International NVC Workshop
“First call for children – train the trainer”
Ruhpolding, 17th – 26th October 2022


17th October, Ruhpolding, Germany: At 5 pm, the first batch of participants arrives for the 7th workshop “First call for children”. They and their followers some hours later are coming from three different continents and live for ten days in Ruhpolding, in the awareness of NVC, Nonviolent Communication.
All 49 participants have one in common: They work with children.
As teachers, school directors, in orphanages and boarding schools for children, daycare center, organizations to empower girls, organizations with family planning and contraception, universities, children learning center via sports, several ministries, friends of the poor.
Former children living in the streets — now as the developed students of the “university of life” — are sitting side by side with university members, priests, doctors, and youth, and bring in their various living environments. Different cultures and images of others do not matter anymore.

One participant: “Thank you for bringing together people from various cultures and beliefs in this space where we can share and learn from one another. I am delighted to be reconnected with some participants and to meet new people. I like this: bridging people together and journeying with them in nonviolent communication.”


Five certified trainer offer sessions in NVC from basics to advanced level: Amina Mambuay Philippines, Jacqueline Muller, USA, Gabriele Grunt, Austria, Eva-Johanna Rosa, Germany, Gitta Zimmermann, Germany, and the dancer and assistant Lina Schindler, Austria.
About half of the participants are here in this Ruhpolding family for the first time and integrate easily. We offer basics in NVC as well as advanced sessions, and certification candidates have a chance to present own views of NVC. For me, the cooperation in the trainer team is in a flow. Only at the end when three trainers get Covid, I get exhausted and feel kind of overwhelmed.

I like to let speak the participants for themselves.

Paul, a priest from the Philippines, participated for several workshops before. And this is his statement now: “…my personal and heartfelt thanks for initiating and continuously supporting Intensive NVC training, participated by people from different cultures, colors, and traditions. Paul, a little ´browny, is one of them… It took me years and many repeated trainings in the Philippines and at Ruhpolding till I have heartily valued NVC as a way of life so that all our outreaches for the poor and the marginalized are ‘needs-based’.
Now I am back in the Philippines with almost all my Saturdays and some Sundays in November and December full of NVC Basic Trainings. The participants are the parents and their children we have been helping to meet their needs for education and others.
Interestingly, the University of Southern Philippines Incorporated requested us to facilitate NVC trainings for their students and teachers starting with the College of Social Work. (…) Some of the students from the University of Cebu are also joining. Hopefully, some seeds of NVC at the University of San Carlos may grow.”


Our day starts with dancing led by Lina, a professional dancer, she guides us in movement and some inner flexibility — one of the important presumptions for living NVC, in my view.
In the evening we listen to the presentation of the participants projects, which include NVC in most of the cases. We exchange challenges, plan, and celebrate next steps.
One evening, Toni Salas, another priest from the Philippines and participant at the Ruhpolding workshops from day one, offered a mass with the local priest in the Bavarian church for all: Hindus, Moslems, Buddhists, Christians, natural religion. Toni does not talk about “sinners” and “evil” and the “bad” in the world. He points to the strength of each individual and just includes NVC in his sermon in a — for me — joyful and meaningful way.
In closing, we are singing the song “Oh wie wohl ist mir am Abend” with the local present parish, together with the trombone choir. During the workshop, Eva tought us this song, and going home from the church and still today in some emails, the participants refer to “Bim Bam, Bim Bam” out of this song as a reference to our resonant time together in Ruhpolding. For me it was a very impressive, warm atmosphere to sit in a Bavarian church, singing a German song with people from many different cultures, religions, skin colors, and life experiences. It felt connected deeply to all of them.

Two participants come from the orphanage in the Philippines. 18 children are brought up in the awareness of nonviolence since 2013 by Amina, who in the meantime became a certified NVC trainer, and her daughter Sarah. What I like most is that one is 22 years old now, goes to high school and states: “I want to stay in the Arche Noah house, because this is my home” — what an appreciation for all who are involved in this way of living.


One event is very important to me: The game trainer Amelie Funke plays with us for two days, with reference to NVC — a further component of multidimensional learning. Or some games are offered just in the sense of having fun, joy, and lightness, and are open to an own application with the children at home, and to work out some own NVC nuggets — if wanted.
During this weekend, an absolute highlight for me is the show “Mafia goes NVC”.
All participants have different roles either as program director, as a commercial team, as a western team, or as crime team — all play their role in front of a “Mafia boss” who is interested in NVC. The results for me are unbelievably intensive, authentic, and unique. And funny. I still smile and enjoy the creativity in an “NVCereal” with grains of connection, love and warmth in a big bowl or a woolen heart, used as an empathic scan for a ‘disconnected’ patient.
I have the impression that the actors do not only play, they truly are the characters. For me, the depth of NVC awareness is shining through many of their presentations. These are suggestions to take home and play with their children, another way of transferring NVC, or again, just for the fun.
Old pattern in behavior can playfully be changed, an important essence in NVC.
This easy contact via games, the safe environment, and a joyful mood are preconditions for learning and preventing fear, especially for children who grew up under challenging conditions.

Brenette who has been with us the first time: “I am amazed by my NVC experience. I have never been much connected with myself and with others around me. The ‘chair of chances’ was so powerful to me. I have never imagined how conversations can truly make or break relationships and connections. After the training, I have made a commitment to engage in ‘NVC conversations’ (even just online) with trainees-turned-buddies, and they are just equally empowering. I hope that some of our plans to sustain our learning will materialize through some shared activities in the coming days…
I am sincerely grateful … for recommending me to this NVC training … and for providing me the space to not only learn NVC but the chance to live it. There is much for me to grow, and I look forward to practicing and, eventually living NVC. There may be challenges ahead since my world does not operate with NVC and I am bracing myself for it. …I will treasure this new community and I will work hard to make it count in my life.”


During some days of the workshop, it rains. “I like your weather here, the rain and the cold” stated a woman from Kenia, experiencing at home a month-long period of drought.
A visit to a farmer in Ruhpolding is especially interesting for some Massai women: the local cows supply 20 – 25 liters of milk whereas their cows gives half a liter per day.


One of my main questions in this workshop was: What are you burning for?
Some answers:

  • “for children can play and explore and not get stressed by all the obligations from the adults” (a school director).
  • “for meaning in my life and want to contribute”
  • “Open all the jails of our human beings, so that we are free from our judgments”
  • “Connecting to people through food”
  • “Amplify girl’s voices and let the girls be what they see in the mirror and not what the society thinks they should be”
  • “… that everyone has enough safe water to live and drink”

How do we harvest all these views, wishes, and ideas?
How does it go on? In the WhatsApp group participants exchange what, where and how they are including NVC in their work. We share NVC training content, NVC events, challenges in daily life, hints, books, and personal learnings, we celebrate any fulfilled need and support with empathy, ideas, plans, and insights. Right now we try to describe: What is NVC — in 60 sec.

There will be a film about this workshop with statements from participants where they experienced an inner shift through NVC in their life. And another film will be offered about the games ­­— anyone can apply it again in their own workshops in which you want to have an easy and light atmosphere.

A further quote: “Here I am connected with an NVC team, can build a network with friends who are shaped in NVC, bring it to my community, and use it in violence against girls.”


My final statement: I am challenged by the amount of work and the different “hats I wear”, and at the same time getting all the harvest during and after this training. I am happy and satisfied, and believe that every minute of work is worth it to contribute to a change of someones life.
I am thankful for all who contributed to the performance of this workshop, all humans from three different continents and different cultures who come with openness and curiosity — my view of reducing images of others and part of globalization — the trainers who bring in what they learn about NVC in a meaningful, authentic way and a big thank to all backstage workers. There are a lot. A big thank you to all.