Danyadara visit Sotogrande International School


Recently, Danyadara, a permaculture project team, visited Sotogrande International School. Their main goal is to reverse desertification and regenerate agricultural land. They also try to create jobs, inspire others in the local area and support and create projects in order to leave a legacy. The collaboration between SIS permaculture and Danyadara is enabling students to study permaculture hands on!

Apart from working on land recovery Danyadara also works on water harvesting, a forest-agricultural mosaic, and have their own sustainable garden. Danyadara is located in San Pedro, a village in the province of Cadiz, Spain. They are associated with a yoga centre, Suryalila Retreat Center, an old diary and olive farm that thrived in the past century, where they accommodate most of their permaculture students. All of the vegetables that they consume are grown in their sustainable garden. One of their most recent and ongoing projects is building an environmentally friendly house out of an old swimming pool.


Sotogrande International School

At 9 am, after registration, we all made our way to the cantina, where we were welcomed by Mr David Green, our Individual & Societies teacher. In the cantina, Jacob and John, from Danyadara, gave students a presentation about sustainable farming. Our students learnt what can happen to the soil when it is not maintained ecologically, and also gained a deeper understanding of what jobs exist in the world of sustainable farming.

After the presentation, students were split into groups. Each group had a different goal or activity. The activities were; planting trees and building vegetable beds for the school permaculture project, working with a professional artist to design artwork for the school permaculture project, working with an architect to build pallet furniture, and cooking outdoors. Each activity was supervised by a student of the Danyadara project.

According to our music teacher Mr Kerry Wickersham “ This sort of activity should happen not once a term but at least once a month”. Mr Wickersham is a strong advocate of sustainable farming and green lifestyles. He absolutely supports the Danyadara project and believes that it is a wonderful idea. One of the team members, Josephine, who was creating a bug hotel, said she enjoyed this a lot because it was an opportunity to connect with other people and with the environment around her. Africa Harrington, M5 student, who was helping with the mural painting, explained to us that on the mural each letter of SOTOGRANDE represented something unique to do with permacultures, such as snakes, flowers and trees.

Small acts can help to save the planet

Our M5 students enjoyed this permaculture day greatly, I think they also came away from this experience with reinforced knowledge about permaculture and environmental sustainability. They also learned how we can all participate in the race against the clock to overcome climate change. All of our students were submerged in a purifying, communal atmosphere and participated in a small act to save the planet. Every single one of our M5 students experienced something that will help to shape a new set of values. We hope that this experience will let them understand that this battle against global warming is one for everyone to take part in.  

David Green

Student Reflections

“Global warming is a huge issue, and there are lots of changes we can all make within our day to day lifestyles”

“Learning other people’s perspective on life is amazing, how simple life can be when you want it to be, how creative you can be with anything you want, how you control life, and life doesn’t control you.”

“The more that technology advances the less human we become… in our society nowadays we are so fixated on work, school, house etc… we have forgotten that Earth is our home, and we don’t have another planet to go to tomorrow. Earth is a vital importance for our humanity as it gives us a place to survive, to thrive and develop for the good and not for the bad. Earth is also a pretty unique place in the universe that has great biodiversity both in plants and animals. That value can hardly be measured!”

“I really enjoyed it and it really allowed me to get to talk to people I would never normally talk to and get to know that there actually are people who make a difference.”

Dylan, Elmar, Daniil, Nikolay, Alisa, Marius, M5 Students     

More details of the inspiring work of the Danyadara project can be found at www.danyadara.com and the Suryalila retreat centre www.suryalila.com

If you would like to be involved in making the Sotogrande permaculture project a reality then please contact David Green at dgreen@sis.gl.

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