Bring 24 young ambassadors together for peace

by Encompass - The Daniel Braden Reconciliation Trust

We are writing to let you know that we are making some important changes at ENCOMPASS. As you may be aware, the funding climate is such that is has been increasingly difficult to attract the grants needed to sit alongside the fantastic efforts of our individual donors. So we have decided to take some important steps to keep the spirit of Encompass alive. This means that we are having to strip Encompass right back to its core and so we will sadly no longer be operating with a full-time staff and will no longer be running the International Journeys of Understanding after the November programme.

However, on the positive side, we know that the alumni from those programmes are our biggest asset and we want to continue to make them the future of Encompass. It was part of the original plan for ENCOMPASS to enable some of our most committed alumni, in each country, to take their passion and interest in ENCOMPASS much further. With this in mind, we plan to enable a handful of our most remarkable past participants to have the opportunity to take the next step in becoming ambassadors for peace and reconciliation by helping them, through scholarships and bursaries, to become better qualified in these important fields. We also plan to continue to maintain our networks of alumni in all five countries and to support them to continue their ongoing national activities with younger children and schools.

Monday 21st November will now be a very important day as it marks the end of our last Journey of Understanding (JoU). We shall hold the end of programme celebration - the Showcase - starting at 12.30 on Monday 21st November in The Boardroom, University of Westminster, 309, Regent Street, London W1B 2HE and would love it if you could join us. We will be joined by our international Coordinators from Indonesia, Palestine and Israel and it will be our opportunity to thank and celebrate all our fantastic staff who have been involved in Encompass as well, of course, to hear about how this JoU has been - the good and bad!

We will be maintaining Encompass Trust to support our special alumni on their personal and exceptional journeys. Obviously this is a significant change to our activities but if you wish to continue supporting us and them, we would love that! We will obviously keep you closely involved in our research and decisions as to which courses will support our alumni best. Please let us know your thoughts and if you may be able to join us on the 21st November...

I remain, with many thanks to you for your encouragement and support over the past 14 years,

Indonesia Bhinneka camp hug
Indonesia Bhinneka camp hug

Thank you for supporting the work of Encompass Trust. We wanted to send you a report with a difference this time. You are supporting our international programmes, which bring together young people from five countries for tolerance, community cohesion and peacebuilding.

The next programme is a little way off yet, so we thought we’d update you about some of the amazing work our international alumni have been up to recently. Remember, all of these people have been on an Encompass international programme previously. Our long term goal as always is to maintain contact with young people in order to support them to develop their own community projects, long after their initial programme.

Thanks to you they have been very busy!

Global Round Up

Petungsewu Wildllife Education Center, Malang, Indonesia
The fourth Bhinneka (“peace”) camp brought 24 participants from all over Indonesia (including North Sumatra, West Borneo, West Papua and East Java) together for dialogue. Participants explored issues such as identity, stereotypes and conflict; overcoming challenges, and working together with others to promote multi-cultural understanding and tolerance in Indonesia. Enthusiasm from participants was high, and many reported that the programme opened their minds to ideas around tolerance, empathy, team work, solidarity and equality. Meanwhile, the ‘House of Understanding’, Encompass Indonesia’s multi-faith hub and meeting centre for community cohesion, carries on gathering momentum.

Tulkarem, Palestine
Palestinian participants from 3 different Encompass Journeys came together to run a workshop for young people in their home town of Tulkarem entitled ‘Creating the Story of Your Life’. Diala (Feb 16), Hend (Nov 12), Tamera (Feb 15) and Khaled (JoU hopeful and resident artist) led young people in a reflection and discussion on personal and community identity, creatively adapting workshops from the Journey of Understanding to suit a younger age group and drawing on the facilitation skills they learnt on the international programme.

Syracuse, USA
US participants ran an event on campus breaking down the stereotypes and misinformation around refugees. The event included a showing of the film “God Grew Tired of Us” about the Lost Boys of Sudan in their journey to become US Citizens, followed by a Q&A panel featuring John Bul Dau, one of the stars of the film and founder of the John Bul Dau Foundation, and Nicole Watts, founder of Hopeprint, a refugee help centre in the Syracuse area. The stories they told highlighted the struggles that refugees face on a daily basis, like being treated with suspicion because they look different or are wearing a hijab. “Events like these are the first step to creating an open conversation and stopping misconception and stereotyping between people and cultures.” Nicole Watts, Founder of Hopeprint

Jerusalem, Israel
Israeli alumni have been running workshops for young people with Kids4Peace and teaching Hebrew to Eritrean asylum seekers to help build connections between communities. Recently Nawshin, a British participant, visited the friends she made from Israel and Palestine, and had the opportunity to help set up an international, interfaith iftar on a rooftop in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Slough, UK
British participants from Slough are running a monthly event called Diversitea – a chance for young people in their area to meet new people and discuss pertinent issues over a cup of tea. Over 40 young people attended the inaugural event, the theme of which was “Refugee-hood”, run in partnership with Slough Refugee Support and Aik Saath.
Encompass participants Aisha and Sanah also teamed up Scouts (3rd Wexham branch) to host a Faith Trail, enabling over 50 youngsters to explore the rich religious diversity of their home town, with stops at the Jamia Masjid and Islamic Centre, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Gudwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha.

Thank you again for your support and for making our work possible.

Tulkarem, Palestine
Tulkarem, Palestine
Rooftop iftar, Jerusalem, Israel
Rooftop iftar, Jerusalem, Israel
Programme workshop
Programme workshop

Our latest international programme was a life changer!

Before the report starts I wanted to let you know that, thanks to a few of our donors, any donations to our work you give before the end of May 2016 will be doubled! More to follow at the end of this report.

We held our latest international programme on 21st-28th February at Plas Gwynant Outdoor Education Centre in Snowdonia, Wales, with one extra day in London. Encompass programme staff Sahdia and Lucy were joined by facilitator Helen and our intern Aisha. We managed to put on one of the best programmes to date. Plas Gwynant provided a beautiful venue and exciting activities (and we were blessed with February sunshine), and the flow of the workshop sessions worked really well, taking the participants on a journey of exploration of their own and others’ identities. The Showcase Ceremony, which is an end of programme public event, was an emotional testimony to the transformative power of Encompass to change young people’s lives.

The participants

In total 24 young people from five countries came on the programme: 8 from the UK, 4 from Israel, 4 from Palestine, 4 from Indonesia and 4 from the USA, including:

David, 19, USA; this is his first time out of the US. His brother is in the military which has shaped his views and perceptions.

Matan, 21, Israel;  a liberal, secular, ex Israeli Defence Force (IDF) intelligence. Matan announced at the start of the week that her philosophy, and reason for coming on the programme, was “to give myself a true opportunity to doubt what I know and what I was raised on.” Afterwards she said “I felt I was able to be open and vulnerable (because of the group dynamics), which is essential in order to doubt yourself.” Matan was one of the big personalities of the group and constantly questioned everything.

As well as the team and confidence building oudoor activities, workshops included the always challenging Where do you stand? Here are some of the comments from participants about this workshop:


• It was challenging, and the most genuine
• The debates allowed people to take a stand with the permission of changing it if convinced
• Covered lots of topics and created great conversation. Developed abilities to understand others’ points of view
• Helped me learn how sure I am of my opinions, and understand much better other participants’ perspectives
• People said their opinions on controversial issues.
• Opened me up to many interesting views.

How the programme changed people:

73% agreed that we talked about issues they wanted to discuss, 77% agreed that they developed their confidence in communicating with new people and all of them agreed they learnt about different perspectives and world views.

When rating their confidence in interacting with people from different cultures, backgrounds and religions before and after the programme, 68% recorded an increase in confidence. 68% recorded an increase in their confidence in their own identity, but the biggest increase (73%) was reported in their confidence in their own ability to make a positive change in their community.

Here is a summary of the changes participants wanted to make in their own lives as a result of the programme:

• “Not to believe everything, but to research to make more informed opinions.”
• “Work on improving relationships with people of different backgrounds to gain an understanding of their views.”
• “Embrace my culture and ethnicity to learn about my personal history.”
• “Work on being more patient in certain situations.”
• “Be more informed about happenings around the world.”
• “Challenge media perceptions with more informed, first hand accounts of global events.”
• “Develop an appreciation for the wider world”
• “Be more open-minded.”
• “To learn the Arabic language.”
• “Develop my critical thinking.”

And changes they want to make in their communities:


• “Work with the Syracuse Women's Leadership Initiative to get more interfaith speakers on campus.”
• “Deliver workshops/ sessions around conflict resolution in schools.”
• “Work with refugees in Syracuse to make transition better.”
• “Actively work to connect university students with the city.”
• “Create interfaith events and interactions.”
• “Conduct a social experiment – Filmed Q&A in my local city centre.”
• “Volunteer in a multicultural school.”
• “Community cohesion football tournament.”
• “Homeless tea and lunch drop-ins.”

As part of the evaluation of the programme, participants were asked to tell us about a stereotype that was challenged. Here are some of the responses:

"The Culture and Identity workshop gave me the opportunity to share and listen to different viewpoints. I can appreciate different struggles and equally address my own. I understand and empathise for the things I take for granted."

"I felt that people from Israel and Palestine were not going to be open to communicating about the struggles and situations, and also thought my opinion would have been invalid. But I was so wrong… people (humans) are amazing, all we need is a chance and a bit of courage to communicate with each other."

"How Christians live their life. Movies showed that they have no moral behaviours or restrictions. However, I met many Christians here; they were all kind, respectful and impressive."

We are not alone in believing that the Encompass international programme is making a difference to young peoples lives. A few of our donors agree so strongly that they have agreed to match any donation you give until the end of May 2016. Please do donate today to make sure that programmes, like our international programme, can continue to make a huge difference to community cohesion and peace in the world.

Programme workshop
Programme workshop
Planning exercise
Planning exercise
The group!
The group!

It was such a delight to travel to the beautiful campus of the University of Westminster in Harrow to meet with the Encompass Trust. They have just moved to this new office space from Syracuse, New York and the university here is very welcoming and generous in providing them support in every way. 

Our visit began with a very comprehensive introduction on the broad canvas of work Encompass is doing to challenge stereotypes and create social inclusion among young people from different walks of life. Their signature international programme conducted in Wales is life-changing. Many of their participants, after undergoing an intense week of team-building exercise and knowledge workshops, have shown a highly positive transformation in their attitudes towards people of other cultural, religious and racial backgrounds. Testimonials of participants have proved the effectiveness of the programme and many of the outstanding participants have now become changemakers and leaders in the Trust and the Youth Board, spreading the message of peace and love to the next generation. 

Their UK programmes, an extension of their international programme, are also doing really well and have a lot of ambitious plans to expand their scope of work in the UK soil. The Bridge Programme Schools Pilot, which rolled out at the end of 2015, has now joined forces with four schools to educate youngsters on citizenship and Britishness. They are also in the process of finalising the content of their Music Pilot Programme, hoping to engage with and raise awareness among young people using the language of music.

What impressed us the most was the massive support network Encompass has built with other NGOs across the UK, as well as their different branches across the globe, which they have strong ties with and often collaborate closely to ensure that young people who are particularly vulnerable to isolation and discrimination receive the best form of assistance and guidance 24/7. 

All these impactful work and effort are not without challenges, however. With several exciting endeavours on the top of their agenda, funding becomes a critical factor in determining the pace and the scale of implementing the projects. Recruiting the right types of participants to join their programmes are also not as easy as it may seem. Encompass strives to handpick a good mix of people in order to maximise the cultural exchange between participants. 

All in all, the two of us had a lovely morning with the Encompass team and we really appreciate the opportunity to know that some people out there have such big hearts to change the world, hoping to bring back shared humanity and kindness into our everyday lives. We do hope that our little contribution can assure donors that they are doing the right thing to stand behind Encompass financially and emotionally. Our words here cannot do justice to their fantastic work, so for any potential donors, please check their project pages as well as their website to learn more about their inspiring journey. 

The Feb 16 international programme group!
The Feb 16 international programme group!

Wow! Another Journey of Understanding complete and what a journey it has been! So many inspirational young people from across the globe with such varied and wonderful stories and life experiences to share. 24 young people from five countries, including Israel, Palestine, the US, Indonesia and the UK travelled to Snowdonia, Wales, for a week of workshops addressing issues such as identity, community, stereotype and conflict; with the aim of developing their understanding of others and giving them the skills to become advocates of lasting change.

It really has been a genuinely rich an vibrant programme and we hope this zeal and enthusiasm continue far, far beyond this last week in sunny Wales.

I was amongst many who attended the end of programme Showcase Ceremony which took place last Monday night at one of University of Westminster’s central London campuses. It was an event not to be missed, and an excellent chance to see, first-hand, how Encompass programmes change young people’s lives for the better. Special speakers included Georgia Hardie, who had previously gone on an Encompass programme and has been volunteering with us ever since. She has previously won a major Prince’s Trust Award and inspired our new participants with her enthusiasm and personal achievements. Then long-term Encompass supporter and lay-preacher David Eagle, explained why he supported Encompass and why he felt motivated to share our good work with others in churches in his local area of Epsom, Surrey.

Programme participants were asked questions such as ‘When you were packing for the programme, how did you feel?’, which generally was answered with ‘nervous and excited’! The key question of ‘Has it changed your view of someone else or challenged any stereotypes’ was met with a resounding ‘yes!’

Challenge to Change #challengetochange

Participants were supported to develop their own ‘Challenge to Change’ and we can report that some excellent ideas came out of this.

Personal Challenges

Some of the personal challenges that participants have highlighted in their own words are as follows;


• “Not to believe everything, but to research to make more informed opinions.”
• “Work on improving relationships with people of different backgrounds to gain an understanding of their views.”
• “Embrace my culture and ethnicity to learn about my personal history.”
• “Work on being more patient in certain situations.”
• “Be more informed about happenings around the world.”
• “Challenge media perceptions with more informed, first-hand accounts of global events.”
• “Develop an appreciation for the wider world”
• “Be more open-minded.”
• “Learn the Arabic language.”
• “Develop my critical thinking.”

Changes

Further to and beyond the personal challenges, participates planned some excellent projects to further the work and ethos of Encompass and all that they leant on their Journey. Here are some of their ideas;

“Work with the Syracuse (University) Women's Leadership Initiative to get more interfaith speakers on campus.”
• “Deliver workshops/ sessions around conflict resolution in schools.”
• “Work with refugees in Syracuse to make transition better.”
• “Actively work to connect university students with the city.”
• “Create interfaith events and interactions.”
• “Conduct a social experiment – Filmed Q&A in my local city centre.”
• “Volunteer in a multicultural school.”
• “Community cohesion football tournament.”
• “Homeless tea and lunch drop-ins.”

At Encompass we are striving to work hard to empower young people to not only be, but too make the positive change they hope to see in society. Our work would not be possible without the generous donations of our supporters. Please help us to continue our work to make this world a more cohesive and peaceful place to be, by donating today.

Workshop discussion time
Workshop discussion time
 

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Organization Information

Encompass - The Daniel Braden Reconciliation Trust

Location: Harrow, Greater London - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​www.encompasstrust.org
Project Leader:
Jason Bowles
London, United Kingdom

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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