Tinh Truc Gia


In 2009, Eurasia created the Peaceful Bamboo Family (Tinh Truc Gia), in Hue, Vietnam, a vocational training centre and living community for young adults living with disabilities. The community is based on humanistic values offering a healthy environment that facilitates the wellbeing of each member. TTG embodies an ecological lifestyle and develops biodynamic agriculture, it aims to be a practical training centre for social therapy and biodynamic gardening. Community life is central to the integration of the person living with disabilities.

TTG provides a rich social and cultural life, and welcomes more and more visitors and volunteers each year. In 2012 Tinh Truc Gia joined the international Camphill network.

The Center offers each resident a vocational training, enabling them to be integrated in professional life and to become as autonomous as possible. Various vocational training workshops enable the youngsters to learn a profession and promote income generating activities.


The Peaceful Bamboo Family, Tinh Truc Gia (TTG) was inaugurated in the beginning of 2009. TTG was created after the children of Eurasia special schools and classes had finished their school curriculum. It was difficult to find vocational training centres and a suitable work and life situation enabling them to integrate in society. TTG is a living and working therapeutic Camphill community completely embedded in the local culture. TTG is situated in a rural district, 10 minutes by scooter from Hue city centre. Tinh Truc Gia is a beautiful community, with many buildings for boarding, workshops, classrooms, a big biodynamic garden etc.

Over 30 adults and about 10 adolescents now live, work and learn in TTG. We also have an inclusive Waldorf kindergarten which welcomes 16 children. Around 15-20 well trained co-workers work in the centre. Various vocational training workshops enable the youngsters to receive a professional training. The sale of the products produced in the workshops also enables the centre to cover part of their running costs. There is a food processing workshop making delicious jam, ice cream, fruit juices, dried fruits; an organic vegetable garden; a cooking workshop; housekeeping and maintenance; embroidery; lacquer ware painting.

TTG is a very warm and vibrant community which aims to embody care for self, others and nature. School classes from the surrounding schools come to visit on a regular basis in order to learn about the way we work and live. This gives the youngsters a chance to share their skills, knowledge and way of being and living together (read about the empowerment project here). Training programs organized by Eurasia Learning Institute, are also hosted by the community.


The Center offers each resident a vocational training, enabling them to be integrated in professional life and to become as autonomous as possible. Various vocational training workshops enable the youngsters to learn a profession and promote income generating activities.


When we created the Peaceful Bamboo Family community in Hue, Central Vietnam, our fundamental intention was not focused on caring for young people with intellectual disability, but rather on creating a conducive environment that would allow these young people to unfold their full potential in a way that would enable them to make a positive contribution to society. And these contributions have been manifold. When we started our community, it was not yet possible for NGOs in Vietnam to buy land and to run a privately owned Centre. Due to the many years of work in the field of special education, the local government had confidence in our Foundation and granted us an exception so that we could create the first private and free centre entirely based on our values and principles inspired by the Camphill Movement and later by the GNH framework.

Tinh Truc Gia is located on the outskirts of Hue City, in the quiet space of the land situated deep in the bamboo grooves. The total area of ​​Tinh Truc Gia is 15,000 m2, in which 60% of the land is used for planting, gardening, and a natural playground for children.

Originally, the soil in the area was mostly made of gravel and stone, which was not ideal for gardening; only lemongrass, tea, fig, and locust trees were able to grow. Tinh Truc Gia has been practicing Biodynamic agriculture for the last 10 years to heal and revitalize the soil. Today, the previously damaged land has been transformed into a flourishing chemical-free garden with rich soil quality and an abounding ecosystem with more than 1000 species of native plants.


In Vietnam, as in many developing countries, the so-called modernization of agriculture has created a lot of damage to the soil due to the misuse of pesticides and fertilizers. At Tinh Truc Gia, the garden is perceived as a living organism with its living process and rhythm of activity; most importantly, the garden’s health is determined by the health of the soil.

Hung – Tinh Truc Gia’s gardener & educator, graduated from university with a major in Agriculture and was rooted in the modern methodology of gardening. He has been with Tinh Truc Gia’s garden from the beginning, and the garden has taught him many precious lessons. “I used to think that the job of a gardener is to control the garden, but then I realized that I am only a part of its ecosystem. I dance to its rhythm, it does not dance to mine”, says Hung. The intimate relationship he has with the garden has made it possible for him to listen to the garden’s needs.

It took the garden team (including gardeners, teachers, volunteers, and the youngsters) 5 years to reshape the soil’s properties by removing the many stones beneath the surface, by hand. We simultaneously enlivened the soil with horn manure and biodynamic compost, which energizes all the active microbial life processes and thus supports humus formation. “There is no soil improvement but only soil nourishment. For me the soil is a Bodhisattva.”, said Hung.


Learning to take care of the soil has been a transformative journey not only for the garden team but for the whole community, which required everyone to be patient and not to create any pressure to obtain a certain amount of vegetables and fruits. In the early years, we had little variety in terms of fruit and vegetables.

The intention of creating the garden was to give the youngsters a big space to release their energy through curative physical work. Gardening helps the youngsters to hone both their gross and fine motor skills, increase attention span, stimulate cognitive abilities, have a direct sensory contact with nature, and regulate emotions. What the garden can teach the youngsters is significantly rich. A simple task such as moving a wheelbarrow can help them train spatial orientation, their sense of balance, and their attention. The garden always has a wide variety of tasks that are suited to different abilities and needs. Through their work, the youngsters give to the earth and receive healing in return.

The youngsters, the teachers and volunteers are happy gardeners

Moreover, the garden teaches the whole community about our attitude towards nature. As we eat mainly the seasonal vegetables and fruits from the garden, we are aware of the farm-to-fork process and appreciate more fully the food we have. Before meals, the whole community practices gratitude to all the conditions that have been present for the food to be available. One of the songs that we sing before the meal is:

This rice contains the farmer’s abundant love

We send gratitude to the parents, the farmers

This rice contains great compassion

That harmonizes the rain and sun, the cloud and wind.”

The more we understand the garden, the more we make efforts to take actions to minimize harm to the environment. We have a circular waste management system, in which the organic waste from the kitchen is used as major materials for composting. 15% of current electricity comes from solar power systems. Products for cleaning and washing dishes are created by natural ingredients from the garden like lemon, starfruit, and locust. To minimize the consumption of material goods, the buildings and facilities of Tinh Truc Gia are cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. Most of our appliances and furniture have been used for 10 years without having been renewed.


Our garden was the first Biodynamic organic horticulture garden in Vietnam and gave birth to the Empowerment project. School classes have been coming to our garden to learn about ecology and gardening. The students work alongside with our youngsters, thus appreciating how people with special needs not only contribute to society but can even be their teachers in some specific areas. We are now developing educational programs for students in the fields of sustainability, ecology, organic gardening, and Social and Emotional Learning, with the aim of connecting to Self, Others, and Nature.

2000 students from Hue’s public schools come to visit the community every year. This gives the youngsters the opportunities to share their skills, knowledge, and way of being and living together. “What the youngsters can give to the students is love, compassion and the will to overcome challenges in life. The students often think that they come here to help the youngsters, but then they realize that the youngsters are helping them”, says Mr. Hung, educator and gardener at Tinh Truc Gia’s.

Since 2017, the garden holds annual Biodynamic Agriculture courses for those who are interested, especially gardeners, agriculture students, and educators. Tinh Truc Gia gardeners constantly renew their professional skills and practices so that what they can spread ecological awareness in a practical way.


Life in Tinh Truc Gia is rejuvenated through the diversity of people and activities. A community can only sustain itself if there is the harmonious presence of different generations and professions. Differences are not a divisive stimulus but cultivate mutual contribution to a common goal. At Tinh Truc Gia, we have more than 80 people including youngsters with special needs, kindergarten children, teachers, and staff who are motivated to contribute whatever they can, for the happiness of others. There are four generations living, learning, and working together, and each generation offers their unique characteristics and contribution. The background of the teachers and staff is a blend of those with bachelor & master degrees in different areas and of gardeners, social workers or skilled cooks who have not gone through a formal education. Though their roles are varied, each of them is a part of Tinh Truc Gia’s web of life.

Since the beginning, many volunteers have been living and working in Tinh Truc Gia. Their age can range from 15 to over 60 years old, with very diverse backgrounds; some are lifelong experts in special education, we also had a french actor, a clowning professor and high school students from America or Germany. The volunteers offer many positive contributions by expressing their life perspectives, expertise and culture in their way of living and interacting, and at the same time it nurtures the spirit of inclusivity in the community.

Their contributions are  manifold, from baking recipes that are currently used in the bakery workshop, to working a year long with the gardeners to remove each stone out of the soil. While volunteering, they enjoy immersing themselves in an intense experience that challenges and redefines their understanding of care and connection.

Despite the diversity, the community life in Tinh Truc Gia is always designed to meet the youngsters’ needs. The the rhythm of the day, the season, and the year is given by rituals, activites and events; this order gives the youngsters a feeling of safety and freedom in their daily activities. Doing the same thing at the same time each day, or each week, helps them to overcome their insecurity or passivity. Their work has become an important part of their lives.

In today’s  world, where individual happiness is believed to be more important than the happiness of everyone, Tinh Truc Gia shows that “living together” as a community is possible and is more important than ever. When living together, interactions do not stop at the level of colleagues, teachers, and students. We have become a family where small daily events are not less essential than what may be considered to be more important matters. Each person is not only a separate individual, but also a part of a larger system. This motivates everyone to overcome the challenging realities of living together on a daily basis. For both those with and without disabilities, ‘living together’ offers substance and opportunity for profound healing, chances and space for ‘giving and receiving’ and cultivates a deep sense of caring, trust, and support that helps us grow into full human beings.


Tinh Truc Gia encourages experiential and project-based learning. It has always been a socially innovative project, in which most aspects of community life open up learning opportunities, be it individual or collective learning. Each of us has a favorable context to learn about ourselves, about other people and about our surroundings.

Tinh Truc Gia holds regular seminars and workshops for both co-workers and youngsters in the spirit of lifelong learning for all. Besides annual professional training delivered by experts in special education and social therapy, informal training is even more vital. Working is an informal learning journey, in which each teacher and youngster can reflect and unfold their potential.. Every month, we also hold sharing and learning sessions with themes such as mindfulness, compassion, deep listening, and ecological awareness.

What we have learnt is reflected in every simple act of our daily lives. No work is less important than another. Household chores are extremely important, as it helps the youngsters to ‘feel at home’ and take the responsibility to take care of their home. All chores, from dusting, sweeping, preparing meals and washing clothes offer a chance to improve their motor skills. Furthermore, what they learn in one task can be transferred to another. What they have learnt in household chores about responsibility, meticulousness, executing a task from start to end, etc, will positively impact their skills in their profession. The capacity of attention trained  while washing the dishes will  have an impact on how mindfully they put their feet on the ground and contribute towards a feeling of stability while walking. The meticulousness needed while folding the clothes will help them make a beautiful lacquer painting.

In 2015, we created the ‘Eurasia Learning Institute for Happiness and Wellbeing’ (ELI) to share our experience about special education, Gross National Happiness, Biodynamic farming, and bringing happiness and wellbeing in organizations. We also partnered with universities like Hoa Sen University and Hue University to create year-long programs on inner transformation leading to social innovation. Two main areas of our work are happiness in education and happiness in organisations. In the field of education, in Vietnam, we began with the “Call to Care” project and are currently implementing the Happy Schools project. Happy Schools, as a continuation of Call to Care, brings 3 modules of Care based on mindfulness and social-emotional learning to 9 public schools in Hue. In the field of happiness in organisation, we are currently working with Bitis, a large shoe company      and Pizza 4P to deliver a GNH based approach and values to transform their organizations.

Tinh Truc Gia      hosts many of ELI’s trainings and workshops because it is the place that embodies key values of ELI. “Tinh Truc Gia      offers an environment      for learners who are interested in community building, wellbeing, and social-emotional learning to learn in a very practical way. We have all the conditions for an ideal learning environment.”,      says Mr. Tu, Tinh Truc Gia’s director.


When we started the Peaceful Bamboo Family, we were inspired by the ideals of the Camphill Movement, but we wanted to create a community that was completely embedded in the Vietnamese context. We did not want to import foreign values and cultural practices in a country that has suffered too much and for too long from destructive foreign influence, whether from French colonialism or American imperialism.

At the same time, we knew from our experience in the Camphill community of Perceval the importance of spiritual and cultural practices that      structure the life and cycles of time in a      community. So, our challenge was to find the essence of the practices that we had experienced in a Western, largely Christian context located in a temperate climate zone, and to recreate comparable forms and rituals born out of the Vietnamese, largely Buddhist and Confucian context, and a tropical climate. We structured our yearly cycle around traditional Vietnamese and Buddhist festivals that are connected to the moon cycle rather than the solar cycle; including ancestor and Earth-spirit worshiping ceremonies which are held on New and Full Moon.

 The  weekly rhythm is structured with a day of Mindfulness, and an evening called ‘Sharing from the Heart’ where each member of the community has an opportunity to share how they feel, what makes them happy or worries them. Their sharings are heard in an atmosphere of respect and non-judgmental deep listening.


With youngsters who can’t speak, or have many barriers to communicate, art is a great doorway for self-expression and connection with others. That was why Tinh Truc Gia’s art workshop was born and we have 3 youngsters who after many years of hard work, were recognized as genuine artists. We  hold an annual exhibition in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city where the youngsters’ artworks and stories are shared with the public.

Exhibition of lacquer paintings by TTG youngsters, Ho Chi Minh City

 In daily life, we help the youngsters express themselves creatively though dancing, clowning, singing, crafts, candle making and drama. They are true artists, because when they make art, they make it in  a fluid flow without putting themselves in a box. Artistic activities are not only fun, but also help      us develop self-esteem, give us a refreshing lens to look at ourselves and our place in the world, and      create a wonderful space for authentic connections to each other.

We aim to become economically and financially sustainable and to generate enough income to gradually become autonomous. The sale of products is very important to the community, as it shows the contribution of the youngsters to society and is a tangible motivation for them to work.


Work is an important part of identity construction for people with special needs, yet their access to work      is often very difficult. This      was the motivation for Tinh Truc Gia to establish vocational workshops for people living with disabilities. In Tinh Truc Gia, all the workshops      were created      to respond to      the youngsters’ needs, in which the work process & tasks are designed based on the youngsters’      abilities and aspirations.      The workshops create      situations where young people living with an intellectual disability can learn useful skills and train for a job, thus contributing to society, and also generating income for the center. Tinh Truc Gia also offers each youngster a vocational training, enabling them to be integrated in professional life and to become as autonomous as possible.

At the time when the incense workshop was created,      we saw the need of making something local and handmade           . The area surrounding Tinh Truc Gia is very famous for its incense-making, so we visited, did research and invited the artisans to come to the centre to teach the youngsters. A youngster in the incense workshop can make between  40 – 100 incense sticks per day, while      an artisan working outside the centre    could make 1000 sticks per day.      To be able to make that small amount per day, it takes the youngsters and teachers several years of learning to work with the machine, to coordinate the movement of hands, legs and eyes. The preparation of the paste from which the incense is made also provides a tactile experience and requires the youngsters to learn how to dose the correct amount of liquid and powder. Therefore, one single incense stick of Tinh Truc Gia is not only a mere product; it represents human interconnectedness, the joy of working, years of learning to execute a simple task, and true inclusion.

Over the years, as the quality of the younsters’      work increases, so does their self-confidence and feeling of      achievement. This      motivates them and      increases their commitment to their work and they consider it as their profession. Working, in this sense, is a curative approach, a process of inclusion, and a way to give their life meaning.

Everyone working in harmony to prepare the traditional candies for Tet holiday sale


Our current focus is to develop social entrepreneurship in partnership with other like-minded organizations.

In the jam workshop, we process tropical fruits from our garden into delicious jam, juice and ice cream. We have a bakery      where we produce several types of cookies.      W     e sell these products through a partnership with an online health food store from Ho Chi Minh City. Our lacquer-ware workshop combines traditional techniques with spontaneous creativity allowing the young people to express themselves freely while learning traditional Vietnamese handicrafts. We organize exhibitions to sell the paintings, and it is very moving to experience how proud the youngsters can be when they realize that people appreciate their creations and are willing to buy them. We also have an incense workshop producing high-quality incense made of natural organic medicinal plants according to an ancient recipe.

We have a teahouse in our front yard with a beautiful flower and rock garden; this allows us to sell some of the products of the workshops and the garden, including our own organic green tea. Likewise, it is also an opportunity for the youngsters to learn the skills of the service industry, and to practice useful abilities such as counting, reading, writing, and speaking properly with strangers.

In the past, people used to buy our products out of compassion. Now they buy the products because they recognize their quality. It means that the work of the youngsters is recognized, so are their capacities, their      contribution      and their autonomy. This year, the centre was able to generate over 40-50% of its running costs through these activities. Financial transparency is also crucial. The annual report is submitted to all related governmental departments.

The creation of ELI, which allows us to share the fruits of the work done in Ting Truc Gia,      has become      an important source of support for Tinh Truc Gia, with  10% of ELI’s profit      contributing directly to our the running costs. This is a way for us to become gradually      less dependent on philanthropy and foreign funding.  With time, the situation in Vietnam has shifted and today we also raise an increasing amount of money in Vietnam directly through our network.


Over the years, our community has formed a leadership structure that is responsible and accountable. The pioneer team that      founded Tinh Truc Gia shows a visible commitment to the development of the community. They have moved the community forward with endless energy to cultivate the community values written in the community charter and to listen to the evolving needs of the youngsters.

     We are progressively developing      a participatory leadership style. At Tinh Truc Gia, we consider no position to be      superior to another: the director and the gardener each give their contribution; one can be a teacher in the morning, and do cleaning with the youngsters in the afternoon. This      creates the conditions for inclusive leadership, which includes everyone, long-term co-workers, volunteers, and the residents alike as a source for decision-making.

We regularly hold seminars to redefine and co-create a common vision and mission that is shared by all, to develop collective strength to step into new structures over time. When new projects emerge, the whole community is consulted so that they can voice their ideas or doubts. This was done when we      created an inclusive kindergarten, a sector for young teenagers with behavioral challenges and when we      co-designed the landscaping for the new land of the Empowerment project.      Beyond the Four Pillars, we also use the nine domains of GNH as an assessment tool to pilot and improve the functioning of our community.

At Tinh Truc Gia, teamwork is not only limited to the staff circle. It is also the collaboration and interbeing with the experts, youngsters, parents, etc. This is the core essence of the community’s resilience. Everyone working together generating      collective energy, thinking and will.

Sometimes a community hug is all we need

Since the beginning of Tinh Truc Gia, we have made great efforts to infuse organizational values with micro-acts of kindness, mindfulness, and generosity. At the beginning of each month, we have a monthly practice of mindfulness, deep listening, and reflective sharing to improve our understanding of each other and to remind ourselves that compassion and relationships are our most precious wealth. It is the practice of deep listening, recognizing negative seeds      and transforming      them that helps us to      live through and learn from crise     s and difficult situations.

The life of each co-worker is not separate from the life of the community, in the sense that we care for each other, and we perceive      our      success not only      in terms of      work results, but as a      manifestation of both      where we stand in our own personal life, as well as our connection      with the collective spirit of the community.