Awakin Circle is the creation of a time and space where we can step out of our daily activities to meditate and engage in a circle of reflective sharing. Every week on Thursday, we come together to sit in silence, share some personal insights and some hugs and tea afterwards.
A palpable sense of gratitude and community weaves through it all. The ripples of inner transformation are countless -- and continue on.
Being a facilitator, when we see children changing their behaviors towards empathy is a beautiful feeling. Identifying own problem, exploring and interacting with others to better understand the situation, finding solutions with validating other’s views, and coordinating well to execute the solutions is what students go through. As a result we have experienced that even a reserved and afraid child has become ready to initiate conversation in our sessions.
There are more important things that we have seen through students that we have worked with on E-DFC. They are as follows:-
"...the research evidence keeps piling up, and it points strongly to the conclusion that a high degree of empathy in a relationship is possibly the most potent and certainly one of the most potent factors in bringing about change and learning." Carl Rogers
An empathy circle is a space to explore on the theme of empathy. The objective of this circle is to cultivate a culture of empathy within the community. It tends to nurture and deepen empathy with ourselves and others. Deeper empathy has many benefits Such as:-
1. To understand a complex world (full here)
“The ability to understand what someone is feeling” – that’s the textbook definition of empathy. But when put into practice, empathy means a whole lot more. It means the ability to grasp the many sides of today’s complex problems and the capacity to collaborate with others to solve them; it means being as good at listening to the ideas of others as articulating your own; it means being able to lead a team one day, and participate as a team member the next...What’s more important is that you can take the perspective of others – whether you’re designing a new technology, or negotiating, or anticipating the uncertain. Indeed, how well we do — whether in the classroom or the boardroom — depends more than ever on how well we forge and navigate relationships. In this way, empathy is the new literacy: essential for us to communicate, collaborate, and lead."
2. To design solutions to problems (full here)
"The core principles of design thinking are to empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. Teaching design thinking can be a powerful way of teaching students empathy in that it teaches them how to solve another person’s problems by providing creative and innovative solutions that relate to his or her needs...Empathy is the first step in design thinking because it is a skill that allows us to understand and share the same feelings that others feel. Through empathy, we are able to put ourselves in other people's shoes and connect with how they might be feeling about their problem, circumstance, or situation. Some questions to consider:
Giving Circle is a group of teachers from government school, contributing their time and effort to bring about change in their community. In government schools many students are unable to afford the notebooks needed for their school work which often leads to dropouts of students. Therefore in this beginning of academic year the circle has identified the need of stationery for students.
It costs Rs 3,000 to provide notebooks needed for an academic year to 10 students.
You can be a helping hand.
Experiencing moments of connection, disconnection and self realization Kehi Garoun held the 6th “Mindfulness” Retreat in Boudha,Kathmandu this weekend. The theme of the retreat was to explore the potential of the change that ripples from self to into the world which was so visible among 24 participants, the space and people around. There were 4 adorable kids as well, who made the retreat more play full and alive. We used the tools of mindfulness and interaction which somehow made an impact to every individual. The desire of the change from within which would ripple out through relationships and to the world seems possible now after having this retreat done. And there is more hope that things would fall in place and the world would be a better place, as we start to see ourselves and others as humans.
Kehi Garoun team attended the training organized by the Waldorf Education Nepal regarding the theme of Children Development. This training was led by an amazing tutor from Israel. The training was held at one of the Waldorf's school situated at Bansbari, Chakrapath from 15th April to 20th April. We got a sense of understanding a child's world and how he/she behaves and their development. Focusing on grade 1-5, the whole session was about preparing teachers to better engage with children and facilitate them to go on their beautiful journey from their pictorial, imaginative space to the real world where they need to be aware of themselves and many things around them. This training was a great experience and very very impact-full.
The last breathers was held successfully with 12 people in KG office. The whole session revolved around a simple question, "Who is sad?", where everyone was engaging equally. It is a regular session running every Friday morning from 7:30 to 9:00 am. One and half hour long this session included breathing exercise and sharing on the given topic. Everyone enjoyed to be the part of this session. Members of breathers believe that this kind of session is needed to everyone out there.
"Can we see the world through others' eyes or others' point of view?" question arises in the empathy session this Friday. Everyone engaged with their own thoughts. Everyone shared their point of view while thinking about other people like what they see, hear, feel and think in a certain situation. The session is held in Kanya Mandir HS School with 17 participants.
After a Breathers session at Budhanilkantha, KG team members started a silent hike uphill towards Gairigaun, Muhanpokhari located near the boundaries of Shivpuri National Park. The team stayed at a members place in the locality which was abundant in nature.
The three day trip explored themes of facilitator development sessions and mindful sessions.
Facilitator Development Sessions
Sessions included discussion on notions of:
Mindful Sessions: Indoor/Outdoor
The campaign started with a motive of reaching and helping students in need of warm sweaters so that they could be motivated to attend school in this year's freezing winter. With the help of mentors KG identified 396 students in 12 different schools who needed to be helped. Along the way we were also able to provide 169 warm hats to children. We thank all mentors, volunteers, donors and enablers who have shown their constant support towards the movement.
This winter KG organized a winter camp for government school students. There were 8 participants form Shanti Sikshya secondary school. The camp was 3 days long which included activities on Emotional Intelligence and Design For Change. Emotional Intelligence was a completely new topic for them. Everyone participated in the entire 3 days of winter camp with a lot of interest and enthusiasm. According to them, at first, they thought the camp will be boring with some teaching and writing activities. They had not expected this kind of session. After completing the camp everyone was happy to learn new things. Everyone shared how they were unaware of simple daily activities which could affect them as well as others. They found the sessions completely new, interesting, and fruitful.
“I will definitely be aware of what I am going to do and how I am talking to others. I find it really important to know how a small thing can affect others without the intention to hurt them” said Nishan Rai.
Community Members provide direction and financial contribution to KG.
ADVISORY TEAM GLOBAL
MENTOR CIRCLE MEMBERS
Previous board members
Volunteers - Prashant Karki, Jeevan Shrestha, Deepshikha Rana, Situ Shretha, Dinita Adhikari, Shrayashree, Kiran, Shreya, Sanjina, Nischal, Neejan, Bikesh, Sukhad, Atul, Atulya, Gaurav, Paridhi, Palija, Ankita, Vaskar, Anel, Ayushma, Santosh, Sumnima, and Yunisha, Rajesh, Ramon, Nisha
The Fouding team:
Arati Paudel, Vice President, holds a bachelor's degree in sociology and culture. She has always been interested in social work.
Prerana Bhatta, General Secretary holds a Bachelor's degree in sociology and economics. Her interest is in encouraging housewives to play active roles outside their homes.
Anupama Pokhrel, Treasurer, is the Lead Researcher at Kehi Garoun. She holds a Master's degree in sociology. Her primary interest is in social inclusion.
Renuka Adhikari, founding member, holds a bachelor's degree in English and economics. Her interest is in capacity building of charity organizations.
Suraj Pokhrel, a student of Bachelor in Business Studies at that time, provided coordination support.
‘Innovation in Sustainability’ - TheeGo applies latest technologies and innovations towards sustainable prosperity.
"Every day we hear and learn about the most pressing problem of today’s world like climate
change, environment degradation, uncontrolled population growth and their endless impacts
on humanity. These problems and often referred as side products of industrialization,
transportation, technological encroachment and rightly so. All of these are here to address the
short term needs of people but completely eclipses their long term impact and ignores the
need of sustainability. We know it is very daunting task to sacrifice the short term need and comfort for long term sustainability. Investing in innovation requires patience, focus and expertise. To achieve our goals we have ventured into generation and distribution of sustainable energy using renewable sources and techniques, introduction of clean and green electric vehicles for rental services, charging stations for electric vehicles. Thee- Go has three companies FGE, G&G and SRIBIT goal of innovation for sustainability."
Many students from government schools are unable to buy a pair of shoe, which is not only injurious to them but they also feel embarrassed to go to school without shoes. Therefore KG in coordination with Mentor circle (a group of active teachers) identified 107 students in need from 8 different schools and successfully served them with school shoes.
Mustang Trails conducts customized tours in Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet and Ladakh. Since 2004, it has organizing tea house treks, peak climbing expeditions, cultural tours and tours for people with special needs.
"We really appreciate the ’Be the change" approach of 'Design for change" framework where students identify their problems and look for solutions themselves. This is exactly what we feel is needed to build a self-sufficient and dignified society. We are proud to partner with KG to build a dignified community," says Bidhya Hirachan, MD.
Professional Educational Consultancy (PEC) believes in direct interactions with the society. It has done a lot of contribution to the society in a number of ways, as Corporate Social Responsibility, where there is no give and take, but genuine activities, that will benefit the society.
"We are proud to partner with Kehi Garoun as a platform that allows us to reach wider community that is already involved in the welfare of the society," says Raju Singh, MD.
PEC's employees believe in being active in the society. Each employee has their own interests as to how they want to make a difference in the society. PEC team is enthusiastic about being able to serve the society using KG's platform.
Design for change framework helped the students to solve their problems at Shanti Sikshya Secondary School. After completing the FIDS session they have improved their learning . while doing this framework students had listed all problems that they have been facing in their school everyday. After it, they chose the important problems by voting. Once it is done, they imagined the various solutions and listed the plan to solve it . Finally they solved their problems with the help of design for change project.
Students of Kankeshwori Lower Secondary School have done design for change project, while doing this project students were very much excited. They had listed the problems that bothered them and list out the plan to solve it . when they solved it they were happy for their efforts.
For kids by kids program was designed by a group of mentors from 12 different schools. The program was successful held on 8th June at Kanya Mandir Secondary School, Chhetrapati. Around 400 students were present at the event. Students put all together 15 cultural acts and 12 Food stalls. The total revenue of the event was RS.26,000 which will be used in DFC projects led by students themselves.
Testimonial by Sarala Panta (Teacher, Kanya Mandir School):
I have never experienced an event like this before where teachers and students from different school come together at a common place and work together in a non competitive way.
Students of Shanti Sikshya Secondary School were happy in doing design for change project. With the help of this projects they were able to solve their problems in school. They have chosen the toilet cleanliness projects which is most import problem to them. Support of teacher, school admin and students were able to solve it with good effort.
Kehi Garoun has been working for the last ten years towards self-empowerment. Yet, somehow we are seen as yet another charity organization, adding to the very culture of dependence that we are trying to change. In our attempt to rethink our work, Nabin, Pravendra and Umanga attended a 3 day retreat on Reimaging Education in Ahmedabad, organized by movedbylove.org. The retreat was an experience of generosity, connection and learning. It was truly rewarding experience for our 'hands, hearts and heads.' Details of the retreat is here.
Inspired by our experience, we replicated a similar retreat for Kehi Garoun volunteers from January 27-29 to explore the potential of "inside-out change" - the social change that results from personal change. We did not have a rigid agenda, yet we had a prayer that each of us will get some clarity for oneself, and kindle heart-connections with others.
"EACH OF US GUARDS A GATE OF CHANGE,
THAT CAN BE UNLOCKED ONLY FROM THE INSIDE."
The retreat, thanks too all participants and volunteers, happened to emerge with a framework of how we can co-create possibilities of Inside-Out Change at the level of schools and colleges. There were many moments of inspiration and connections. Our first evening was rainy and cold but was made peaceful and warm by the volunteers who sat around, in the distant glow of a heater, to share their stories of inner change. Saturday was a busy day of breakout sessions and prayers and laughter. Many of us left at the end of the day with a piece of an inner sun shine. Sunday morning, a small group took a long walk through the flower-fields to Ichangu temple before saying goodbye to the inspiring location of Whitefield Residential School.
We believe that the retreat was meaningful for each of the participants. For Kehi Garoun, the retreat was a collective articulation of the model of change it has been exploring. We were reminded of how joyful yet difficult is the journey of self-care, social-empathy and humility. And in that spirit, we share this email with you to highlight:
The experience was so inspiring that Kehi
Garoun held a similar retreat on inside-out
change as soon as their team got back to Nepal.
The retreat started with simple introduction of all the participants and the volunteers. All shared their moments of joy in education. There were break out sessions on compassion quotient. We visited Sewa Cafe, an experiment in giving, and listened to Nemo's songs.
Annex: Kehi Garoun team stayed for an extra day to visit some interesting works in education. Our visit to the Riverside International School led us to integrate their "design for change" curriculum into our own Dignity Circle program. and also the "i can " challenge for the schools. We also heard about their salient lessons from Gandhian education from the Registrar of Ganghi Vidyapith.
We moderate dialogues among leaders of various organizations who wish to serve as a sounding board to one another.
In our blog, you can read updates of activities conducted by our enabling team.