Om Sunisa Jamwiset
On the 9th of November 1979, I was born in a small rural village in Thailand. From an early age I was interested in Community Development. This is why I studied Community Development at the Faculty of Humanity and Social Sciences of Konkaen University and received my Bachelor degree there. My parents are rice farmers & worked for 20 years in construction to support my education and my brothers education.
After graduating I worked for one year for a community research project in Thailand. Although I enjoyed learning more about community, I also wished to learn more about myself and what life really meant. Therefore I quit the job and went traveling.
After traveling for a while I ended up living, learning and working at Wongsanit Ashram, a Socially Engaged Buddhist community founded by Sulak Sivalaksa, a well-known Buddhist activist in Thailand. It was here, for the first time I learned the terms ‘inner world’, ‘outer world’ and the relationship between the two. It was here at Wonsanit Ashram, for 8 years, that I got incredible support to explore both the inner and the outer world. Here I was intensively trained in socially engaged Buddhism, participatory teaching and facilitation skills. I was trained in Ecovillage Design Education (EDE by Gaia Education) and was introduced to Deep Ecology; a concept that deeply resonates with my whole being.
In 2007, I got involved with the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) as a NextGEN representative of Asia (NextGEN is next generation of Global Ecovillage Network) and currently I am still actively involved with GEN & NextGEN in Asia.
For me it is very important to give special attention to the next generation and I am inspired to work with children & youth. In my own childhood I spent a lot of time in nature and this created a strong connection with nature and became the foundation of life for me. For this reason I started Gaia School Asia in 2012, a voluntary organization with my partner, Tom Deiters, who shares the same dreams and reality. Gaia School Asia intends to work with children, schools, teachers and parents to support children to play and learn with nature.
We also created Gaia Ashram in 2013, a place where we live and learn to live in a ‘Community of All Beings’. Gaia Ashram is a learning center for Ecovillage Design Education, Permaculture & Deep Ecology and also acts as a youth volunteer hub.
Gaia School Asia and Gaia Ashram are based at Ban Suai Long, Nongkhai province, Thailand, where I was born and raised for 18 years.