Bring 24 young ambassadors together for peace

by Encompass - The Daniel Braden Reconciliation Trust
Indonesian participants have their prep day!
Indonesian participants have their prep day!

Welcome to the latest update from Encompass Trust, on the progress of our international programmes. We are delighted to tell you that the next international programme (February 2016) is nearly here. We have been recruiting participants over the last few months and are nearly there in terms of the 24 required to make sure that the programme is diverse and engaging.

The programme is taking place at the Plas Gwynant Outdoor Education Centre in Snowdonia, North Wales; a venue that Encompass has used many times before. The staff and facilities are excellent and highly tailored to enable us to run the workshops and team-building activities that are so important to the success of our programmes.

Each programme cohort includes:

Eight young people from the UK. Why? Because the UK is diverse, yet often communities are closed in a sense that many live side by side but not mixing in multi-cultural activities. And of course in the UK, as of much of Western Europe, there has been a dark undertone of right wing scaremongering against new peoples and asylum seekers.

Four young people from the US. Why? - Because the US is diverse, but often communities live separate lives, and because the US is such an enormous country, many young people don't get to travel outside of their country to experience other cultures first-hand.

Four young people from Israel. Why? - Because Israel and some of its neighbours are living side by side in a state of tension and hatred.

Four young people from Palestine. Why? - Because Palestine and its neighbour Israel live in constant mistrust and fear of each other.

Four young people from Indonesia. Why? - Because Indonesia is diverse yet often sees internal religious conflict. It is of course, also the home of the Bali bombers, who planted the bomb that killed Daniel Braden, in whose name Encompass was set up.

Planning

Over the past few months, Programme Development Officer Sahdia Khan and Facilitator Helen Bartlett have been meeting regularly to plan the Feb 2016 international programme and we can safely say that they have settled on a robust and powerful programme of activities and workshops, aimed at addressing themes of identity, community, stereotype and conflict. The programme runs over a week and each day is very full of activities. At the end of the week the participants get to take part in a 'Take-over Day', where they have the opportunity to be the facilitators themselves. This gives them valuable prospect enhancing skills.

Programme Officer Sahdia, said about the programme, "We are so excited that it's nearly here. Each programme is unique and we aim to keep the activities structured yet flexible. For example, a few years ago it was necessary to change one of the days around because of events that occurred in the Middle East. It shows how relevant our programmes are. They aim to tackle real issues in a safe and secure setting."

Thank you for your support for Encompass. Look out for our next report when we will be sharing all that happened on the February programme.

Team bonding on a previous international programme
Team bonding on a previous international programme
One of the training rooms at Plas Gwynant
One of the training rooms at Plas Gwynant

Thank you for your support for our work. It's all systems go as we plan our next international programme here at Encompass! Programme Development Officer Sahdia Khan has already booked the venue - Plas Gwynant Outdoor Education Centre in Snowdonia, North Wales - and we've had many applications from young people who want to take part in the programme.

The event will take place in February/March 2016 and involve 26 young people aged 18-25 from the UK, Indonesia, Israel, Palestine and the US. The aims of the programme are to support young people from different backgrounds and cultures to understand each other better, and to give young people the skills and confidence to promote intercultural understanding in their own communities.

The next international programme will include outdoor activities that are designed to bring groups together, to work as a team and build trust between individuals. Workshops give participants the chance to explore themes around identity, community, conflict and stereotypes and will include small and large group work, games and facilitated discussions. Towards the end of the programme young people will benefit from facilitation training and run their own workshops for other participants. This will give them the skills and confidence to use their Encompass experience to benefit their own communities after the programme.

Programme Development Officer Sahdia, has been meeting with facilitator Helen Bartlett, in order to review previous feedback from workshops and develop new ones, having also spent the whole year looking for new ideas and training plans.

As you can image, it takes a while to recruit young people from five countries and it’s only those from the US (who are based in London for a semester at Syracuse University London Campus), and those from the UK, that we can recruit and interview directly ourselves here in London. We rely on the great skills of our three international co-ordinators for our recruitment in Israel, Palestine and Indonesia. As a sneak preview, we are delighted to tell you that we've had 135 young people from Indonesia apply to take part in our next international programme so we have a BIG task of narrowing this group down to just four participants!

Sahdia said, "It's a busy time for us here at Encompass. Programme preparation isn’t easy. As well as co-ordinating the recruitment of all participants, the training venue needs booking and workshops need to be planned and developed. But once it’s all done, the participants arrive at Heathrow from five countries and different communities, cultures and religions, we can’t help but think it's all been worthwhile! That’s when the real work starts!"  

Previous international programme activities
Previous international programme activities
Bhinneka Camp! (Bhinneka means unity in English)
Bhinneka Camp! (Bhinneka means unity in English)

Expanding unity, celebrating diversity

Thank you for supporting our work, which aims to bring about better understanding and unity between diverse communities, cultures and religions around the world.

In this update I am delighted to tell you about an exciting project that our friends at Encompass Indonesia are planning. Encompass Indonesia is hoping to be at the forefront of a new era of cooperation between Southeast Asian nations.

This year, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) entered a new era of collaboration between its members – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. This means a more fluid flow of products, services, workforce and investment.

However many worry that, in reality, this will highlight long term friction between some member countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia and Thailand and Cambodia. Encompass Indonesia wants to do something about this! They are planning a new project which will mirror the Encompass international Journey of Understanding of which many Indonesian young people have already taken part in, together with Palestinians, Israelis, Americans and British.

Each of the ASEAN member countries will be given the chance to send three participants aged 18-23 on to the nine day programme to be hosted in Indonesia. Objectives of the programme will be as follows:

  • To empower participants as leaders of inter-community cohesion
  • To allow participants to address the various stereotypes and prejudices and building respect between diverse communities
  • To build self-esteem and confidence
  • To provide an ideas forum

Encompass’ roots are in the Bali bombing of 2002 and so Indonesia has been central to the organisation since its inception. Encompass Indonesia was established as an organisation in its own right in Indonesia in 2011, and is based in Malang (on Java), a town heavily populated with students.   They have a very strong and active group of volunteers as well as an excellent staff team.  

The key figure at Encompass Indonesia has been Heroe Soeprapto who initially ran a youth pioneer organisation called YEPE which Encompass began working alongside. Heroe has ceded control to his daughter, Adhitya Putri – a 24 year old Indonesian film star – but remains the guiding hand whilst on twice-weekly kidney dialysis. The other key player is Bambang Sarasno who is heavily into music and arts and uses his skills to run programmes on behalf of Encompass Indonesia.

Putri said about the plan to roll out their work with ASEAN countries, “We are very keen to get this project going and think that we can make an enormous difference.”

Other Encompass Indonesia projects have included:

  • A Children’s Art competition where Encompass Indonesia alumni visited 75 schools in the Malang area to get children (ages 5 – 17) to take part in an art competition under the heading ‘Harmony in Diversity’. It was supported by the local Arts Council and hundreds turned up on a Saturday to take part.
  • Metamorphosa - A music and dance workshop/festival/competition bringing young people from across Indonesia, notably from some of the areas where there is conflict and/or discord with other parts of the country (Aceh, Papua). Musicians’ form Papua were amazed at being able to take part in something where they were accepted as normal, listened to and appreciated and not treated as sub-human and a joke, as is their usual status in Indonesia.
  • Their own local programme Bhinneka (meaning unity) Camp
  • Encompass goes to school – alumni going into schools to run workshops and talk about the Encompass message

Encompass Indonesia are currently working hard to make the new ASEAN project a reality. They are building networks of contacts and sourcing sponsorship. If you feel that you can help at all, please do let us know. Support for this work is vital -  both financial and in kind.

Thanks again for your support for our work.

Bhinneka Camp workshop
Bhinneka Camp workshop
Planning for a workshop on tackling conflict
Planning for a workshop on tackling conflict
Bhinneka Camp
Bhinneka Camp
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
 

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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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