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Gaia Jovem Serrano is a sustainability educational program for young people from the rural area of Nova Friburgo, RJ, Brazil.

Through cooperative games, project design, greenbuilding and artistic activities, it stimulates personal and collective development. The program aims to contribute on strengthening networks of sustainability and social cooperation in communities impacted by natural disasters.

This first Gaia Jovem Serrano EDE took place in the fall 2015. It was organised around the four dimensions of the EDE curriculum - Social, Economic, Ecological and Worldview, dedicating one month to each. This innovative program incorporated an immersive design module during which the youth revisit the previous four months of study and have additional time to actually put their “hands in the dirt” for the completion of their design projects. They ended their EDE by organising a festival on December 19 to receive family, friends and community for the first Festival Gaia Jovem Serrano. The festival features hands-on activities, live music, good food, and a Gaia Jovem Serrano Bazaar, and all proceeds are used for the youth education programme.

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gaia youth serrano

Their approach to the EDE is to focus each dimension on a concrete question. Thus, the Social Dimension sought to introduce the first module through the question "What is to live in community?" With it, they undertake a look at concepts of community, leadership, and art as social transformation. In the Ecological Dimension they asked, “If not just about making gardens, what is this course about?” This led them to explore climate change, food production, ecosystem restoration, energy generation, and other topics of systems ecology. The Economic Dimension asked “What is my wealth?” which led to learning about right livelihood, local economies, alternative currencies, and social enterprise. And in the Worldview Dimension the question asked was “What world do I see when I close my eyes?” and this generated discussions on transformation of consciousness and other ways of seeing and interpreting their world.

The group was made up of 28 youth from 13 to 22 years old, who came from the cities of Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Juiz de Fora. This is the second Gaia Youth group to get started in Brazil.

Make sure you visit their Facebook page for more imagery of the lively programme!