Environmentally Friendly Holiday
By Maëlys Garcia, Coordinator with Djynamo, ATD’s international program for young people.
An eco-friendly holiday
Seventeen young members of ATD Fourth World in France were lucky enough to spend a June weekend at La Bise, ATD’s holiday home for families. There was no go-karting and there were no Playstations or computers in sight. Located in an idyllic setting in the countryside, La Bise is run with nature and the environment in mind. There, people who have never been on holiday get the chance to try out a wide range of activities. This includes fishing, tree pruning, woodwork and walking in the countryside.
Over two days, the 17 young people learned about the environmental initiative led by Linda and Sylvain, members of the ATD Volunteer Corps. Whether picking cherries or simply chatting in the garden, everyone learned that sharing is an important part of looking after the environment. Neighbours and friends of La Bise were happy to lend them a chainsaw when needed. Also La Bise’s woodwork studio is open for anyone to use.
Living like one big family
Holidays at La Bise are, Linda explains, “forward thinking and focus on exchange”.
- “The kitchen uses homemade, local, and seasonal products where possible. The chickens eat most of the food scraps and provide eggs. The rabbits enchante the children.”
La Bise is a judgement-free space that fosters freedom, success, and pride. It also gives guests the opportunity to live “like one big family”. It’s a form of communal living in an environment where everyone has a role to play. Guests have the opportunity to get to know themselves better and to reconnect with nature, which is often absent from their daily lives.
A chance to be part of the environmental movement
From donkey riding to outings in a horse-and-cart, sowing seeds and woodwork, young people take part in a wide range of activities, often for the first time. It’s a break for them, because the focus is on interacting rather than on material possessions. Nothing is compulsory and everything is shared. This allows everyone to enjoy the smaller things in life, which are as simple as they are essential. And to experience the beauty of the natural surroundings. Equally important, for those living in severe poverty, La Bise also offers the opportunity to play a key role in an environmental initiative.