To efficiently work in a social environment, in an organization that offers social services, you have to be able to understand the pain of others, to have the capacity to look for solutions to help them and offer the adequate services that respond to real needs. The work with disadvantages groups require a high level of empathy and it is thought that all those that work in NGOs have it very developed, but the practice and direct contact with this world has shown the contrary. A lot of people are not empathetic or don’t know how to show it.
Empathy is a learned ability and it is developed through continues practice. There are people that are born empathetic. They can feel the pain of others and can put themselves in another’s’ shoes without any difficulty. But for the majority, empathy is a challenge.
- Learning about their level of empathy
- Developing the ability of empathy though active listening, deciphering messages, verbal and non-verbal communication.
- Familiarize with tools to address conflicts with empathy
- Familiarize with invisible theater – elements, structure and its utility
- Developing cultural competences and working in multicultural environments
- Increasing tolerance and accepting diversity
- Improving the level of English, both formal and informal, but also the knowledge of the languages of the other participants present at the course
- Networking between the NGOs represented in the project
Period: 01.01.2015 – 30.09.2015
Location: Tenerife, Spain
Direct beneficiaries: 27 participants (decision takers, project coordinators, association directors, EVS coordinators, youth workers, trainers and volunteers) from 9 European countries (Croatia, Czech Republic, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Spain)
Training course, 08.06.2015 – 15.06.2015, where the participants developed their own intra-personal and inter-personal intelligence. They increased their empathy level and learned methods and techniques to achieve it.
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At the headquarters of Ipazia NGO Andrea, participant in the TC and the manager of the NGO, held 2 short workshops on empathy and social theatre to approx. 10 of the NGO’s volunteers and members.
On June 26th of 2015 there were made several activities learned in Tenerife:
– give a personal definition of what empathy is
– exercise in which two volunteers had to find, only observing, certain aspects of the life of the partner
– statues: where one of the participants represented, with the help of the other participants, a moment of life narrated by the partner; the two teams had to understand the event and the emotions at stake.
On the 27th of June each participant has exchanged with the group personal stories and the best was chosen to be represented in a theatrical scene with the aim of liberating the oppressed figure through greater empathy by supporting roles of the scene, replacing with members of the second group to find a solution to the situation of oppression.
The workshop ended with the programming performance of invisible theater taking place in the city center of Imperia.
The non-formal group, Euroteam organized two meetings. The first meeting with other youth workers and team leaders was held on Wednesday, 24th June and the second meeting with young volunteers was held on Friday 26th June.
At the first meeting the Czech participant of the training course Martin presented the information about the project meeting, talked about the activities carried out and methods that were used during sessions.
At the second meeting all three Czech participants presented the project activities, methods used and the photo-documentation and video-documentation from the project meeting to 6 young volunteers cooperating with Euroteam. Some of the energizers and several activities held during the sessions that were connected with the topic of empathy were presented and practiced.
On Sunday, 28th of June, in Kazanlak, during the closing event of ABLE Mentor, Velin, one of the Bulgarian participants in the TC, presented what empathy means. There were 15-20 people on this event, most of them volunteers and people who turn out that not many knew what empathy means and some people even had wrong understanding about it. He summarized what was done during the training, showed them some energizers and games that we can use during the training. He introduced them the concept of Invisible Theater and explained his experience.
Shirin Amin, participant at “The path to empathy”, shared the learned tools and methods learned with the members of Champions Factory Sports Club on 1st July 2015 in Sofia. At the meeting participated 4 of the most active members of the NGO. She spent in total 5h30min, presenting the agenda of “The path to empathy”, the organizers and trainers team and the workshops, especially the theatre exercises, which they practiced outdoor. The team discussed also how they can put those tools into practice in their daily work with youngsters.
During a project they organized in Split, Croatia, in July 2015 they included in the agenda a workshop where they made a short presentation about extra-sensorial communication and the processes of inclusion, exclusion, segregation and separation in addition of topics about people with disabilities.
They also made workshops about invisible theatre/action and flash mob and use the chance to present to their staff and members as well and the participants all the new methods and skills which they learned and develop during the training course in Tenerife.
After the TC ‘Path to Empathy’ in Tenerife Latvian team organized in June 2015 two separate events. One event was meant to be a presentation, which was addressed to our volunteers and staff. And another event was organized in close-to nature country house in order to talk about possible use of methods in the current and future projects.
The Lithuanian team – Jaunius, Benita and Julija, have introduced what they have learned during the Empathy training course to the staff of two organizations, which are working with youth and teenagers. To partner NGO “Psichologinių idėjų namai” and another – NGO “Teen Challenge Free Will”, which are working with drug addict youth. This presentation was attended by twelve people and it took about two and half hours, that included a summary of all the sessions and activities from the training course in Tenerife and some of the simple exercises were done:
1. Empathy characterization
2. Exercise in pairs with observation and interpretation
3. Exercise “Who I am”
4. Emotions expression exercise “One, two, three – four, five, six”.
5. Exercise “Follow the hand”.
6. Exercise “7 love touches”.
7. Exercise “Main values in life” which comes from exercise “Who I am”.
There was also a detailed description about extra sensorial exercises, invisible action and invisible theater.
On 2nd July 2015 in the office of Outward Bound Croatia from Zagreb the 3 participants held a presentation and workshop addressed to 12 of the NGO’s staff members and current EVS volunteers, where they shared their experience and showed some methods learned during the training course from Tenerife.
On the 2nd of July 2015 an info session about the Erasmus+ Program and the training course “The Path to EMPATHY” was organized in Bucharest, addressed to a group of approx. 10 youth workers and volunteers of Bumerang Association and Human Synergetics Romania. The workshop included information about the project’s objectives and in progress results; the methodology used during the training course based on non-formal tools and methods: Energizers, Team building activities, Improvisation exercises, Invisible Theatre, Labyrinth Theatre and also debates about empathy and the preparation of one Invisible Act in Bucharest.
At the beginning of September 2015 Bumerang Association organized in Prahova a workshop of 1 hour and a half about empathy, where 18 people attended – members of the association and theatre students.
On the 9th of July, during one of the preparatory meetings for the youth exchange movIeT, with the assistance of 4 of the volunteers of the NGO, we addressed the strategy of inclusion of the Program Erasmus+, with a focus on intercultural communication, acceptance of diversity, tolerance and empathy. We made the game Abigail, played a video about the difference between empathy and sympathy, related it to Erasmus+ projects and presented the TC about empathy we organized.
Visibility online of the project:
Zdruzenie za volonterizam VOLONTERSKI CENTAR BITOLA