis to broken households.
In preparation for this project, the young people had researched possible solutions for each of these issues. Their proposed solutions were also presented in the musical, leaving the audience with the conviction that our youth have the power to change the world through their innovative and creative potential.
The musical was selected as the “Best Practice” Project in the Youth Field by the European Commission in 2011.
Over a period of two years, 60 AYUDH volunteers built a walk-in bee hive as immersive educational exhibit using eco-friendly materials at Embracing the World’s Center in Pontgouin, France.
Through a glass system with micro-filtration, one is able to see, smell, and hear the bees from inside the house. The exhibit provides an opportunity to get up close and personal with bees without fear of being stung, allowing visitors to develop a deeper appreciation for a fascinating species that is both crucial to the food chain and subject to alarming population decline in many parts of the world.
The project was supported by the Youth in Action program of the European Union and was conducted in collaboration with GreenFriends-France.
The European Voluntary Service (EVS) is part of the Youth in Action program of the European Commission for Education and Culture. It sponsors young people from all over Europe – especially those with fewer opportunities - to live and volunteer at Embracing the World’s German Center for one year, living and working according to the principles of a sustainable community.
The youth receive a comprehensive learning experience that includes training in permaculture, work with horses, intercultural seminars, and German lessons.
Open to all young people ages 18 to 30, youth volunteers work directly in local communities. The volunteers have a chance to develop new skills, thereby improving their personal, educational, and professional lives.
The learning experience is formally certified by Youthpass, a program of the European Commission that acknowledges informal learning for youth.
AYUDH’s first project in Kenya was the cleanup of a large area of the Maringo District in Nairobi in 2009. Due to the lack of a proper waste management system, parts of the informal settlement were covered in trash that had accumulated for years. Blocked and backed-up drainage systems had become an ideal breeding ground for malaria-infected mosquitoes, posing a deadly threat to the population.
The project was a huge success - not just because it unburdened the environment and improved the living conditions of thousands, but because youth from widely divergent economic backgrounds, whose paths would normally never cross, came together for the cleanup drive. Participants ranged from the financially well-off to those living well below the poverty line; religious backgrounds included Christians, Muslims and Hindus.
The cleanup drive was concluded with a cross-cultural soccer tournament, during which the success and positive spirit of the initiative found yet another joyful expression.
As part of launching an AYUDH branch in her hometown of Nairobi, Sheena introduced permaculture practices to our Children’s Home there, transforming it into a model of sustainability. The cleanup drives she started in Nairobi sparked a wave of similar initiatives by our volunteers all over the world.
Dorian attended his first AYUDH Youth Summit in Germany in 2006. This experience inspired him to become one of AYUDH’s youth leaders in France, managing and implementing projects with youth volunteers across the country.
Getting involved in AYUDH helped Matthias overcome the trauma of losing his vision after a serious car accident. By connecting with Amma and other young people inspired by her example, Matthias rediscovered the self-confidence he needed to become a positive role model and find ways to give back to those in need.