Our Vision of Social Change
Living Bridges refers to itself as an "NVC and Social Change" project. But what does Social Change mean to us, within our context? And how do we as citizens, peacebuilders, development practitioners, and individuals from different walks of life participate in it?
Our understanding of social change is that it pertains to how human beings and their relationship with other human beings, other species, and the planet changes and evolves over a period of time. Change occurs organically from within a system or paradigm. At critical moments in history, collective movements have brought about a change in our systems. Living Bridges’ work is focused on conscious changemaking of this kind. For us, Social Change is rendered more meaningful when we bring conscious awareness, choice, and our inherent power as individuals within a collective, changemaking.
Here are some of the defining ideas behind the Living Bridges Project,
"When it comes to social change, no effort is too small or insignificant. Join us if you would like to understand how you can start where you are with what you have."
Within the core of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is the idea that everybody's needs matter.
This applies to the world outside us, including but not limited to:
People who we have differences with
People and communities who have fewer resources than us
And evenven with people with enormous powers.
The moment we lean into the principle that everyone's needs matter, we necessarily are invited to check if the systems we live in support that core principle. This also applies to the world inside us: that we, each of us, matter.
Each of us does matter, and we can learn to grow the capacity to lean into our mattering. We believe that this shifts us towards having capacity to bring our life energy towards making the changes we would like to see.
Social change is also often seen as the prerogative of people with appropriate qualifications, adequate resources, and some sort of special "gift".
At Living Bridges, we are suggesting that what each of us knows, what we can bring, and our innate human capacity for empathy is enough. Each of us comes with different capacities. All capacities have meaning, and we can contribute meaningfully within our capacities.
Our curriculum on value-driven social change looks at the self-in-community, as well as the community-in-self, and leads us towards leading with empathy, from within. This means a deep connection with our core values and an honest understanding of what we are each capable of offering. This clarity offers direction to our dreaming. Whether you imagine changing an entire country, or just impacting the lives of a few people around you, there is meaning in living this dream.
We believe that social change begins here, with each of us; we believe that no matter how big or small the act, each of us can make an impact. This is the power of every individual.
None of us exists without, or in isolation from a community. None of us is capable of changing the world single-handedly. When we lean into community, we lean into humility too: that what I cannot do, someone else can. We also connect with trust, that what I cannot do, someone else will.
We believe communities can be nurtured into becoming strong initiators of conscious social transformation.
Our long term vision of change is to foster and develop empathic, informed and skilled development practitioners, citizens and peacebuilders from diverse social and cultural backgrounds—from across India and the world.
We hope to travel with many of you, particularly those of you connected with the grassroots. We believe that a critical mass of people speaking peace, compassion, love, and nonviolence has the capacity to change the paradigm we live in—one bridge at a time.