ELI, in a nutshell
Eurasia Learning Institute for Happiness and Wellbeing (ELI) is a programme of Eurasia Association, a swiss-based, secural and apolitical non-profit organisation. Based on the knowledge, skills and practical experiences gathered by Eurasia; the goal of ELI is to develop holistic and interdisciplinary learning processes and events to foster deep personal and collective transformation leading to Happiness and Wellbeing for all.
ELI: Our story
The commitment of ELI was born in Vietnam with the creation of Eurasia Foundation and Association and the Peaceful Bamboo Family (Tinh Truc Gia – TTG) as training has alway been a central part of Eurasia’s work. The first Eurasia training courses in the field of special education and social therapy started in 1999 and ever since we have organized training courses every year, sometimes several times a year mainly in Hue.
For some time the main subject of Eurasia training courses has been special education, but over time, we have expanded our subjects to ecology, biodynamic farming, team building, training of trainers and mindfulness and ethics, social and emotional learning. You explore past trainings here
Over the years, many highly experienced and qualified trainers from Vietnam and all over the world joined the Eurasia continuous trainings and we have established partnerships with various training institutes, organisations and Universities.
In 2015 we created more formally, Eurasia Learning Institute – ELI, in order to share Eurasia’s practical experience and training courses more widely, not just in Vietnam but also internationally.
GNH has become an integrating part of ELI’s DNA as Dr Tho Ha Vinh held the position of Programs Director at the GNH Centre Bhutan, exploring the potential applications of GNH in society. Since then, ELI has sought to develop an expertise in the implementation of the GNH principles into community, business, cities and to advocate in the direction of the general public.
EURASIA FOUNDATION AND ASSOCIATION: OUR STORY
The commitment of Eurasia in Vietnam has a long story.
Tho Ha Vinh, the founder of Eurasia, is of Vietnamese origin on his father’s side. He and his wife Lisi lived for twelve years with seven youngsters living with various mental disabilities in a Camphill community, named “Fondation Perceval” in St Prex, Switzerland. For many years, Tho was the director of a Special Education Training in this Camphill. When Vietnam reopened its borders after the war in 1982, Tho took the opportunity to return to the homeland of his father. He was deeply touched by the suffering of the people, and the wounds of war which were still visible everywhere. The life of people living with mental disabilities and their families was very difficult. Many other groups at the margins of society were suffering and it was evident that there was an immense need in the country.
Eurasia started its engagement by helping those who took care of people living with disabilities. Initially, Eurasia offered support by providing for the most basic needs: building a kitchen, buying beds, a washing machine, finding sponsors for food, in order that these people on the margins of society could live their lives in dignity. Very soon it became clear that there was also a need to create adequate education and work opportunities for people living with disabilities and also to train those people supporting them. This became the central work of Eurasia in the following years.
The first Eurasia training courses were given in 1998, in Phu My, a big orphanage in Saigon. Seven vietnamese students were sponsored to complete a full four year Special Education Training in Switzerland. They all returned to Vietnam and four of them have been working for Eurasia since. Eurasia has organized many training courses in Vietnam and a one year course in Special Education at Hue University.
Since 1999, Eurasia built seven schools and created special classes in Hue. With our various partners we have also built and sponsored vocational training centers and a home for elderly ladies, widowed during the war.
In 2018 Eurasia celebrated 20 years of work in Vietnam. We can say that Eurasia works along three axes: Care for self, care for the other and care for nature. We now have three entities working closely together. Eurasia is the name of the Association and Foundation. It is a network of people with the same values who work together to develop ideas and find funds for the different projects. Tinh Truc Gia, or The Peaceful Bamboo Family, often referred to as “TTG” is a vibrant living and working community for people living with special needs in Vietnam. It is also the embodiment of our values. Eurasia Learning Institute (ELI) is the part of Eurasia which organises training courses. Our tasks have evolved over the years towards a wider ecological awareness and developing social entrepreneurship in order to make the life and work with/for people living with disabilities sustainable.
It is thanks to our very dynamic Vietnamese and European team, our many partners, in Vietnam and abroad, the members and friends of Eurasia Association and the members of the Eurasia Foundation that the work of Eurasia flourishes and grows joyfully.
ELI contributes to the development of Eurasia and its humanitarian/ecological projects
We started ELI to train our Eurasia staff especially in Vietnam; very soon our learning programs reached far beyond the Peaceful Bamboo Family and hundreds of educators, and social workers joined regular programs over many years.
More recently, we developed learning events and programs that went beyond the specific fields of special education and social therapy to encompass Biodynamic farming, Gross National Happiness, bringing Happiness and wellbeing in organizations, Happy Schools, and we partner with Universities to create year-long programs on Inner Transformation leading to Social Innovation.
When we first began, all our programs were offered for free and we had to fundraise to organize the courses.
More recently, we have started establishing income generating programs for instance by creating programs for corporations.
One of our aims is also to gradually enable our trainers and facilitators to earn a “Right Livelihood” that allows them to fully focus their time and energy for the development of ELI.
10% of all the income generated by ELI programs is always given to Eurasia as a contribution to help fund the educational, humanitarian and ecological programs that need financial support.