How Restorative Auroville came to be…

Somewhere in 2008-09, L'aura heard about Dominic Barter's work from a traveling friend.

Given her background in Nonviolent Communication and having grown up and lived most of her life in community in Auroville, she was inspired to learn more about Restorative Circles and its application in developing community-based justice systems. Along with then-Aurovilian Jason Stewart, L'aura traveled to USA to attend an intensive training with Dominic Barter in October 2010, and they both came back on fire, convinced that Auroville would be an ideal place to experiment with this work.

 

Immediately after their return, L'aura and Jason started offering weekly gatherings, and together with other Aurovilians, they explored what Restorative Circles could look like in Auroville, both as a practice and as a larger approach to engaging with systemic change.

This exploration continued, on and off, for almost 5 years, and as a group they also experimented with a few small live Circles amongst themselves and their networks. And at several instances, the question emerged about how to expand their reach and to engage with the larger Auroville community. However, at the time, for some reason or the other, no brave enough steps were made towards a sustained engagement at the collective level.

The Birthing…

In September 2015, after a several-month lull in their RC exploration, L’aura happened to be reading the Auroville News & Notes when she chanced upon an announcement from the Project Coordination Group (PCG) for grant proposal submissions, to be funded by Stichting de Zaaier (SDZ). L’aura somehow knew that it was time to take the leap. She met with Janet and Shanti and suggested that they start up their RC work again, but only this time with a bang and to go all out. They entered into an intense and creative process over the next few days, dreaming up what this project could look like in its furthest reaches.

What followed was a beautiful birthing process, where the project took on a life of its own and revealed more and more of itself day after day and draft after draft. And L’aura, Janet and Shanti were so excited that they decided to launch the project whether or not they’d receive funding – which, of course, they did receive!*

* This funding was for L’aura’s “Auroville Maintenance” (honorary volunteer stipend), Rs.15,000/month for 1 year (2016). Janet and Shanti, along with others who joined the team and supported the project along the way, have offered all their time and love for free. Beyond that financial support in 2016, this project has been running without a budget, amazingly. What Grace!

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