Sophie Edwards

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what are your gifts and talents?:

Positive, energetic, calm, relaxed, inquisitive, motivated

why do you want to join abcd in action?:

Everything. How can we support each other, keep questioning, do better work.

Re-imagining Community Development & Education through a Permanent Culture Lens - a journey in India

Re-imagining Community Development & Education through a Permanent Culture Lens - a journey in India

Saturday December 2 2017, 5:00 PM
@ Udaipur - India

CERES Global, the international outreach program of CERES Community Environment Park in East Brunswick, Melbourne are collaborating with partners in India to organise an educational and self exploratory journey through some of the most beautiful and iconic parts of the subcontinent with a special focus on re-imagining the dialogue around sustainable community development and education through a permanent culture lens.  

Immersed in the vibrant culture and traditions of India, we will explore gift culture, reviving traditions and the localisation movement. We will share conversation and wisdom with Khoji’s (truth seekers) and learn how education, community development and agricultural practices are being done differently.

The intention is to challenge ourselves to think about things differently, to engage new thought processes, inspire new ideas and motivate us to bring better and more conscious practices into our lives, our work, our neighbourhoods and the world in which we live.

Cost for ABCD members and community: $1450

Cost for general public: $1650

Dates: 2nd - 12th December. 


Hyderabad: IPC (Optional) 2nd December
This trip has the option of departing from the  International Permaculture Convergence in Hyderabad on the 2nd of  December. From there we will catch an overnight sleeper train to Mumbai arriving in the early morning of the 3rd. For those not attending the convergence you are welcome to meet us in Mumbai instead and save the extra travel time. All arrangements to attend the convergence must be made individually. For more information visit:

Mumbai: Dharavi Slums 3rd December
We will stop briefly in Mumbai on our way from Hyderabad to Udaipur giving us the opportunity to visit and explore Dharavi, one of the largest slums in Asia and home to 1 million inhabitants. Although incredibly poor, Dharavi is also an amazingly industrious and vibrant place, sometimes called the beating heart of Mumbai. The visit will offer a unique glimpse into the chaotic beauty, and nuances, as well as the challenges and struggles of informal and unplanned spaces and life in the slums.

From Mumbai we will catch another overnight sleeper train to Udaipur.

Udaipur Rajasthan: Shikshanter 4th – 12th December

All education is, on the one side a search for the truth, on the other a pursuit of social betterment. – Radhakrishnan

For the final stage of the trip we will head to the magical “white city” of Udaipur in the desert state of Rajasthan.  Here we visit and work with the inspiring organisation Shikshantar. Also known as the institute of unlearning, Shikshantar is a life movement and was founded to challenge the culture of schooling and institutions of thought-control. They believe that it is necessary to engage communities in regenerative modes of lifelong societal learning which grow from a larger understanding of and respect for human potential and dignity, dynamic learning processes and relationships, pluralistic identities, traditional knowledge systems, cultural contexts, the human spirit and connection to the web of life.

They have many projects that they work on in their local region all of which we will have the opportunity to explore.

Our activities with them will include:

  • 2 day village visit to learn about the ancient food and farming traditions. This will involve spending one night out in the village where our group can work in the farm with farmers and learn about the local seed trail. Whilst there we will also visit the tribal forest community to understand relations between forest dwellers and forest.
  • Meet Swaraj University youth learners at Tapovan Ashram. Learn about natural farming and naturopathy.
  • Illegal mining and local economy village visit.
  • Wisdom Walk (to explore traditional knowledge) in the old city of Udaipur.
  • Visit to the local dump site and engagements with the community who live and make a living off there.
  • Up-cycling Waste Workshops, Herbal Soap Making Workshop and Slow Food Cooking Workshops @ Shikshantar and EcoHut
  • Visit to different organizations around Udaipur working on solutions (traditional water, traditional healers, gift culture projects, organic food).
  • Visit to local artisans and traditional communities (potter, bamboo, miniature painter, broom maker, etc.).
  • Dinner at family homes.

Depending on the skills of those who come with us, we have also been asked by Shikshantar if we can undertake a 2 day permablitz of their garden, aligning with CERES Global principles, bringing in an element of mutual exchange.

The trip will end in Udaipur on the 12th of December

Where to from here

To book a place please fill in the online trip application form before the 1st of September. Once that is filled in we will then go ahead and raise a $300 deposit to confirm your place. 

Payment plans are also available if you need - don't let the price get in your way of this truly wonderful experience. 


Further information

Below are links to further information and how we, Ceres Global operate.

Quotes from past participants in India

I feel very privileged and blessed to have had the opportunity to participate in the CERES Global tour. The best thing is knowing that you are travelling with facilitators and other people who also care deeply about environmental and social issues/ sustainability, and that the program is focused on learning exchange rather than destination tourism. Sophie and Maddi (the facilitators) managed to strike a beautiful balance between being ‘present’ and contributing to the group’s learnings as opposed to being ‘tour guides… I am still reflecting on my experiences and learnings and their ongoing influences on my thinking and practice.  I know my learnings have been deep and enduring… Go with an open heart and mind and both will be filled to an extent far greater than you ever could have anticipated. (Deb, India Trip Jan 2017).

The 10 days moved me, I had to sit in spaces that felt uncomfortable, I realised that my frame of reference was very Western and the power imbalance in the way I work with community was apparent. I experienced the joy of being vulnerable, the importance of sharing and starting with the strengths in any situation, how essential it is to change my language and question my motivation and intentions and most of all it confirmed that I will always be inspired by community and it is a place that I want to be….. I consider this as a gift given to me and I will share it in many different ways to be able to keep the spirit of what was given to me alive. (Nalika Peiris, Unit Manager Community Development and Social Policy at Moreland City Council and India Trip Jan 2017 traveller)

An outstanding journey (Chris, India Trip Jan 2017).

Our travels with Ceres have been amazing, thank you for all your support, help, and especially your quiet, gentle presence through all our adventures. (Toni, India Trip Jan 2017).

The best thing about travelling with CERES is being with people, who although different, all had a certain unity of purpose. I like working within a framework of things to do and CERES created that for me and facilitated it lovingly (Terry, India Trip  Jan 2017)


tilahun fekadu
10/27/17 11:19:40AM @tilahun-fekadu:


My name is tilahun fekadu from Ethiopia. I love to attend this program. I have the information but if you can, can you attach it in soft copy. for us who can't attend it.