Established in 2002, RVA is a registered non-profit research and training institution situated in the Chateaubelair area of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). Since opening, students from this country and from around the world have participated in courses centered on poverty reduction, environmental conservation and climate change awareness.
The Academy’s programs give students the opportunity to directly influence positive change on the environment and in communities.
As a consequence of its actions, RVA has been the catalyst that motivates and mobilises - both students and local community members - to build resilience into their lives; whilst simultaneously developing themselves personally, academically and socially.
Since 2007, the school is honored to have hosted in excess of 500 local and international students that have been divided in work and study teams. Students have participated in research activities and completed a variety of climate change adaptation projects while working with the residents of St. Vincent. It is fair to say that without the dedication, courage and ambition of these people, the Academy would not be as far along as it is.
Believing that everyone should be given the opportunity to participate, irrespective of their circumstances, the programs works with a diverse range of stakeholders ranging across cultural, social and economic boundaries. Participating members include local community and family members, international volunteers, community organisations, institutions as well as government bodies.
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Teachers and Students of The Richmond Vale Academy
How Richmond Vale Academy was started
The Academy' buildings were constructed in the 80’s as a Vocational School for Vincentians and an experimental school for Danish youth with special needs. From the mid 80’s the school activities ceased and the farm was developed. In the beginning of 2000 first attempts to re-start the Academy was done, and the Academy has been in full operation since 2007. In 2012, the Academy partnered with One World University to offer students the possibility to take a university certificate.
How it all started creating Another Kind of School
In the 1970’s a group of 8 teachers and a handful of students from Denmark set out to learn about the greater world through personal exploration which started a movement called The Traveling Folk High School for decades to come. Every mode of transportation was tried – driving old busses across Europe, Asia and India; sailing around Europe, hiking across South America, riding motorbikes around the United States even maneuvering dog sledges across the ice-covered plains of Greenland.
Long before the days of the internet, this group of pioneers sent thousands of students to over 140 countries to learn about the conditions of the world, experience other cultures and immerse themselves in learning from deep experience not found in textbooks.
The results were astounding. This unique school (officially started in 1970) not only understood that in a world of many different cultures, beliefs and societies, at the base level, all human beings sought the same things: peace, health, safety, family and opportunity. In short, that all human beings are the same although some were born into extreme poverty.
The global poverty condition, the fact that billions of people were starving, had little access to education, sanitation, health and economic opportunity quickly drove the students and staff to change from a school of understanding the world to changing the world.
They started small: packing warm coats for the cold in Turkey, sending vitamins to children in India and distributing seeds to the rural farmers in Bolivia. Eventually students and staff began to stay for one to two months to offer assistance to the poor. Over the decades the school became one of understanding the conditions of the world that lead to global poverty and creating development and service work to help eradicate this condition world-wide.
Today, schools around the globe train development workers in 6, 9 and 18-month programs to serve the poor in partnership with global development leader "Humana People to People". With over 360 development projects and scores of humanitarian, government and corporate partnerships, this small school became one of the most influential movements on the planet to eradicate poverty.
Richmond Vale Academy is financed by tuition fees, income generation activities like farming, diving and hiking center and donations.