The global pandemic offset by the coronavirus COVID-19 has dramatically thrown the world into a state of uncertainty, provoking questions about the future in every student, job-seeker, bread-earner, law-keeper, state-ruler etc. – pretty much everyone in the immediate community and beyond. While everyone is struggling to keep themselves and their loved ones safe by staying at home and by keeping their engagements outside to a minimum, the best thing one can do is to remain calm, understand the surrounding and adapt accordingly. In many ways, some are focusing on this situation as an opportunity to reorient their ways of working towards rebuilding the future. Our Active Citizens worldwide have been doing just that. In face of the pandemic, the Active Citizens global team launched a campaign #ConnectedbyAction – a call-for-action to all trained Active Citizens around the globe responding to the coronavirus COVID-19 contagion. The team has dedicated social media channels to highlight inspirational stories and initiatives taken by local Active Citizens who are tackling the crisis in their communities – sharing these experiences to provide ideas and to encourage the global community. Active Citizens in Bangladesh are also doing their parts.
Light to life is one such Social Action Project (SAP) that has been working for mental health awareness since 2016. It was awarded as one of the best SAPs in 2019 by Active Citizens Global and Labib Tazone as the youth leader of this SAP visited the UK to showcase his SAP in Active Citizens Ten Year Anniversary/ Social Action Showcase in London. Active Citizens in Bangladesh and the UK have now been closely collaborating in response to the COVID-19 issues pertinent to both of communities. As a pilot run, they planned and delivered three online workshops titled ‘A series of globally connected workshops’ that were conducted on Zoom throughout May on the subject matters relevant to the pandemic.
Their first workshop discussed faith and mental health, with guest speakers from the University of Oxford and Punjab University, India. It was an interactive session which ended with a strong message came from Dr Fidan: Life can fit into homes if it can fit into phones! Enjoy being home with others in it. These days will pass, when it will, we all hopefully will feel better in ourselves.’
The next workshop was on personal identity in relations to mental health. In this session, participants were able to explore and understand the role of neuroscience in crafting and improving their own identities and completed a self-reflective exercise with the likes of prisons, public health bodies, the third sector and youth clubs. They enjoyed an opportunity to learn about the spiritual and psychological perspective on personal identity from guest speaker James Boston (BA Religion, Philosophy & Ethics, MA Theology & Religion, Professional Coaching Diploma and Co-Founder of Talking Wellbeing).
The final session was held on the topic 'How to take action during the Covid 19 crisis – to explore ways to design social action projects that can be taken to help to tackle the crisis in respective countries. Michael Unwin, Project Manager, Active Citizens joined the session to discuss the modality of social action in this new and challenging times.
All the sessions links are shared below. To know more about Light to Life's initiatives you can keep an eye on the Light to Life Facebook page.