Bring 24 young ambassadors together for peace

 
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One of the interfaith choirs in action
One of the interfaith choirs in action

Towards the end of last year Lucy Frankenburg and Sahdia Khan from Encompass boarded a plane bound for Israel. Their mission was to connect face to face with our then Israeli co-ordinator Amit Lavi and our Palestinian co-ordinator Karen AbuZant, meeting many of the Israeli and Palestinian alumni, getting feedback on the Encompass programme and seeing first-hand the impact of it on their lives.

Given that the summer of 2014 had been fraught with tension and violence in the Middle East, Lucy and Sahdia were expecting their visit to be at the very least difficult, if not incredibly challenging. It turned out to be extremely encouraging as well as moving and thought-provoking.

Encompass alumni making a difference

Lucy and Sahdia had some very useful meetings with Israeli and Palestinian alumni, both at reunions and on an individual level.  Many of them commented on how (even several months and years later), the programme had a profound impact on their perspectives, and changed them as people for the better. Specifically it was the first time many of them had had the opportunity to engage with each other and this had opened their eyes.

One of the great joys of the trip was seeing some of the amazing work that the alumni are doing. For example, the Palestinian Steering Group is going strong. Lucy and Sahdia heard first-hand from them about how valuable an experience their summer camp was, and how they grew a lot in their skills and confidence. They now have plans for a project to do with Palestinian co-ordinator Karen’s Peaceful Education Centre, which is where they run most of their activities and workshops.

Lucy and Sahdia caught up with Dima (February 2014 Encompass programme) who now works for a Palestinian human rights organisation and Rawan (March 2013 Encompass programme) who works for Seeds of Peace.

Ben, Israeli alumnus (November 2013 Encompass programme) set up a community choir for young people from one of the rougher parts of Tel Aviv, and Lucy and Sahdia had the privilege of attending one of their concerts. It was evident that being part of this choir was having such a positive impact on the young performer’s lives and self-esteem.

Yair, Israeli alumnus (November 2013 Encompass programme) has become involved with a group called ‘Simply Sing’, which bring together Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem to learn and then perform songs. Some of their performances have been huge – bringing in audiences of thousands, but so far the interaction between Jewish and Arab Israelis has been limited to singing. Lucy and Sahdia facilitated their first ‘getting to know each other on a deeper level’ workshop. The two hour event was very successful. Many if the participants said afterwards that they found it very meaningful and thought-provoking.

Reut, Israeli alumnus (February 2012 Encompass programme) has been working on a project which helps the most vulnerable people in Israeli society.

Lucy reflects on the trip, “One of the most valuable things about our trip to the Middle East was the opportunity to meet so many different people and hear so many different perspectives on the situation.”

Interfaith workshop
Interfaith workshop
Left to right - Amit, Sahdia and Lucy
Left to right - Amit, Sahdia and Lucy
An identity workshop in action
An identity workshop in action

Thank you for donating to Encompass - The Daniel Braden Reconciliation Trust. This is a short report to show you how your donation has made a difference. 

Encompass aims to cultivate a network of confident, active young people who possess the skills and motivation to work across divides of faith, culture, conflict and ideology. 

1,300 young people from five countries have taken part in our international and UK based programmes, which blend team building and confidence building activities with workshops tackling the big issues; such as identity, culture, stereotype and religion. 

Do our programmes make a difference?  

We measure the success of our programmes in a number of ways. 

  • Young people participating in more positive activities
  • People experience inter community cohesion including initiating their own interfaith and inter community workshops and skills training 
  • People have increased confidence and self esteem 
  • People are more involved in community life 

Increased confidence and opportunities  

"I'd like Encompass to know that it has made a massive difference in not just my life but a lot of the other participants. It gives a lot of young people confidence in themselves. If only other people could feel the way I did after my programmes with them, I think that would be amazing." Mona 

Pasha explained that after attending the Encompass programme his life changed quite significantly.  He started volunteering at the youth centre where the programme he took part in was held and has lead a rock climbing session there for six to nine year olds, for which he has earned a qualification. 

"If that day never happened, I wouldn’t be doing what I do now, I guess. I volunteer at the youth centre now I've done the Duke of Edinburgh Award. I've received numerous awards from the youth centre and it's changed quite a bit of my life."

Pasha learnt a number of skills whilst on the programme, particularly around communication and confidence. He said he now felt far more confident to ask people questions. "The main skills I learnt were I guess, facing my fears, confidence, and communication. My social skills are better than they were before." 

Community cohesion 

We are delighted to tell you that a number of major interfaith initiatives are taking place as a result of our programmes. The US group, the Indonesian group and the UK group from the November 2014 international programme have all planned workshops aimed at breaking down barriers between communities. The Israelis and Palestinians are combining forces to run joint programmes! We are extremely excited about these initiatives and will keep you updated. 

Thank you again for the difference your donation has made to our work. 

Discussion on stereotypes
Discussion on stereotypes
Nov 14 programme: planning time
Nov 14 programme: planning time

Welcome to the latest update from Encompass – The Daniel Braden Reconciliation Trust. Thanks so much for your support for our work.

Encompass runs six programmes a year - two are international and four UK only. Each programme combines outdoor adventure sessions which break down barriers, with facilitated workshops aimed at tackling conflict, stereotype and identity.

Encompass enables dialogue. The need for dialogue between communities that are often taught to mistrust each other is vital. Dialogue is an inclusive process in which people have a sense of joint ownership. Dialogue entails learning and not just talking. Dialogue recognises one another’s humanity and stresses a long-term perspective.

Programme report: November 2014 international programme

We have just completed our latest international programme, held at the Plas Gwynant Outdoor Activity Centre in Snowdonia, Wales.

Eight participants from the UK joined four from Indonesia, four from Israel, four from Palestine and four from the USA. They were taught skills which will boost their life experiences, their understanding and tolerance of other communities and enhances their employability.

The aims of the programme were:

  • To explore the nature of conflict in a safe and structured way
  • To explore what a person’s community or religion means to them and to learn about others communities and religions
  • To explore the idea that even though we all have differing backgrounds, we all have a place in a diverse society
  • Empower young people by developing their skills and mentoring and equipping them to make a difference in their communities and in society as a whole

Here are some of the exercises that took place on the November 2014 programme:

  • Carousel – ice-breaking exercise
  • Identity onions – reflecting on the nature of identity, what’s important and why
  • Two scenes from a life – encouraging participants to reflect on episodes in their lives that have shaped them
  • Changing our community – case study exercise involving the nature of power and the skills required to make change
  • Crossing the line and Where do you stand? – diversity exercises
  • Privilege and stereotype – an exercise at identifying the nature of each
  • Conflict squares and conflict mapping – looking at the concept and theories behind conflict including an exercise at empathising with people living in conflict
  • Active listening – the young people got to learn this vital conflict resolution skill
  • Hand-over Saturday – the group planned and facilitated their own workshops on themes such as community, conflict and identity

Participants had some very deep, difficult, yet productive conversations. The Israelis and Palestinians both spoke and listened with such maturity and really did increase their understanding and are going home with a view to try to make positive change in their communities…together. So much so that they proposed a joint project!

We were so impressed with their idea for the project – a joint awareness building initiative for young people – that we have agreed to support them along the way with basic funding. They will then raise the rest of the money needed themselves. We made them work hard for their money though! They had to present their project to a panel of funding experts who evaluated its potential.

As well as the Israelis and Palestinians, the UK group, the US group and the Indonesian group all came up with very impressive ideas for community projects, which again, are being supported by Encompass through advice and a small financial contribution to get them started along the right road.

Programme Manager, Lucy Frankenburg, who was one of the programme facilitators, said about the November 2014 programme, “We had a really wonderful group this time. Every single one of them is shining. This was one of the most positive programmes I have been on and I have really high hopes that this group of participants are going to go back to do great things.”

Thanks again for your support for our work.

Nov 14 programme: one of the workshops
Nov 14 programme: one of the workshops
Nov 14 programme: one of the workshops
Nov 14 programme: one of the workshops
Encompass Youth Summer Camp
Encompass Youth Summer Camp

Encompass Trust Youth Summer Camp

August 10th to 13th 2014

Samaritan Peace Centre, Mount Gerizim, Nablus, West Bank

Welcome to the latest update from Encompass – The Daniel Braden Reconciliation Trust. Thanks so much for donating towards our work.

Given the current crisis in Gaza, we thought it would be good to post a report about a recent (and remarkable) project which happened in the Palestinian West Bank.

Samaritans and Palestinians from different parts of the West Bank took part in the event which took place at the Samaritan Peace Centre, Mount Gerizim. The goals of the project were:

  • To introduce children from different communities and religions in Palestine to one another and encourage understanding, cooperation and breaking down of stereotypes
  • To let children from the West Bank learn about the Samaritan community first hand
  • Empower our alumni to create, organise and run a project independently
  • Help participants with personal and community identity through activities and games
  • Although not an original goal, help participants with trauma healing/relief due to the recent violence and closures in the region
  • Encourage team building and national pride

Encompass Palestinian Coordinator Karen AbuZant tells how it went. 

“Planning for this project was very challenging due to the recent outbreak of violence against Palestinian during the past two months. However, the team were determined to make it happen, even if we had to change our strategies and goals a bit. We did not have confirmation of participation of youth from the south of the West Bank until the day before the event, so we invited more youth from the north, thinking that they would not be coming. However, groups from Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jenin were able to join in after the lightening of the siege on checkpoints. We ended up with 40 participants and 12 leaders.

Day 1: Icebreaking and identity

We began with ice breaking activities such as each participants saying their name then doing an action and the rest of the group repeating that name and action. Many more games and activities were used to help the participants get to know one another's names, where they were from, their hobbies/talents, unique qualities and likes.

After lunch, we took a tour of the Samaritan Museum and the Samaritan Village. We were told stories about the Samaritan community and some of the customs that have been observed by them for over 3,600 years.

During the second half of the first day we focused on Identity. We did activities such as an 'I am' poem, 'Two Truths and a Lie' and 'Identity Totems'. It was amazing to see the kids delving into themselves and making realizations that they never considered before.

Day 2: Focus on Community

We started by doing an exercise called 'The Wind Blows', helping the young people to realize how much they have in common. Then we moved on to drama by one child in the group wearing a plain white mask, pretending to be an alien coming to earth for the first time, discovering items in the room, discovering people and trying to make a connection. Then another alien was introduced and the first alien showed how happy he was not to be alone and they went on discovering together.

We also used the masks in a dark blue and light blue. The light blue represented peace.....the dark conflict. The wearer of the mask had to act out the colour mask he/she was wearing. They represented peace by shaking hands, hugging, and helping people in different ways...healing the sick, feeding the hungry and comforting the sad. The conflict was mostly imitating physical violence, but then they started to pretend to gossip or instigate arguments between the audience members. This exercise was to install upon them how their behaviour can positively or negatively affect their community.

The day went on with similar activities and also outdoor team sports. We ended the day with a quiz about the different communities in Palestine, followed by a talent show and dance party.

We said goodbye to most of the Samaritans, as they were going the next morning on a community trip to the Dead Sea plus lots of hugs, handshakes and exchanging of Facebook and email accounts.

Day 3: Focus on new friendships

The children helped prepare breakfast with us, working together to make sure everyone was fed. Then they helped to pack up sleeping bags and cleaned the venue. This showed us that they learned a lot about community and how to give of themselves to make it better.

Afterwards some of the older participants went up to the holy mountain to see ruins and spend some time getting to know each other even better. The younger kids make friendship bracelets and gave them to one another. 

We had a pizza party for lunch, followed by a treat....'knefeh' the famous local sweet in Nablus.

The leaders took this opportunity to have a short meeting to discuss and review the project. We all agree that even though due to our challenges, we weren't able to do everything we planned, our goals were still met, with respect to both the participants and leaders. They said they learned more than they ever imagined they would and were proud of themselves and the participants for working together to overcome the problems thrown our way.

Then everyone pitched-in to pack up the bus. The Nablus group left first, taking a taxi to their homes down the mountain. The big bus dropped off kids and their leaders to taxis going to Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jenin, then continued on to Tulkarem with the rest of the kids and leaders.”

Karen AbuZant, Encompass Palestinian coordinator

 

If you think this project and the work of Encompass is worth supporting, please do donate to us on Global Giving. Your donations will be greatly appreciated and put to very good use.

Thank you.

Participant workshop in action
Participant workshop in action

Thank you so much for your support for Encompass - The Daniel Braden Reconciliation Trust. Welcome to the latest update on our work.

As a reminder, we run international and UK programmes with the following aims:

  • To educate young people on the nature of identity and conflict
  • To equip young people with the skills to disseminate their learning within their own and other communities
  • To empower young people with the confidence and opportunities to make a difference

You probably already know about the success of our programmes, but may not know about the Encompass 'ripple effect'. Programme alumni are encouraged, supported and mentored to use what they have learnt by developing their own projects and workshops, thus making sure that the good work doesn't end once the initial programme has finished.

We thought you may be interested to hear about what some of our alumni have been up to:

 

Sharing knowledge in Indonesia 

Four members of the Encompass Youth Board embarked on a three-week trip volunteering with Encompass Indonesia. They ran a summer programme of workshops and activities for young people from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds in Malang. They fundraised for the trip themselves making and selling salads, cakes and curries, organising events and doing a sponsored 10k run. They also received a grant from the young people’s funding charity, the Jack Petchey Foundation. One of the group, Aisha, said:

 “We ran a combination of workshops, lengthy discussions and team building activities; focused on conflict resolution, peer mediation, identity and belonging, diversity, community awareness and confidence. The project challenged the prejudices that the young people held against each other, and through the training the young people received they become peer mediators and facilitators in their communities.”

Israelis and Palestinians combine for peace 

A group of Encompass alumni from Israel and a group from the Palestinian Territories have come up with an excellent project to build bridges between communities and religions. Both groups are made up of alumni who first met on the Encompass November 2013 international programme.

The Israeli plan is for British Muslims to visit Israel to meet and share with 30-40 young people recruited through youth projects and centres in Israel.

Activities will involve tackling the theme of prejudice, a talk about Islam and life around it. Project participants will be encouraged to ask challenging questions.

At the same time the Palestinian group are planning to bring together at least 15 young people aged 15-17 from the West Bank to take part in activities that promote solidarity and cross cultural/inter-religious dialogue. The group will be made up of five Christians from Bethlehem and Ramallah areas, five Muslims from Tulkarem and Nablus, and five Samaritans from Gerazim.

UK success

Some of the young people who came on the October 2013 UK programme took part in a programme of inter-cultural activities as part of Interfaith Week in November 2013, including an intercultural evening with people from a variety of diverse communities, making and sharing something traditional from their community. There was also an additional opportunity to express what their community meant to them through drama, then listening to other communities doing the same.

We ran a session for the young people on how to apply for funding for their own inter-community activities through O2 Think Big and we organised a session for our Youth Board on presentation skills. One of our young people has gone on to volunteer on an additional Encompass programme sharing her own experience and skills, one has volunteered at a multi-cultural youth project, and two now peer train.

The benefits of young people getting involved in Encompass and subsequent activities has been enhanced during the year by our successful registration with AQA as a body able to award accreditation for efforts in taking forward the Encompass message.  Those efforts and experiences of our alumni are increasingly now being made accessible via blogs written by them.  These can be found at http://theencompassdiaries.wordpress.com/ and speak much more eloquently than any staff reports of the transformations that take place as a result of our programmes.

Thank you once again for your support for Encompass. Our successes wouldn't be possible without the support of people like you. But of course our work costs money. If you do feel able to support us again at this time you will be helping to continue the Encompass ripple effect of understanding and tolerance amongst diverse communities and cultures.

Please support us again if you can.

Best wishes,

The Encompass Team

Youth Board member Miriam leads a workshop
Youth Board member Miriam leads a workshop
Safoora takes charge of a workshop in Indonesia
Safoora takes charge of a workshop in Indonesia

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Project Leader

Jason Bowles

London, United Kingdom

Where is this project located?

Map of Bring 24 young ambassadors together for peace