the educational thrust of the Bezer Initiative
Bezer Mobilisation Network
“Peace cannot be kept by force,
it can only be achieved by understanding”
- Albert Einstein
“Empathy” is a word often thrown around, understood to be something good or desired - but it is not usually a priority in our lives. Some of the top 10 qualities ascribed to our society by respondents to a national survey were “kiasu”, “materialistic” and “complaining”. Empathy was not one of them. In juxtaposition, many listed ‘caring’ and ‘empathetic’ as high on their list for an ‘ideal society’. Clearly, there is a major disconnect between where Singaporeans want to be and where we are now.
At Solve n+1, we believe that fostering empathy is one of the irreplaceable keys to thriving, resilient communities - and the first stepping stone in creating a platform for cross-neighbourhood support to aid people in crisis. To meaningfully help the vulnerable and disadvantaged around us, we first have to understand and empathize.
Issues that exist in our community are usually highly complex. The question is what does it take to help us understand and empathize with the complexity of the problems that persons-in-crisis face? Photo by Clarisse Croset on Unsplash
The Bezer simulation is an experiential workshop designed and tested to encourage individuals to take personal responsibility for building community in their neighbourhoods. In this hands-on workshop on active citizenry, participants take on the role of a specific vulnerable or disadvantaged person(s) and go through day to day scenarios as a variety of crises are introduced at random. The firsthand experience allows participants a deeper, more intimate understanding of the trials faced by vulnerable persons daily. This in turn develops empathy and empowers them to consider how they can contribute meaningfully. It gives them a broader understanding of communal interactions, creating the space for important conversations on community living to happen.
Our pilot run of the Bezer simulation yielded encouraging results. Participants had a better understanding of how deliberately investing in community and building social capital allows for better crisis management. Understanding the why and how allowed them to grow in empathy for people in crisis. Furthermore, some discovered prejudices they had towards vulnerable groups that they had not been previously aware of. Such self-reflection and discovery is vital to growing in compassion. We hope to publish this simulation as a resource for NGOs who work with families to encourage families to discuss elements of healthy communities. At the end of the simulation, participants may also consider getting connected with the network of support created by the Bezer Platform.
We need $24,000 to continue running this simulation - money which will go towards the concept and curriculum development, trainer & facilitator development, design collaterals and the entire process of reviewing and improving. We want to invite you to partner with us financially to help nurture empathy in our society. By partnering with us today, you will enable us to better prepare communities for crises, empower others to reach out to vulnerable people groups, and help move us one step closer towards an ‘ideal’ Singapore.
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To find out more about the other aspects of the Bezer Initiative click on any of these links below.
Bezer Mobilisation Network
Interested to know more? Contact us and we would be glad to share with you more about this project and other projects and how you can be involved.