THE BRAVEST VOICE CAN LIVE IN THE SMALLEST BODY

Publié 12 mars 2014 no picture Incubating Change

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“When I was a child, I spoke as a child,

I understood as a child, I thought as a child,

But when I became I man,

I put childish things away “ 1-Corinthians 13:11

Will, 6 years old, is an amazing little boy. Unable to ignore some of society’s most pressing issues such as homelessness and hunger, he felt compelled to act, do something for others, different from him but also just like him. Will Lourcey started, along with some friends, an organization he called FROGs, standing for Friends Reaching Our Goals, to raise money and help people suffering from hunger. I don’t personally know Will, I have never met him, I just read about him…but I had, we had, the opportunity to meet other exceptional children.

As part of the Incubating Change Sense Tour, which aims at mapping the social entrepreneurship ecosystem and promoting social entrepreneurship, we launched a program called Children for Change. Obviously we’re not dealing with the topic of social entrepreneurship when interacting with children. Many would ask, so why do you work with children if that’s not about social entrepreneurship? I would reply that we truly believe in the power of children to change things! We deeply believe that children are aware of the numerous issues surrounding them and that it is absolutely possible to unleash their potential to drive change in their community! Aren’t they tomorrow’s leaders? Entrepreneurs? Social entrepreneurs? Changemakers?

So far we’ve worked with two schools in Kathmandu and the results are brilliant! Children are impressive; totally responsive and really willing to change things around them! As someone told me once: the bravest voice can live in the smallest body! That’s what I could witness while working with these children. Our policy has always been: facilitate, inspire but do not suggest either make choices for them. Indeed, what we want them to do is to come up with their own issues, solutions and implement them without any help…and in their very own way! I think we pretty much managed to stick to that point! Believe it or not, children are quite surprising. They are much more aware of what is happening than we assume!

Okay, Tuesday 2 pm, we have to run into the classroom. We just got into the room, again with a bit of apprehension, but this time we have history right? I mean, last time with the other school it went okay so it should be fine too, right? Some twenty five boys and girls were just sitting there, in front of us, with their eyes wide open. After a round of introduction and some let’s-get-to-know-each-other-better activities, we could really start the session! After only a few minutes of brainstorming they came up with at least ten issues surrounding them. Among which was gang violence, drug issues and gambling! Again a bit of apprehension because what if they choose gang violence? I don’t know if that’s going to be easy… Of course, that was in my head! However, what happened next was not in MY head, it was totally real. After a few minutes of reflecting and weighting the pros and cons, they were so committed and motivated to work on the not-less-easier issue of caste discrimination. We were so impressed and stunned, standing there in front of a 25-student classroom looking at us and maintaining that they had to work on caste discrimination “to bring awareness” since “it was not fair” and that “people had the same rights” and “should learn to live together.” Great! So we will work on caste discrimination. I mean you will work on it!

Next Friday, back to school for the second session to work on the process of finding a solution. Their solution to shed a light on the issue of caste discrimination was to go down on the streets and organize a rally! Sure, good idea! But how will you do that? After an hour working on the details and defining the when, where, what, who….they came up with their own plan…like real project managers! Okay guys, so the rally will take place on February 28th! That is in only a week!? Are you sure you’ll be ready? Sure!

Same place, one week after. Before going inside, we were like “I mean, they’ve done already a lot so it’s fine if they just have one sign.” True, we were already so impressed and proud of them, I mean I hadn’t even seen as many adults in my whole life standing up for what they thought was right and in line with their values. So no matter what they had come up with, that should be fine. But it was beyond that! As we walked inside the school, they were all rushing, running from one side of the courtyard to the other and giggling. What was happening? They had prepared hundreds of flyers to denounce caste discrimination, made dozens of signs with different slogans, brought a microphone and speakers to be heard and had prepared some slogans to chant!! They even had their own internal “police” to make sure no one would endanger the plan previously established. Once they judged that everything was ready (especially after checking that they had actually brought enough water bottles J -trust me, they would need them) and that we should get going, we followed them on the itinerary that they had thought about, like toy soldiers. What we hadn’t imagined is that actually true soldiers or at least the police would escort the rally to make sure that everything would be smooth! The whole time we walked they kept on chanting the slogans they had designed. They kept chanting in unison the whole time and carrying the speakers which actually had lost a wheel along the way! I think people were stunned and amazed to see such small people achieve such a big thing, at least if that’s not true for them it was for us.

"When I was a child, I spoke as a child,

I understood as a child, I thought as a child,

But when I became I man,

I put childish things away,”

But what I will retain from this is that a child has the ability to show to the man just like the sun can show us the day. The only thing we have to do is listen to their voice, but will we?


children youth education changemakers




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