Art for Change
AYUDH is committed to nurturing the creative potential among youth with a passion for making work that addresses pressing social issues and changes the ways in which we perceive the world. Members are encouraged to explore their talent 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.
Collective initiatives are often undertaken at our annual European Youth Summits including ‘Reaching New Heights’ – an award-winning musical composed, produced, and performed by AYUDH volunteers which was awarded the “Best Practice” Project in the Youth Field by the European Commission in 2011, and ‘OdenWorld’- a multicultural festival combining young talent with local artists from Odenwald, attended by 600 people from the surrounding towns and across Europe.
The global problem of accumulation and disposal of waste has reached worrying proportions. Exacerbated by more than 7 billion people ever-rapidly consuming and disposing of ‘stuff’ and the subsequent increase in waste, we continue to use more natural resources and increase pollution in our world. The World Bank estimates that by 2025, human beings will collectively produce more than 2.2 billion metric tons of solid waste per year.
Recognizing the need to address this looming crisis, AYUDH groups around the world regularly host cleanups within their cities, towns, parks, beaches, and urban and rural communities. From Naples in Italy to Nairobi in Kenya, from Berlin in Germany to Black Wattle Bay in Australia, AYUDH youth have tackled the problem of waste hands-on. With the aim of motivating local people to care for the environment in which they live, AYUDH members roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty in an attempt to raise public awareness about the need to maintain clean surroundings and to demonstrate that, as future generations, it is our duty to restore and protect our environment.
“Plant trees. It is a blessing to do so. Trees outlive us and provide fruit and shade to coming generations. Together, we can restore Nature’s beauty to the face of the world.” – Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi).
Taking Amma’s message to heart, AYUDH youth risen to the challenge of reforesting rural areas and greening urban spaces through the introduction and planting of native trees across Europe.
In Belgium, AYUDH youth planted a new wood at Knesselare. They also launched a pioneering initiative to plant between 800 and 1000 native English trees over a three-year period on the edge of Dartmoor, a National Park in Devon County, South West England. In France, AYUDH youth teamed up with Green Friends France to plant 100 trees over two days in the garden of Embracing the World’s headquarters. AYUDH’s founding partner Embracing the World is a member of the United Nations Billion Tree Campaign, which has organized the planting of more than a million trees globally since 2001.
BABEL – Walk-in Beehive
Few of us realize the importance of bees in our lives and for the health of our ecosystems. Honeybees perform about 80 percent of all pollination worldwide. Seventy out of the top 100 human food crops, which supply about 90 percent of the world’s nutrition, rely on pollination by bees. Across the world, bee colonies are collapsing at an alarming rate — accelerated by rampant use of pesticides, unsustainable agricultural practices and habitat loss.
To begin to counter and educate people about this urgent situation, 60 AYUDH volunteers built a walk-in beehive over a period of two years in Pontgouin, France. This eco-friendly building is made of clay, wood and straw, with a green roof. Hives inhabited by bee swarms have been inserted into the walls. Through a glass system with micro-filtration, one is able to see, smell, and hear the bees from inside the house. The immersive educational 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 this fascinating species.