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When Rightsholder groups meet at the Asian Link and Learn Festival

A big circle with people from all generations, some wearing headsets, whispering in different languages and visible sign language going on. The silhouette of an empty human is on the floor. 

Curiosity and excitement were in the air when representatives of rightsholder organizations from the Asian region came together that morning in a beautiful heritage hotel in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. For the first time, they meet face to face in the context of the Voice project for Linking and Learning between Voice grantee groups. The Constellation with the IndoCompetence team as a host, organised and facilitated a three-day Link and Learn event to explore the theme of “Improving our practices for a sustainable inclusive society”.

When we decorated that ‘empty human’ with hearts and words that describe What makes us Human, it helped us to understand why we were together:  Human beings from different backgrounds, each with our own talents and our own sufferings. This set the tone of how we wanted to relate to each other, as we were meeting to learn together. 

During a lively marketplace, with African peers joining online, each group exposed their best practices, explained their struggles and the solutions they were finding. Sexworkers, intersex people, deaf persons, indigenous youth, LGBTQI, all walked around and met for open conversations around the stands at the poolside. They supported each other's cause. One participant commented: “There are many voices and questions in my head, always, when I exchange with people. This time, I dared to really ask them.” A deaf person and an intersex participant and the people listening to their conversation were moved with joy when they discovered that however different their individual story was, their conclusion was the same: “If I was to be born again, I would want it to be in the same condition.” 

This level of engagement continued the next day when the group visited communities in Yogyakarta: especially mothers of mentally handicapped children and the deaf community of Yogya touched the hearts and made us realise that “we are not alone in our suffering. And once we accept our situation, we can take action to improve it.”

On day 3, the new insights and connections formed a fertile ground to continue to link and learn together. Participants formed the basis for Communities of Practice around the nine practices towards their joint dream that they had established together online during the months prior to the event. Now all of us are looking forward to see actions initiated by the Communities coming to fruition. 

SALT (Support. Appreciate. Listen. Learn and Transfer: The Constellations way of working) was not taught, nor preached at this event. It was done. And therewith the event became for many an example of inclusion in action. When you apply SALT,  inclusion happens.

Picture 1: Participants listening to the local community during a learn visit

Picture 2: Transfering good practices between rightsholder groups at the market place

Picture 3: Making plans in new Communities of Practice

Picture 4: Common humanity guiding the conversations

Pictures by Daffa Robi Rodiyya

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