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Empathy in schools should be as important as Algebra or Subject Verb Agreements.


Reblogged from another Protsahan blog:

“Yes. I am passing days fighting my emotions everyday. Yes, I’m a warrior of self created blindfolds. Yes, I’m trying to find my way. Yes, I’m tired of thinking and trying to make the best out of my life. Maybe, I’ve forgotten the importance of feelings, the importance of emotions and the importance of human relationships. Maybe…Just Maybe”

In today’s fast paced world, children are made to learn numbers and theories while adults lead a life devoid of real moments to treasure. Life is turning into a rat race with humanity losing meaning.
It’s not just the marginalised sections and under privileged sections we look past with cold-disturbing ignorance but even our own peers sometimes. Are we losing the essence of living? Are we getting choked in the rut of existing dogmas and views? Are we losing the race of life in the endeavour to win the race of our egos and green paper?
Maybe we are. Maybe we need to connect back to our soul. Maybe we need to strongly reach out and awaken emotions like love and empathy within our selves. Maybe…
If maybe is “to be”, we pro-actively need to create an environment of positivity and growth, a healthy approach towards respecting human freedom while preserving indispensable foundations like “understanding people and their emotions”, helping others gain foothold and live a life of dignity, encourage and enthuse the zest for living into disheartened souls. Yes. The importance of empathy needs to be recognised and built upon. This has to be activated in primary levels at schools and need to grow onto colleges and organizations with the due importance it deserves.

At Protsahan, we work for street children and commercial sex workers/ sexually abused/drug abused children. We started with ART and COLORS and LOVE. Curricula only came later. That is the exact very reason how Protsahan has been able to touch a cord across the world, with volunteers and organizations alike.

Sonal, Founder CEO, PROTSAHAN India Foundation says, “Empathy in school curricula should be as important as Algebra or subject verb agreements. Else what are we trying to give our children? Rote education? Who scores how much on percentile terms/grades? Creativity cannot be forced when pressures of getting 97.854567% makes one get admitted or rejected in “colleges of repute”. Creativity will happen with open minds, with empathy, with respect for differences.”

“One time at Protsahan, we got two special girl children who could not speak or hear, and had never been to a school. It was difficult to get them straight to numbers and alphabets. We did a ‘Coffee on Warli’ workshop. We made huge paintings and drawings with “coffee powder”. They couldn’t listen or speak, but they could smell the aroma wafting from their drawings. We’ve never seen them as excited about things ever. Empathy can do wonders. This is empathy.”

Ashoka is launching a global initiative to ensure that children master empathy, enabling them to be effective citizens, leaders and trailblazers.

Protsahan India Foundation is partnering with Ashoka Changemakers in this initiative. To be a part of this contest, enter nominate and spread the word.

You could also share your comments and views with us on how empathy can be fostered at schools using your own creative ideas!

-Madhusha Dash

Official Blogger

Protsahan India Foundation

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Comments (1)

May I suggest a further resource to learn more about empathy and compassion.
The Center for Building a Culture of Empathy
The Culture of Empathy website is the largest internet portal for resources and information about the values of empathy and compassion. It contains articles, conferences, definitions, experts, history, interviews,  videos, science and much more about empathy and compassion.

I’ve also interviewed many of the people involved in the Ashoka empathy project. see
How to Nurture, Foster and Teach Empathy in the Education System?

I’d like to interview you as well. contact me at:
One on one Skype Video Interviews
Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion

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