Evidence of Community Strength from across the World

As I reflect on the last week at the Global Learning Festival at Chennai, images, thoughts and feelings crowd in.

The overwhelming feeling left with me is that it was extraordinary how people felt so full of hope, joy and solidarity. People from across continents, speaking totally different languages could bond together, and feel such a sense of harmony and connectedness. I too felt so connected with myself and with others

What was the magic? What happened in those 5 days that forged these diverse set of people into a community of sorts? What was it that melted down barriers and forged a deep bond?Was it shared dreams, hopes and concerns?.one story triggered another and another and so on... an endless stream of inspiration. Looking back at the previous times at these learning festivals: at Chiang Mai, at Koppal, Kumta and now at Chennai: I have always been left with that sense of exhilaration.

It was not then an accident; not a chance happening. It was the process of looking for and finding the hidden potential, the achievements of people and communities. What left us excited and charged was the discovery of evidence, evidence that affirmed one's belief in community strengths. In the past week, we had discovered that communities could bring electricity to dark neighbourhoods; build temples; strengthen the bonds between parents and children; reduce access to harmful use of alcohol; snip the barriers between people; do away with stigma and discrimination; help individuals and whole communities to value themselves and make people care, just to mention a few actions. Dreams fulfilled, goals reached, however impossible, because people recognised their own potential. They resonated with us and we reached out to each other.

As Jean Louis said, the epidemic of positive experience was spreading faster and faster..,,,in geometric progression!

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Comment by MariJo on November 30, 2012 at 4:12pm
What you say here is so very true, Sanghamitra! I also feel that it is not by accident or sheer chance that we experience such feelings. It is my first time at a GLF, but I could identify within myself the same kind of connectedness and understanding that I experinced at other similar gathering where we have the opportunity to get exposed to SALT.
I realize that barriers are not the natural way among humans. Barriers are only the result of forgetting our common humanness at some point, but the good news is that we can be reminded how it feels connecting as humans again.
As Clemens says, we need to remember to avoid puting the focus on separation and denying the beauty of embracing diversity. We can do differently whenever we decide to, as we become more conscious of the benefits of this 'positive epidemic'. Lets expose ourselves and the world to it!
Comment by Olivia Munoru on November 29, 2012 at 5:42pm

Beautiful! I wish I were there. But the energy reached me and many others here through these blogs and photos. For this reason, I believe also that the "same spirit... can be translated to our work with communities" as Clement so desires. If the message is powerful enough, the delivery will happen. 

For those who wish to share the Constellation's offer to other communities or NGO's, please contact me or any member of the Global Support Team, so that we can support you!

Olivia (olivia.munoru@gmail.com)

Comment by Clement N Dlamini on November 29, 2012 at 4:28am
This is beautiful and encouraging to hear of such positive feedback. I always wish such collaborative strengths perspective approach could also suffice at community level where it matters the most. Usually when we meet on the ground as development practitioners we duplicate service and drain each other to the ground due to competing interests whilst at it confusing beneficiaries. What breaks my heart is that our focus is separation rather than integrating services to provide holistic development to communities. We have territorial fights pushed by elements of wanting to be seen to be on top of our game. I wish this same spirit that was experienced could be translated to our work with communities where these shares experiences matter the most. Inspiring indeed!!!!
Comment by Kunchok Tsundue on November 28, 2012 at 11:51am

Its indeed feels so good to see such community or global things happening when the world at large going or breaking down or being desired to be the smallest entity-self fulfilling prophecy and then trying to become visible and prominent by all means. Though I had to missed it, it looks like GLF provides a developmental alternatives which is systemic at the same time fundamental point of departure for desirable change as well. Thank you for sharing your experience and We, Tibetans, would like to live a part of it sooner from your lead sooner.        

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