What is the YouthPaper?
This first edition mainly provides information about YouthLink, what we are doing and how you can join us. Future editions shall include more voices of youth from the community at large. We thank you for your interest and support!
Who are ‘the youth’ in Auroville?
‘Youth’ is a vague term, sometimes classifying a specific age group of people, or sometimes a spirit. In the Auroville charter, The Mother defines the spirit of youthfulness as, “Auroville will be the place of an unending education, of constant progress, and a youth that never ages.”
This is what we hold at the heart of our work, the spirit of a youth that never ages.
Auroville has been facing difficulties to understand and support the ‘young adult’ population for several decades. These are some of the questions in the air that have been circulating for a long time:
“Who are the youth of Auroville? ”
“What do they do? ”
“What do they aspire for? ”
“How can we get more youth to join? ”
The youth in Auroville are not easy to classify or define. They represent a wide diversity of nationality, cultural backgrounds, interest groups, and cliques; a wide demographic that fluctuates continuously.
Auroville has several statuses defined for its population such as Volunteers, Newcomers, Aurovilians and the Bioregional residents. If and when this framework is helpful, we also observe youth through these categories. There are several hundred youth that pass through Auroville every year who come here to volunteer. Newcomers are those who choose to begin the process of joining the community, and bioregional youth are those who grew up in neighboring villages. Auroville youth are those who were born or brought up by Aurovilian parents. What many of these youth have in common is the need to explore and understand Auroville, and the need for a space to reflect, find their purpose, and eventually perhaps make the conscious choice to commit to The Dream.
Many young adults living in Auroville, or coming here from elsewhere, find it challenging to integrate themselves and settle down. Many do not yet have any inheritance, and have not worked long enough to have accumulated significant savings. Many are still studying, or have graduated and are searching for new experiences.
When coming from a more conventional setting, changing one’s life to move into an intentional community like Auroville brings up many challenges. Building one’s home, covering basics like food and clothing, adjusting culturally, etc. can be challenging. Hence, YouthLink was founded as a platform for young adults to support themselves and to find solutions to problems they have in common.
Auroville already has established educational spaces up to the high school level. Thus, YouthLink chose to focus its scope to those between 18 and 35 years of age, with the flexibility of extending until 40 if they are still struggling. This is the age defined for joining the Core Team. YouthLink, however, works with Mentors beyond that age, sometimes even Adolescents through its projects.
Auroville is a place for experimentation and evolution. YouthLink therefore was supported as a relevant initiative in the context of today’s needs. However, if this platform ceases to play a valuable role in the future, we hope that it will dissolve or evolve to take a new shape according to the needs and realities of the future.