NVC workshop in the Philippines,
21.4. - 5.5.2015
One of the most satisfying outcomes of my workshops »First call for children« are the follow-up projects. They document the growing impact of NVC to the participants. After the last workshop, some of them ask me to conduct trainings in the Philippines.

At the same time I was invited to be trainer for a project of human trafficking in Mindanao, Philippines.
Thus, I had two good reasons to go to the Philippines.

I requested three further trainers to join me: Esther Gerdts, Klaus Karstädt, Friedericke Kahlau Karstädt. A big thank you for all the work we did together, for the joy and the sorrow we shared, and for bringing in time and power to support without any salary for us all.

We conducted 10 different workshops of 1 – 3 days with each 30 to 180 participants; all together we met 850 interested people, from NGOs, government, national police, young and adult inmates, university members, lawyers, teachers, chaplains, a bishop, priests, sisters, most of them directly and some indirectly working with children. Some of the children are in conflict with the law.

My personal impressions:
I was overwhelmed, we received so many open hearts in different ways, we received support, either with special food, transportation or workshop material. I learned to live in the moment and trust about what will happen, and I remember many times of welcoming, satisfaction and hope. When I saw so many brown eyes smiling, I had the impression of looking in trustful open souls.

We were invited to have a look at some of the working places of our hosts. With father Paul, one of the participants of Ruhpolding, and father Heinz, we went to one of the dump sites of Cebu City. At these dump sites, overall more than 6.000 people are living, in shacks, on top of a 20 m layer of waste. Little children’s feet are running on broken glass, nails and in battery acid. Without shoes.
I looked into the children’s eyes when they got a wrapped cookie and therefore lined up to half of the length of a football field. Joy was so easy to receive and share. They wanted to hold our hand, get a blessing from the fathers and us, and just be with us.
Lately, supported by donations and government aid, in this area a small settlement of 220 simple houses was built which provides a humane home for more than 1.300 people. I saw some of these "dump" families, now living in a resettled place, children going to school, having shoes and clean clothes and even having a very little room for themselves in a little house and flowers at the entrance. The parents still work at the dump side and separate the garbage to earn their income, and at the same time they regained some of their dignity.

In a jail for young men aged between 15 and 18, we worked with 20 persons who killed somebody. I’ve never been so close to 20 "murders", playing with them, listening to their stories and pain, and finding in many of them so much hope and trust.
I demonstrated the anger approach with a punching ball. Afterwards, I watched a young man changing abruptly, getting a red face, hitting the ball and yelling at it. He said, his need by killing was joy. I was helpless, and still I am. I see the need of so much more time and presence for these people than we actually had.

In another jail of elder prisoners, we did a training with those who did or want to make a high school degree and spoke English. The conditions were different: 24.500 inmates, the "particularly serious cases" are placed in cages where they cannot stand up straight, 87 residents have to spend the night in one cell of 20 m². They sleep standing up. I was in one of those cells, during the day, and I am out of words.

Many of "my" participants from the German workshops are involved in these different projects. They organized our NVC trainings in their working field, and this is the most satisfying possibility spreading NVC I can imagine.
Amina, living in the Philippines, is one of the participants of my workshops since the beginning in 2007 and she is almost certified. Now, she got 8 requests to conduct NVC follow-up workshops. For example she is invited to a meeting with 80 high school and 60 elementary school administrators. She is invited to the prisons again. She works with "rebels" out of the Moslem-Christian-conflict in the rain forests in Mindanao.

The NVC-seeds are growing and support the change of some social structures in the Philippines.
I am deeply grateful and content that I got the chance to share and contribute.


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