Empathy: Unscripted—A Panel Discussion on Empathy in Social Change Work

with Ashish Shrivastava, Catherine Cadden, Manuel Theremand; anchored by Manasi Saxena

Saturday, October 01 | 5:30 PM - 7.30 PM IST

with Ashish Shrivastava, Catherine Cadden, Manuel Theremand; anchored by Manasi Saxena

Many of us dream about compassion in the field, nonviolence at the grassroots, and empathy in our everyday actions, words, and thoughts. And it can often feel like an idealistic dream. Particularly when we start to take our compassion-based practices and knowledge, bringing it to our work, we can find ourselves facing challenges - because at some point, the script fails, people stop doing what we assume they will, and the system of binary, inequity, and power differences, pushes back. At these moments, we can feel alone, confused, and disillusioned. 

This panel discussion brings together four people who have practiced Empathy actively in the field.

We will explore together:

  • What does empathy have to do with working with communities? 
  • How can we learn to understand the core needs of the communities we work with?
  • How can we weave our dreams and vision with that of the community as we work for change?
  • How do we handle the challenges that show up in the field?

Come one, come all! The panel discussion will be interactive, so bring your questions!

About the Facilitator

Catherine Cadden is an educator, storyteller, and dancer with over 30 years of experience in bringing innovative programs in nonviolence, mindfulness, and conflict transformation to people of all ages, on six continents. In 1997, she founded the TEMBA School, a visionary K­–8 academic program which integrated nonviolent principles, mindfulness, art, and peace studies. In 2006, Catherine co-founded Play in the Wild! Initiations into Nonviolence for youth, families, and educators. 

Internationally recognized for her work, Catherine was a keynote speaker at the UNESCO Asia Pacific Education conference in 2012. Her work with her indigenous roots, elders, and teachers taught her to live interdependently with nature, which she shares with all who are willing to learn. She is a Center for Nonviolent Communication Certified Trainer. She is the author of Peaceable Revolution Through Education and co-author of the ONGO Book: Everyday Nonviolence.

Ashish is the founder of Shiksharth, designing contextually relevant positive childhood experiences for for children coming from spaces of conflict and adverse geography. He is an engineer turned education sector contributor with 16+ years of experience in information technology and education. After working with Infosys and NIIT Ltd, he has been contributing in the space of education in Sukma and Bastar, Chhattisgarh for a decade now.

Prior to Shiksharth, he has been an entrepreneur with Prarambh, Bachpan Banao and AwakIND. He is also an Acumen India Fellow, Teach For India Fellow and is a practitioner of giving as a way of life and is a volunteer for DaanUtsav.

Manuel Theremand is a Child Protection Officer, Art Therapist, and Inter Modal Expressive Arts Practitioner at Sharana. He has been working as a social worker for 14 years, particularly with children through the medium of Art Therapy. He has also headed the Shelter Program at Sharana and has seen firsthand the difficulties that troubled children face. He has worked with children from various difficult backgrounds, from streets and slums, and also migrant children. Manuel feels strongly that Art chose him, and he was born to do the work that he does.

And the panel discussion is hosted by Manasi Saxena, CNVC Certified Trainer and Founder of enCOMPASSion, a learning facilitator whose focus lies around the intersection of spiritual/personal growth and social change/community development. She works closely with communities at the grassroots, to foster paradigm of sustainability, collaboration and resilience through community-driven social change.

Days and Time:

October 1st, 2022 at 5:30 PM - 7.30 PM IST

Please check for your own timezone.


All our weekly workshops are offered in English. If you would like to learn with us in Hindi, please teach out to us on email.

Contact Us:

[email protected]
WhatsApp us at +918222955212



Our workshops are offered at a nominal cost of INR 500/USD 7. Your contribution supports us to meet operational costs and support grassroots communities when possible.

Pay It Forward: Please choose an amount that you can offer us joyfully and willingly; anything you offer us above INR 500 will go towards offering scholarships to participants who may not be able to attend otherwise.

Scholarships: We would not like for finances to deter you from attending; if you would like a scholarship to attend, write to us with a short explanation of how a scholarship would support you: [email protected]