A new reality and new opportunities

“Thank you for asking me to join the local community group, it gave me so much”, Zohra tells Ghalia. “I got to know a lot of nice people since I moved to Zeeburgereiland two years ago. I can always say hi to someone when I walk on the street.”, Guus recollects. “I really appreciated a small shelter from the rain on my way to this training”, Oldoez says. The group shared their appreciations with each other.

Last month, a group op neighbours from Zeeburgereiland and IJburg in the eastern district of Amsterdam started a SALT and CLCP facilitators training. This will be a year long collective learning journey. Four Constellation facilitators will guide the collective process of the training, the process of the sub-groups and the individual processes as the participants start using their talents and find their roles as facilitators and connectors in their local groups.

The sub-groups each have dreams of their own. More dreams will be shared in coming blogs as the collective journey unfolds. The sub-groups are: ZeeburgConnect, a neighbourhood network of residents whose dream is: “In 2025, Zeeburgereiland will be the happiest neighbourhood in Amsterdam”; A hosting team of the communal space at SET (a social housing building in IJburg for students and former refugees); and a women's group called Women's café.

After starting the first introduction day of the training, little did we know what the world had in store for us. While the coronavirus is spreading rapidly in The Netherlands, we can no longer hold physical meetings. Group gatherings are not allowed and self-quarantaine is the new normal. As the new reality sets in, we need new solutions. The facilitators decided to look for opportunities and this week we gathered the group and together decided to continue our trainings through weekly videocall sessions.

If you can’t go outside, go within. The corona situation humbles us. We are forced to re-think ours lives and re-define what is important to us. Will physical distancing give opportunity to grow as a community? How do other facilitators go about the new reality? Have you found new creative ways to connect with your community?

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Comment by iSiZ on April 7, 2020 at 6:44pm

Another nice way to stay in touch is organize a fun local corona-safe activity. Like a balcony concert with neighbours. This is taking place tomorrow evening at Zeeburgereiland. Or a neighborhood exhibition, by asking people to make a drawing and hang it on the window. Like this local organization did: https://www.vreedzaam-oost.amsterdam/kunstexpo2

Futher, we are still finding new ways of connecting as we go. We will share our findings in coming weeks here as well :) How do communities stay connected with each other in India?

Comment by iSiZ on April 7, 2020 at 6:37pm

Hi Rituu, we found that online videocalling with a group, checking-in with our local community groups is a good way to stay in touch with each other. It is the best next thing to keep seeing each other especially for our elders. A smartphone, tablet or laptop with a camera and microphone function is not luxury these days. Not all elders are equipped with this yet. We should make sure the elders have these ways to stay connected, as our elders are more safe these days if they have restricted visitors. So they can stay in touch with family, friends and neighbours. In Holland a lot of elders live by themselves.

Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on April 3, 2020 at 5:07pm

What is one thing working in your experience Isiz? We can learn and apply here in India. Warm greetings!

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