‘Backpack With Prat’ is an initiative started in 2014 with the idea of bringing the world closer through travel and sharing each other’s stories. The sense of curiosity once kindled leads to discovery of not just new ideas, but also of other people, cultures and about one’s own potentialities, which has immense possibility of expanding one’s world-view. The dream is to motivate the youth to open their mind, embrace all kinds of learning opportunities that come their way, connect with people from different cultures across the world, participate in their own communities, thus leading possibilities for cross-cultural learning, societal expansion and global involvement.
The hope through the workshops is to create a free space for discussions about life where participants can explore their own perspectives, and possibly open their minds towards newer possibilities. Thus far, the workshops have been done in over 10 countries with over 2500 participants right from adolescents to youth and adults. I have worked with local schools, educational institutions, NGOs as well as the European Commission. The quest of interacting with individuals from all walks of life, and from across the world, hasn’t creased. I have learned that along with travelling around, participating in the society, and doing one’s own bit is what makes life complete. This process allows each one to blossom and nurture their own abilities freely and with joy.
Travel being the underlying golden thread that has given the learning thus far, the deeper essence from world cultures is what constitutes the workshops. The themes of the workshops are:
- Understanding oneself – we are all similar and unique in our own beautiful way
- Communication – to expand our circle and be confident
- Pursuing your dreams – what it takes, and being joyous at small achievements as well
- World cultures and stereotypes – knowing and respecting the quirks of different world cultures
- Connect with community – how can we be active and responsible youth at our own individual level
The workshops are aimed at nurturing stronger, confident and more worldly-wise individuals who become active change-makers in their communities.
Each topic is vast and often extends to different other themes as discussions progress. Some of the learnings from the workshops are communication, careers, creativity, humaneness, care, compassion, spirituality, challenges in the world, relationships etc. Students are encouraged to share their perspectives from their own personal experiences and discuss with one another in a non-judgemental ambiance. The workshops include anecdotes from around the world, visual aids, games and activities, and discussions suited for their specific contexts. The first couple of sessions are quite informal and introductory to break the ice and build rapport.
Duration – 40mins to 1 hour each session
Ideal group size – 30 to 40 participants
I look forward to working with schools and institutions and supporting the efforts to empower students with and all-round perspective on life and the world. Learning to learn, love, live and leave a legacy is in line with my own constant endeavour in life, and it shall be a wonderful learning opportunity for me to interact with students on ‘living-skills’ and how the awareness of the cultures around the world, including our own, can enable us to become global citizens.
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