We are happy to welcome you to join one of our programs throughout the year.
Richmond Vale Academy is a small non profit in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Most of the teachers have been in St. Vincent for many years and most have been trained in Africa at rural area projects in Zambia, Mozambique, South African and Angola.
Our experience with inviting students to become climate activists and volunteers to fight poverty in Latin America have been very positive with a few exceptions. People from all over the world come together at RVA and create a dynamic community atmosphere. Living together and sharing brings us in harmony with nature and with ourselves. We are a close-knit community that shares the daily tasks necessary to the success of the Richmond Vale Academy model farm and nearby projects. As RVA is a model farm, school and eco tourism site we are at the heart of the community with more than 1000 visitors a year.
The shortest program is 1 month and the longest is 10 months. It is also possible to stay a few days as an eco tourist as well. It is recommended to take a long program of 6-10 months in order to enhance your experience and truly understand what sustainable and collective living is about.
Health and Safety
Health and safety can be a concern for those unfamiliar with St. Vincent.
Staying safe in St. Vincent requires your maturity and self-discipline. Based on our knowledge of the local environment and our experience, we have developed a series of guidelines that will help to increase your safety and health. These include restrictions of traveling alone at night and other simple but effective tools that will help you stay safe and healthy, like taking immediate care of cuts and wounds and drinking plenty of water, etc.
If you or your family members still have any questions about safety and life in Chateaubelair, tell us and we will do our best to address them and provide further information.
Our communities are in the Northern poorer part of the island covering around 50 000 people. There are a small government hospitals and clinics close to the academy and project areas – 30 min walk or 20 min car ride. If there are serious medical emergencies we can get to the main hospital in Kingstown.
The RVA Way of Life
We practice an eco-friendly way of life including growing a big part of our food organically, solar energy, using mostly biodegradable cleaning products, water harvesting, biogas and we aim to be a zero waste community.
The communities where we work have several challenges in terms of domestic abuse, alcohol, drug abuse and unemployment.
Participants should not take drugs, or drink alcohol, inside or outside of the Academy during their entire stay! This includes Chateaubelair, Fitz Hughes, Fancy, and any other place you will visit during your stay. This guideline helps us stay fully aware of our behavior, focused on the program and maintains our personal health, safety, and security. Only come to Richmond Vale Academy if you are 100% sure that you are able and willing to completely respect this!
Participants who do not respect this guideline dis-enroll themselves from the program and are asked to leave.
We encourage a spirit of collaboration in work and play here we work in core groups of 5-10 members and the groups meet weekly with every one at the school for the common meeting which governs the school.
The headmaster leads the school, the common meeting governs and we all run the school together. Here we practice democracy and learn to lead, plan, organize, speak up, listen and take responsibly for carrying out the program together.
We are Another kind of school – a school where the focus in on (1) learning your profession, whether that is climate activism or fighting poverty and (2) building collective abilities. To make bigger changes in the world, the skill of being able to work together with all kinds of people is crucial. Having collective abilities builds you capacity to be part of a group and often discover the realization that it is together we can change the world. Alone you are often lost and the world an unsustainable consumerist agenda will you change you into following that destructive path. So definitely – joining Richmond Vale Academy is a together thing – a collective – built by the importance of each single participating singularity.
What we eat
RVA is on the move towards a 100% self sustaining community (Food, Water and Energy). It is a big challenge to be self sufficient with organic food. It demands many hands in the soil every day, in the rain, in the sun and in the wind. We produce a big amount of all our greens and all our fruits in the forest garden and the many fruit trees planted around the campus.
We are not a vegan community, we eat meat from our own pigs, sheep, chicken and to produce our own dairy we are planning to have a few cows from 2020 and start a small dairy production of milk, yoghurt and cheese. The animals are an important part of our organic farm and serve an invaluable part of the ecosystem to control pests, eat kitchen waste, mow the lawn and return loads and loads of beautiful manure to the organic gardens.
Most staples we buy from our neighbors and we try to reduce the amount of imported proteins made with chemicals in form of beans, lentils and peas and grow more of them and also increase the proteins we get from animals.
By the end of 2019 we will eat 2-3 pigs and sheep per month.
Coffee is an imported item and is only served in the morning. The teas are growing in the garden. Everyone takes turns organizing, growing food, harvesting, cooking meals, and washing the dishes.
Welcome to RVA!