Alef Trust’s Conscious Community Initiative (CCI) is grateful to have received continued funding to support four new holistic change facilitation projects for 2023-25, led by members of the Alef community. This round of the CCI placed a stronger emphasis on generating research through the implementation of projects that aim to make a difference in the areas of education; health and wellbeing; nature, sustainability and climate change; leadership development; and social justice. Selected projects embrace a transpersonal ethos and follow overarching principles which include exploring expanded ways of knowing, engaging in contemplative, creative, and embodied forms of practice which enable all involved to shift from egoic identification to a more expansive sense of self, tapping embodied intuition and wisdom. An inclusive and participatory approach as well as adherence to high ethical standards also forms the foundation for this research approach.
We are delighted to introduce the following four projects.
The Participatory Media: Images of Change
Manjusha Nair Joseph (India)
This project aims to create awareness in the area of ecology and waste management. It aspires to bring relevance of ecology into daily understanding by working with community and using participatory communication as a process. Generating participatory video and media as a means of enacting the process of inner engagement, the project envisions co-creating frameworks that invite reflective engagement, intimate connections with the topic, new ways of seeing and creative engagement with technology. The study is working with particular focus on waste management issues in the Himalayan region of Bir, India, with Deer Park as the partner organisation in this quest.
Embodied Permaculture: The transformative potential of being-centric ecological systems design
Dan Mc Tiernan, UK/ Finland
The purpose of this project is to support staff and diploma students of the Permaculture Association to practice, share and normalise a culture of generative psycho-spiritual inner work integrated with their outer work as holistic ecological systems designers. Throughout, we will research if opening up our bandwidth of “intelligence” to give equal weight to inner and outer knowing leads to novel emergence and therefore a greater potential for transformative design solutions to the existential crises we face?
A Place for Us
Adi Vickers, India/ Ireland
This is an integral education programme for rurally marginalized young people in Neemka, UP, India (children of the local farm labouring class who are experiencing abject poverty) and Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry, Ireland (local children who are coming from a background of substance abuse, mental illness and economic challenges, as well as newly arrived young Ukrainian refugees who are suffering from trauma, displacement, rural isolation and a lack of integration into their new community).
Tending to the body and soul: Holistic support and development for changemakers, healers and support agents in society
Ayesha Iftikhar, Pakistan
My project aims to develop a programme which attends to the whole-person needs of the striving ‘caretakers and support pillars’ of our societies. There is a call for deeper, more sensitized, attuned , embodied and grounded work, that can fully resource people, establish safety in communities and expand their potential as healers and leaders in society. The project focuses on a holistic programme of nurturing ‘the whole person’, who is meant to be an agent of change, which includes nurturing their imagination, their resilience, their creativity, their sense of connectedness, their body, motivation, competence, autonomy and sense of purpose. The Nurturing the Fields of Change report references a number of themes which are central to my conception of this project, particularly working with archetypal energies that play out in our behavior and relationship with our selves and the world at large, especially cultivating an awareness of blind spots and working through unacknowledged shadow aspects of ourselves, our world views and cultural ecosystems. It also aligns with the emphasis on the importance of generative listening, allowing what is present to emerge fully, and to tap into multiple ways of knowing and exploring, instead of being ruled by a cognicentric approach, thus making room for deep, expansive intuitive, spiritual and embodied approaches.
The seeds of these projects have been deepening their roots over the last few months, and we look forward to sharing updates as the first small leaves start to uncurl.