International NVC Workshop
“First call for children — stand on my own two feet”
Ruhpolding, 7th – 17th October 2014
During the fourth workshop 2014 “First Call for children — stand on my own two feet” in October 2014 we succeeded in inviting four further street children. It was no easy task to get passports and visa if parents‘ names, their date of birth or their names are not known.
They told us shocking stories, how they came on board, separated from friends and were forced to serve in brothels without passport or money. Dignity and humanity did not play any role, this became obvious in Ruhpolding.
These young people are working as street workers now. They seem to be authentic, helpful and they understand the circumstances their protégées are living in. In our workshop they learnt even more intensely to listen with empathy and carry this ability back into the streets.
One of the other participants, Paul, is professor of philosophy at the University of Cebu City. At night he distributes condoms in red light quarters. He explains for some of them the way into the “Drop in Centre” where they are given help and are shown how to quit the scene. Tenderly he calls these children: students at the university of life.
Most of those participants who have already attended our workshops before are working more and more in the field of NVC. They form a network and can thus deepen their NVC consciousness.
Anand is a former street child. His body is very flexible and fast as he used to live of stealing in the past. Today he studies Dancing in Germany. He dances for the other participants, once in a violent and then in a peaceful way. Anand first heard of NVC in Ruhpolding in 2010. After he organized his own workshop in India: after the workshop ten out of the 50 children wanted to attend school.
Anand continues his work dancing. Back in their home country the participants from India have invited each other to continue with NVC projects together. The network is growing. Anand will be there, dancing violently and peacefully.
Prien’s gospel choir had rehearsed songs from Kenia for the ecumenical mass – and everybody was joining in: a Jewish woman and a Muslim, a bishop and a former prostitute. Everybody was part of a unity.
When we visited Rotary Club neither NVC was being talked about nor did we ask for money. We celebrated together because so many people take care of others and actively want to change the circumstances. We got a hearty feedback from the men in suits and ties.
The course of the day went like this: In the morning we started with interactions taken from cooperative adventure games to convey NVC in a playful way. We were excited, had fun and laughed a lot — even the bishop who skidded to the other riverbank in a beer crate — together with the nun. With this game I could explain the difference between strategy and need and I hope I could explain this in a way which will be useful for the participants when working with the children at home.
Afterwards we all met to talk about the topic of the day. Only then we separated into four groups. The trainers were Klaus Karstädt (D), Edelgard Kopp (CH), Dunia Hategekimana (RW), Christian Rajendram (LK) and me (D). Doris Schwab attended as assistant for a few days. There were various candidates in the process of certification.
When Sam from Kenia held a walnut carefully in his hands before opening and eating it this reminded me suddenly of the fact how rare food can be in some areas of the world.
It was my intention to also work with the topic of self-support in this course. That is why we visited a school farm for half a day (Jahncke Farm in Manholding) and learnt about “From egg to noodle” and “From grain to bread”. I got the idea from a woman of a township, who has a bakery. I wanted to show the participants that they can feed their children with small means and do a step into independence at the same time. They don’t have to beg anymore but can sustain themselves with dignity.
This was also the main topic of the workshop: Stand on your own two feet. Don’t just look at Europe for money but stand on your own feet! There are so many resources around you, get active. And when you can take care of yourself, then you can also take care of others.
On the last day of the workshop we asked the participants to reflect their impressions.
We quote three of them representatively for the others:
“Change starts with me. One step at a time. We sometimes feel what we do is like a drop of water in an ocean, but that ocean would not have been without the drop of water.”
“The seminar made more cracks in my life. Happily enough, the cracks made more sunlight come in, I see myself better.”
“This workshop helped me to meet my need for clarity and autonomy, and I am satisfied and happy for it. This is a life changing experience which helps in every moment of personal and professional life, giving a spiritual touch one can never forget.”