Sandilya Theuerkauf

Sandilya Theuerkauf

CFL has been part of more than half my life. A lot of the people I relate to are in some way connected to the school. I came to CFL in 1994 when I was 16. I studied for the tenth and later chose Biology and Art for my A levels, and did both exams with a lot of difficulty, especially for my teachers. I was not academically oriented but I had strong interests. This is why I feel that CFL was the right kind of school for me, because I was encouraged to find out what I wanted to do with my life. I was interested in nature and in CFL I was helped to direct that interest. Another important aspect of the school which affected me very much was the feeling of community, that we were a group of people doing something together. That connectedness has stayed and I feel responsible for the school even now.

The move to the new campus was an important part of my learning as at that time as I was part of the survey of the new land. During the survey we looked at everything on the campus: trees, plants, birds, rocks, soil. We made a contour map of the land and another to suggest where the buildings could come. The idea of doing something with the land became exciting to me. These are questions I have engaged with over the years. I have been helping CFL to manage the land, and have also been working with the children to try and make them more connected to their land. I took part in many nature study programs, and have planted lots of fruit and forest trees and grown crops on the campus. A large part of the land has been left wild and we have taken steps to improve it so that it can support more of the local biodiversity.

I feel very affected by the way the world is going these days, globalization, climate change, environmental degradation etc. What can I do to have a more positive impact? What kind of a life can I lead, knowing all the problems that exist, and can I somehow make choices and decisions keeping these in mind?
These days I do lead a simple life, with the good fortune of not having the pressure to pursue a ‘career’ or earn a lot of money. I live in a rural area, farming and looking after a piece of land. I also work with school children doing nature programs. I not only engage with the land in a practical and functional level, I also enjoy being creative with stone, wood and soil as another way of relating to the earth.