Master Degree in Integrated Systems Design for Sustainability

A campaign by Ana Rita Serralheiro

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Successfully funded on September 30, 2015
A campaign by Ana Rita Serralheiro
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This is me Ana and my wonderful daughter Emi. I have worked as a Water and Sanitation Engineer for Doctors without Borders since 2008. This humanitarian work and spirit has taken me to Nepal, Mozambique, Swaziland, South Sudan and Liberia during the Ebola outbreak in 2014. It was on one of my cycling adventures in Southeast Asia that I discovered the beauty and importance of Permaculture to the present and future generations. I had to fully assume responsibility for my life and take a role to preserve earth being…

Emi was already in my belly by the time I came back from Liberia last year...  when I look into her sparkling eyes for the first time it became clear to me that we have to put our envisioned dream of permaculture into action step by step.

This master degree (http://sites.ecovillage.org/de/article/new-gaia-education-masters-program) is one critical step to fill the post-learning void and start taking action! This knowledge and skills to be gained will act as our spring board to permaculture action.

 Discovering permaculture

I came across the concept of Permaculture for the first time in 2012, while cycling across Thailand and Cambodia. 

By the time I was climbing the Cardamon Mountains, the word permaculture had intersected my path so many times that I could no longer continue without experiencing it; it became evident that the universe was again conspiring to show me another way. The day I left the mountains I had already decided to drop my other plans and follow my heart, back to Thailand.

It was then, at Rak Tamachat farm that I’ve lived, learned and fell in love with Permaculture.

Suddenly the contact with the soil within a community inspired by love and wishing to integrate their life with mother earth for a holistic progression was a way to find my own self and reconnect with where I come from. By cultivating myself through the practice of permaculture I’ve discovered roads in my heart that I’ve never imagine, I’ve found out that wisdom relies on the awareness of where we came from, our ancestors and the resilient love that each of us carry in our hearts.

The void between learning and taking action…

When I return to my job in South Sudan, I gained practical experience of the beauty of living in a cooperative community. I had the chance to bring some of the permaculture knowledge into practice by building evapotranspiration fields of more than 80 banana trees to treat and absorb waste water produced by the hospital.

I was again astonished by the simplicity and efficiency of permaculture techniques.

However the struggle for power that comes with a competitive working environment was soon consuming my energy in such a way that I felt like I was suffocating. I needed to move on… but I felt that there’s was so much inertia to move on during this period between experiencing the Introduction to Permaculture course and fully living permaculture; somehow I felt lost in this void between learning and taking action…

The catalyser…

It was the day that I looked into Emi’s eyes for the first time that i deeply interiorised my decision to move on... Me and my soul mate we want to give her the right to breathe fresh air, to grow in a community that respects her individuality and gives her the chance and means to find her own truth and self. I’m now taking that step towards living and working permaculture. I want to bring the message and this knowledge into my community by putting knowledge into action...

Gaia Master Degree on Integrated Systems Design for Sustainability … My spring board to action!

I’ve discovered the tool to move on …the master degree in Integrated Systems Design promoted by Gaia University and UOC is intended to “serve the purpose of educating for the transition to comprehensive sustainable culture”… it couldn’t sound any better!

source: http://sites.ecovillage.org/de/article/new-gaia-education-masters-program

This is a two year Spanish programme, offered in collaboration with the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) covering:

  • Ecosystems and Social Dynamics

  • Sustainable Economics and Systemic Thinking

  • Permaculture Design

  • Organizations as Ecosystems: Complexity and Bio-mimicry

  • Urban Ecosystems Design

  • Rural and Indigenous Communities: Inspiration and Adaptation.

The main goal of the program is to train and strengthen the design skills of all types of design professionals, including educators, architects, engineers, environmental managers, etc. so that they may develop their careers within the framework of a culture favouring the development of sustainable habitats, communities and organizations.

What we envision…

This master will support us with the knowledge to move into phase II and develop an educative & demonstrative permaculture centre with a special emphasis on community education. We want to bring in schools as well as go out for permaculture blitz in residences and spaces in our community. We will work with the local governments to develop codes and incentives for grey water reuse, a component that we are especially passionate about. More details will come with Phase II!!

Thank you for reading our story, understanding where our path is taking us and donating whatever is in your possibilities. We have  until the 1st of October to reach the goal...We truly appreciate your support, it is essential to further develop our idea and start this life project …For those of you that can support me I will offer a piece of handmade jewellery made in macramé and with stones according to your preference (bracelet, anklet, necklace)!