The world of Damanhur youth: living on our own

Jan 21, 14 The world of Damanhur youth: living on our own

astronave_popolo_live_community copyTUESDAY . LIVE COMMUNITY

When you were 16 years old, did you wish you could live on your own, be your own leader, independent and free, living in a community of other youth with no adults around? Sound like a teenage fantasy?

Well in Damanhur, we have a youth community house where young people from 16 to 23 years old – mostly those who were born and raised in Damanhur – have their own community house called ‘Casa Ragazzi’ within the larger umbrella of Damanhur, federation of communities. Their parents are still present in their lives, living in nearby nucleo communities, though the youth have their own elected leaders and house meetings and they take care of the daily organization of the house. They also manage their own study time, creative time, music and play and also have a project of exchanges with youth of other world communities.

Does it seem like a lot of autonomy and responsibility for a high school student? Well, the youth at Damanhur are special, having grown up in the atmosphere of community life, seeing and feeling it every day: spiritual ideals, complexity of organization and leadership, projects and deadlines, hands-on experience in gardening, building, fixing, contacting a wide diversity of extended ‘family’ members, guests and international languages, an atmosphere of constant stimulation. So, they can handle it and they love it.

Here are words from Setna, one of the house leaders of Casa Ragazzi:

youth of Damanhur togetherCasa Ragazzi is a project for young Damanhurians to have an experience of community life with our peers. We have a house which we are responsible for managing autonomously. We are independent in all the aspects of daily life such as doing the grocery and household shopping, taking care of cleaning the house and managing the house budget.

The project began in 2006 when a group of Damanhur youth asked for a space to have experiences together, and when the community offered us a meeting space, we asked to create a new nucleo community. A few days later, after we refurbished and repainted the rooms of a new nucleo community house: Casa Ragazzi was born! Now, there are 14 members of Casa Ragazzi, 5 of whom live in Turin where they attend university and who come to the community house here in Damanhur on weekends and school breaks.

The group establishes its own rules and elects youth members to fill the roles that are necessary for community life, including a ‘caponucleo’ (a head of the nucleo), who participates in the weekly meeting with all the other ‘caponucleo’ of the Damanhur communities. Youth who are at least 16 years old may request to participate in the project, but in order to stay at Casa Ragazzi, they must guarantee good scholastic results and follow theSustainable Technology or Art, which is more important for a new society? rules that were established by the founders of the youth house: no smoking or drug use.

Our main objective with this project is to maintain a space where youth can learn to live together independently from their parents and be actively involved with each other as a part of a group. Over time, Casa Ragazzi has demonstrated itself to be very formative experience. We have shown our ability to manage the group and the house, learning to organize ourselves in daily life, and most of all, we’ve learned how to collaborate, overcoming our limitations and fears and helping each other and ourselves to grow.

~ Setna

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If you lived on your own as a youth, what would you want to do?

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1 Comment

  1. I felt like I was ready to live on my own when I was about 15 years old. I would have loved to have a space to be creative with other people my age and dream of a new world together.