During a recent PD day with our entire CIS school community I attended a workshop called ‘How Poor Are We?’ The purpose of the workshop was to highlight the plight of poverty that many million people are in around the world. In this workshop, the focus was on India.
The key point in bringing this workshop back to our students is that before we can expect action, students must make a connection through empathy and this is exactly what the activity did. The activity we undertook was called the paper bag game and was originally developed by Cross Roads Global Village.
This simple game gives an amazing insight into human behaviour when put in desperate situations. While I tried my hardest to keep my morals and dignity in check (refusing to dance like an elephant for the shop keeper to give me some food for example) it was amazing how quickly others resorted to theft and trickery to simply live. What we also realised at the end of the ‘game’ was how quickly you lose sight of education as a way out of the slum because all you end up doing is fighting an endless battle to eat, remain healthy and clean. Life beyond the slum quickly becomes unrealistic.
The message of this workshop, again, is to really understand the importance of empathy when working with students around global issues. Students must be able to make some sort of connection with the issue in order for learning and potential action to take place.