A Federation of spirtual eco-communities open to the world
Preparing body and spirit to welcome a new life
At Damanhur, preparing for the birth of a baby involves preparing the body and spirit to welcome a new soul. Ushering a newborn into the world is a sacred event that is planned for with joy on the part of the parents, as well as the community. For this reason, Damanhurians consciously choose to become parents and, when doing so, they share their decision with others. The welcoming of a baby is prepared for in the best way possible, with many things being considered-from the physical space dedicated for the child to the parents' choice of godparents, who are to be a spiritual, emotional and practical support for the parents and the newborn. This is the meaning of the Damanhur term "programming birth," dedicating thought to the welcoming of a baby and preparing for it with joy.
The arrival of a child is always a celebration that everyone gets involved in.
Pregnancy is seen as a natural event, one of wellness, during which a woman has an extraordinary experience of growth and transformation. From the moment of conception, the growing fetus is sensitive to everything it perceives. To enrich the emotions of the mother and the first experiences of the baby in utero, we use the art of the Temples of Humankind and contact with the plant world through paths in the Sacred Woods. Additionally, all pregnant mothers practice yoga, stretching, singing and dancing, and are taken care of by obstetricians and midwives during their journey of wellness as a pregnant mother.
The father, if he desires to do so, may also join in these dynamics.
In general, when the physical conditions allow for it, home births are chosen. For a woman who is adequately prepared, birth is the culmination of a transformation process to be experienced in an intimate setting. For the baby, being born into a welcoming environment is the best way to come into the world.
After the birth, a welcoming ceremony is held. It is a celebration with music and dance to give a warm welcome to the newborn child.
The child is at the center of the pathway in the school
No civilization, identity or culture can exist without some form of education. The Damanhurian vision of a school places the child at the center of the educational process.
The Damanhur School was founded in 1985 by a group of parents whose vision was to directly guide the education of their children. The Damanhur Education organization created the school to include curriculum that aligns with all the programs of the Italian educational ministry. This government educational institute provides verification and annual final exams for the students.
Children are central in Damanhur's educational vision. Beyond the standard Italian curriculum, there is an abundance of activities that give space for self-expression, from having contact with nature to practical experimentation in many fields, for example, in the arts and ecology.
Children often work together in classes with different ages groups represented. This fosters skills and provides mutual support. Each group has an educator as a reference person who collaborates with all the other teachers.
Students travel together with their teachers, whenever possible, to many historical sites in Italy and in the world, so they gain practical knowledge of what they are learning in school, having a direct experience of what would otherwise remain virtual. They get to know the world in this way and gain experiences in autonomy.
The school is actively involved in environmental awareness and international solidarity campaigns. For example, the students offered support for the construction of a school on Mancarroncito, an island in Nicaragua. They have also been in contact with many Greenpeace activists, visiting the Rainbow Warrior ship while it was docked in Genova, Italy.
A youth community with freedom and responsibilities
In 2007, a group of adolescent Damanhur children created the Milte nucleo community, also called Casa Ragazzi. With participation from youth between the ages of 15 to 23, they took on the experiment of living together without adults, with a sense of responsibility and autonomy. In doing so, they learned about mutual support and personal responsibility. Independent of their parents, they managed all aspects of daily life: shopping, cooking, cleaning, budgeting, and so on.
The Casa Ragazzi community continues on and is a solid success. It is situated in the main area of Damanhur, nearby several other communities. With parental consent for those under the age of 18, it is possible for youth to live at Casa Ragazzi beginning in their second year of high school. Damanhur youth attend the Damanhur School through middle school; at that point, they typically begin enrollment in a public high school. For many reasons, including larger class size and a different educational model, this point in time is a big change for them. To ease with this transition and not make too many changes at once, they can move into the Casa Ragazzi community after they have completed one full year of high school. Of course, if they prefer, the children can continue to live with their parents.
The main house rule at Casa Ragazzi is that, in addition to managing all of the chores and responsibilities, it is essential for each student to maintain a good academic standing in their school. If their performance is insufficient, the youth return to the nucleo community where their parents live; however, the children's generous support for one another makes this occurrence extremely rare.