When people tell stories in a right environment, it is not bragging. It is empowerment!

Siobhan Marsh, a young professional from Generate Worldwide and based in Melbourne was visiting India with her students. She invited me to speak to her students on – how can young people engage mindfully in community building and development. For me this was a SALT visit to the group of youth about 16-18 years of age. I was not the expert. What could I do to learn from them and they could learn from each other?

I asked them to share their ‘best ‘experience of working with their own community and what were the factors that helped them in this work? These are the factors they listed (both the students and their teachers)

  • Find someone to have a conversation with; Listening to stories, asking people their stories, Also share your own story
  • taking out time to spend with the community; it doesn’t take too much time
  • When people  tell stories, in a right environment, it is not bragging. It is empowerment! -Alex
  • We are there to listen, not make people listen
  • Being non judgemental; accept people how they are; They are not so different as I thought they were- ( comment about the homeless in the community)
  • Using sports as it builds cohesiveness
  • Starting within two metres and do what is possible; Build community from small; everyone in the community have different roles
  • You are enough- Franny
  • Being present, we struggle to live with now


After our conversation they concluded that they did not pay much attention to the issue of community building. But now they have realised that through their small efforts in their own community they could achieve more. So, in the future they will focus on rebuild the community...recreate the bond. Thanks to Franny, Grace and Craig for their sharing.

I chose the title of the blog from our conversation on using a strength-based approach could be hard in a country like Australia. People might hesitate to respond as talking about they are good at can be seen as boasting. However when done in a safe, appreciative space this sharing is valued. When people  tell stories in a right environment, it is not bragging. It is empowerment!

Photo courtesy: Siobhan Marsh




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