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Theme A - Remembering & Knowing

Theme A - Remembering & Knowing


Hard to reach participants often come from challenging backgrounds that they may not have come to terms with. They may not feel comfortable mixing with others from different backgrounds. These exercises encourage them to honour their roots, share their stories and build trust and friendships in the group.


Using creative methodology, the theme aims to:

●        To create conditions for empowerment, empathy, inclusion & trust

●        To reflect on diversity experience/worldviews of students

●        To identify cultural/social/worldview changes in recent generation


Ability to model integrity and authenticity; Ability to empathise with others from different backgrounds; Ability to connect with the group

DIMENSION / SDG relation

World View Dimension

SDG 10 - Reduced inequalities

SDG 3 - Good health and well being


1.       Mapping Diversity (1 hr)

2.       River of Life (1.5 to 3 hrs)

3.       Interviewing Elders (3 to 5 hrs)

4.       Deep Sharing (1 to 1.5 hrs)

Activity: River of Life (1.5 to 3  )

WHAT: Facilitators write down the guide to each stage (these questions/comments are a guide only please adapt to local/cultural context). Consider making a video where you read the text aloud so the participants can combine the text with sound, which improves the understanding for many participants.

HOW:  River of Life activity (1 to 1.5 hours)

Reflection & Synthesis (30 mins/45 mins)

Step 1 - Reflect: Think of your life as a river that has led to this workshop. What are the different streams and other rivers that have helped you get here? Think about the fast-moving times in your life and the challenges or rocks that you moved through. If your life were a river, what shape would it take? Where are the bends and turns, when your situation or perspective changed?  Was the transition smooth or sudden? Are there rocks or boulders — obstacles or life-altering moments — falling into your river? Are there points where the river flows strongly or slowly?
Individual Work: Start drawing the image THE RIVER OF YOUR LIFE

Step 2 - Frame: On the river picture add your age and/or dates.  Identify key events in your life; these could be boulders in the river or places where it runs narrow or opens widely. Name each section of your life river

Step 3 - Guide: Think about the various people who have accompanied you along this river’s journey. Record key relationships and losses in the appropriate places on your river of life.

You can also record thoughts and feelings attached to these relationships.  What relationships have been most significant at different times in your life? Who has most shaped you?

Have there been significant losses of relationships along the way?

What groups or communities of people were most important?

Step 4 - Contextualise:  Reflect on your life’s journey and trajectory.

Using words and/or symbols, place life events in the appropriate locations on your diagram.
Note times of significant pain or suffering, yours or others’, that shape the flow of your river.

What was going on in the world — locally, regionally?

Step 5 Evaluate: Note what has been important to you.

What values, commitments, causes, or principles were most important in different life stages?

Toward what goals, if any, were your primary energies directed?

What purpose helped to shape the flow of life waters at a given time in your experience?

Review the whole river; does it portray your whole life?

Is there some important element left out? Adjust as needed.

REFLECTION (group process): Share drawings in breakout groups of 4/5 (appoint a group leader to ensure everyone has a chance for their story to be heard.

SYNTHESIS (facilitator): Invite a few people to share (as a comment to a post or in an online meeting) what their picture portrays (optional). Prepare an online ‘Gallery’ for sharing. The facilitator writes a synthesis of reflections to develop empathy & appreciating diversity.

TIP: Encourage use of colour and textures and symbology in the River of life exercise. 
You can showcase River pictures from other groups or online to inspire participants.

REFERENCES:River of LifeRiver of Life Exercise | OnBeing  Using the River of Life as a Tool

Activity: Interviewing Elders (3 to 5 +)


‘The best classroom in the world is at the feet of our elders’  (Andy Rooney)

Our elders hold the wisdom of many generations. There is much to learn from the old stories and traditions. But often we are too busy to listen and learn. Many do not have connections with elders. This activity will be an opportunity to learn from elders in our families and communities. 


In groups of 3 discuss who you will interview (individually or together).

Make an appointment for the interview (as homework). Review questions (samples are below)

Make a plan who will interview, how the interview will be recorded (video/sound recording/notes).

INTERVIEWS (60 to 90 min)

Each person interviews an elder (in triads or single). Sample questions:

Q. What are you grateful for?
Q. How did you celebrate in your community growing up? 

Q. What has changed in your life since you were a child?

Q. What do you value/are concerned about in traditional culture?

Q. What do you value and what are you concerned about in modern culture?

Q. What has been a big challenge in your life and how did you overcome it?

Q. Do you have a traditional song to share?
Can be done as online interviews with elders/grandparents in different places.

Q: Is there anything you regret?
Q: What do you think, the young generation should not do, although you did it?


Identify key quotes. Draw a picture or make a poster that represents the findings.

Optional - make a 3-5 min. video with highlights of the interview (may need more time) in groups or individually.


Post up pictures in the classroom/online. Show video clips. Discuss in small groups.
How did you feel interviewing elders? What did you learn about challenges they faced?
Describe other important lessons learnt from your elders?


How did you feel interviewing elders?

What important qualities did you learn from your elders?

How have things changed? (Encourage positive & challenges)

Synthesise into appreciating diversity & developing empathy

CLOSING CIRCLE - Sing a traditional song (make a project to collect & perform traditional songs)
This can be done online too.

Activity:  Deep Sharing (synchronised)


Intro & divide into groups (10 min)
Deep Sharing clusters / triads (1 to 1.5 hours)
Reflection (30 mins)
Debrief (30mins)
Journal/Drawing/Close (10 mins)

Deep sharing in clusters/triad discussions

Divide into groups: If clusters appear e.g. migrants from similar places/cultural backgrounds get into groups (3 to 5 pax). Sharing can be in native language.

Personal Reflection: Rose & Thorn - (1 or 2 of each). Drawing/writing - The rose/s (best parts) of my life were … Drawing / writing - The thorn/s (challenging parts) of my life were … Share a few in the big group.

Facilitator Input & Introduce Deep Sharing exercise:

Deep Listening, Bearing Witness, Speaking Leanly, Speak from heart


●       1 person speaks,

●        1 person listens, questions

●        1 person observer/timekeeper/listener

●        Sharing Stories - Start with guided breathing, quiet time

15 mins per person. If they finish early, they can sit in silence then move onto the next person.

Sample Questions:

Q. Share something you are grateful for.

Q. Share a challenging experience in your life and how you overcame it.

Q. After all three have spoken, share how you feel and say thank you to each other.

If the group finishes early, they can talk together quietly about their experiences.

REFLECTION:  Individual reflection & journalling 

TIP: Schedule a break after the deep sharing as it can be intense and emotional.
Ask the group to check in with each other later in the day. 
If you notice strong emotions come up, check in with individuals/groups later.


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