Introducing: The Global Compassion Circle
At iACT, we have had the privilege of walking next to Darfuri refugees on the Chad-Sudan border for many years. We are learning invaluable lessons from our friends. They have experienced unimaginable loss. Their homes were destroyed, family members killed, and then they had to walk across the desert to seek safety. They also experience life in a deep, meaningful way. Maybe because of both tradition and need, they live in the moment, and, through the pain, are admirably able to experience joy and compassion.
When co-creating education, sports, and human rights programs with and for refugees, mindfulness presented itself as a powerful and gentle tool for promoting peace—from internal peace to community peace, to world peace.
iACT reached out to mindfulness expert Trudy Goodman for guidance. As the Founding Teacher of InsightLA, a meditation center in the Los Angeles area, Trudy did not only bring a lifetime of experience in psychology and mindfulness, she also brought with her an amazing dedicated team of experts that immediately wanted to join us in walking with refugees. It wasn’t long before Trudy and Joslyn Hitter joined iACT’s Founder, Gabriel Stauring, and the iACT team on a visit to Darfuri refugee camps on the Chad-Sudan border.
After first meeting the refugees, sitting with them, and walking with them, Trudy and Joslyn became aware of how much mindfulness expertise they, the refugees, already had within them. Our good friend and refugee leader, Oumda Tarbosh, showed Trudy how cutting a tomato and preparing a sauce was itself a wonderful act of mindfulness. Refugee teachers shared about their daily experiences and how being mindful comes naturally to them.
From this ongoing collaboration between iACT, InsightLA, and the Darfuri refugee community came the idea for the Global Compassion Circle.
To join the inaugural Global Compassion Circle, visit this iACT webpage: https://www.iact.ngo/global-compassion-circle/.
These programs are entirely community-led. They made every decision from which day to run the program to what hours and to who will be on the teaching team each day. The teams are diverse and yet they have committed to working together.
Trust in the process. Trust in the modeling before the explanation. Trust in the people. Trust in the children, and they will trust you.
If there is anything that can foster community between people and across cultures, it is sharing a meal and a cup of tea. While we do that, we will also be sure to sprinkle in some early childhood development, mindfulness, and games!