Project History

Living Bridges was originally conceptualised in 2017 by Duke Duchscherer, Jeannine Suurmond, Neil Howard, and Manasi Saxena, and held by  enCOMPASSion. 

However, it was only when the pandemic hit and the migrant crisis in India occured that we found ourselves coming together more urgently and on an online platform. The many hours of work and thought leading up to 2020 went into bringing this project into life and taking the shape and liveliness it has taken in the last two years.

The Living Bridges online workshops began in October 2020. Since then, the Living Bridges Project has been able to reach out to and serve 780+ participants through 56 intense and experiential weekly small group workshops, as well as 8 long term training programmes. 

Our workshops have been highly subsidised to create access, and in the year 2020-2021, we offered more than 50% scholarships, to about 350 of our participants. Our workshops are also offered with the option of parallel Hindi translation. If needed, all training material translated in Hindi to overcome the language divide.

With the money raised from these workshops, we have supported grassroots initiatives, including:

  • Community development in urban slums in NOIDA, India
  • Winter blankets relief for Delhiā€™s urban poor, and 
  • Towards supporting sex workers during the second wave.

Key Highlights 2020-2021

Key Highlights

    In 2020-2021, Living Bridges has 

    • Welcomed 372 unique participants, a total of 780+ participants 
    • From 44 countries
    • Offered 350 scholarships (50+%)
    • Run 56 weekly workshops and 8 training programmes
    • With 38 trainers from 17 countries
    • Offering over 735 hours of teaching time
    • And cumulative 3800+ training hours!

Concept Note

Living Bridges in Meghalaya

The inspiration behind this project, in many different ways, are the living root bridges in Meghalaya, which:

  • Are made over a period of time by the Khasi and Jaintia tribes in Meghalaya
  • Are created by gently guiding roots from two trees across from each other to frame a passage between them, across the river
  • Grow more resilient with time and use  

The tools and language of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) offer doable strategies for creating a bridge between the living energy within and without, even in moments of stress and conflict - forming, in that sense, a "living bridge". Just like the living bridges in Meghalaya, the practice of NVC has strong ROOTS, in a consciousness of universal human compassion. NVC suggests that by directing our attention to an INTENTION to connect, we can choose to move away from reaction to responding consciously, with empathy and connection.

Concept Note