WE ARE NATURE
Nature is part of human essence, and it ensures communication between people, cultures, and societies and integrates them. A child is nature expressed in its deepest form. Astera's purpose is to share nature’s importance for early childhood, as well as to recover the inner child for all of society. Carrying out something very simple and doable, namely, a picnic event, Astera assimilates communities. The picnic is a space that generates transformation in a community by occupying and optimizing nature, and connecting absolutely separate lives through a process that ensures and keeps nature present at all times.
Astera’s idea is to create a network that can unify and maximize the potential of this social tool, using appropriate forces and structures to bring Nature, Infancy, and Community to the center of any political and social debate. Astera started with the objective of connecting, nurturing, and sharing people, purposes, and projects, so projects can be autonomous and self-sustaining. It is deeply disturbing to help social projects that promote themselves showing fragile children, refugees, or homeless animals in uncared for places. Sadness and difficulties can be surpassed by giving prominence to personal strengths and forgetting the negative tradeoffs.
Undoubtedly, the main innovation that Astera brings through its PICNIC strategy is the active participation and involvement of children in a process that takes communities from a state of precariousness to sustainability.
Having its methodological basis in the Theory U, Astera's PICNIC idea has already been registered with Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge. Theory U – developed by Otto Scharmer at the Presencing Institute at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA – is a method that leads to profound changes, and a social innovation system based a process that generates systemic transformations individually and collectively, if one is willing and has an open mind and an open heart.
The PICNIC Strategy
PICNIC strategy requires a specific place and appropriate atmosphere to enhance a new possibility of coexistence in harmony with nature.
Respect for traditions and cultures of the chosen envIronment naturally ensures fluid communication between the parties involved. The emphasis given to the child as protagonist generates empathy with people to reconnect with their childhood, its natural and organic essence. It allows the child to locate, play, expand and explore its potentialities.
PICNIC environment is the sensorial level ambient of the project. It reflects an invitation to bond with nature.
The right choice of the environment will allow the guests feel that they are part of it and welcome. The correct place ideally allows participants to strengthen the ties between members of community.
Nature respects traditions passed down through generations and makes the moment working in a perfect and systemic way.
Material resources and food
The materials chosen to be a part of the PICNIC strategy are of social responsibility. They reflect the identity of other social projects already linked to the network such as: women empowerment, elderly, mothers, homeless people, inmates, among other
The food follows the same quality standards as the materials. Food means nutrition; Astera take care that this is as healthiest as possible, bringing emphasis to their organic nature. Programs with vegetable gardens, agroforestry, permaculture, healthy cooking, food awareness and others, are part of this vast menu of options.
"I was very excited about PICNIC, because it brings the possibility of addressing values hrough a transdisciplinary perspective and engaging people in social issues actively and responsibly."
Professor Maria Inês Moron Pannunzio
"Astera organized a picnic at my house for the social inclusion of a Syrian refugee family in Brazil. The event featured details of Islamic culture which are very different from young Brazilians values! The picnic provided a unique atmosphere for a relaxed gathering and knowledge exchange!”
Stephanie Habrich - Executive Director of the Brazilian publishing company “Magia de Ler”
"Here in Brazil, in the state of Ceará, PICNIC helped integrate and create disclosure among the segments of the RAÍZES (ROOTS) project. May PICNICs be an exchange of what is good! I am grateful for the chance to participate!"
Claudia Lavor – Juazeiro do Norte, Ceará – Brazil
“PICNIC reminds us of several rituals that are forgotten these days: sitting on the floor with everyone on the same level; having a community meal where each one contributes with what he/she can; the coming together of different people; the practice of listening and having empathy among people. In sum, Theory U lived simply and in its purest form! I loved it!”
"Adeep, collective immersion in the essence of forgotten experiences. It felt as if we were taking the ingredients of who we have become from the picnic basket! I am grateful for the invitation and for everyone’s generosity!"
Cibele Barros - Director of“Tecido Social”
"Choosing a path to strengthen actions that benefit children is not an easy task. Astera came to unite people who already engaged, but especially to bring a sense of belonging to a future that is near... We do not have time for other generations, we must act now. Astera was open, focused, discovered people and empowered all... it is a joy and a privilege to participate in this process and see PICNIC grow.”
Dr. Vera Melis Paollilo – Educator
"A visible transformation that unites people who are distant from themselves and from each other. A place where there can be cooperation, and where we can increasingly look at each other from inside out. That people feel like themselves again. It’s transformation in the shape of love and conduct.”
Regina Tchelly – Favela Orgânica