Activating empathy through Theater

Activating empathy through Theater

Zaragoza, SpainToda España, Spain
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Activating empathy through the art of drama, developing theater-like performing moments during which the child finds himself/herself accompanied and guided whil

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Through this project it is expected to get to know the student’s inner self better and deeper so as to connect with his/her own strengths and weaknesses. Thus, it is possible to beat shyness, to improve social skills, to boost self- confidence, to develop self-esteem and/or overcome cases of rejection or social exclusion. All this contributes to the child’s school progress and decrease of school dropouts or failure. Furthermore, by this work it is feasible to help develop conscious persons who become aware of the environment they live in and who are able to perceive how others in this context feel and, in this way to be capable of collaborating with their own evolution and happiness.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

One of the virtues of Theater is that it becomes a suitable tool to foster not only personal development but also to solve conflicts as well as detect and work out personality problems, especially the ones that prevent human beings to fully externalize all their potential. From my own experience as a Drama teacher for nine years at a school, I have been so fortunate to get very positive results while applying the concept of empathy in the search of solving emotional limitations. It is really impressive to see these solutions coming from the whole acting group because of the high social impact and the example it poses. Teaching through theater centers the student at an “alter ego” position which gives them out personal recognition, a new space, the elimination of communication barriers and a new kind of visibility and consideration for other persons.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

CASE I- OVERCOMING SHYNESS. Through a supportive attitude and accompanying the child throughout the activity, we succeeded in helping the student losing his shyness and thus, become the leading actor in the play. We were able to arouse his talent at the same time we helped to alleviate his fears by means of an active listening and an emotional and affectionate look. Besides, while building up a loving and kind atmosphere as well as giving positive recognition to every single gesture and acting moment, we strengthened his self confidence. Thus, the rest of the children in the group switched from being mere spectators to becoming real actors and greatly collaborated with this kid’s personal progress and his visible increase of self confidence. He was able to identify his shyness and was willing to overcome that difficulty accepting and embracing this new approach with which his own fears were reduced by the accompaniment of the other children who acted as facilitators who actually helped him overcome a rooted inner conflict that had been obstructing the normal development of his natural talents. CASE II- IMPROVING BEHAVIOR. This was a kid suffering from behavioral problems and was constantly rejected by his classmates, he barely had any friends. Now, he has become a leader who is being looked up to by the whole group as well as he discovers himself deeply connected with his own kindness and benevolence. We trusted in his full potential and encouraged him to become aware of his virtues and talents and as a result, we got everyone’s acknowledgement for his valuable and enric

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

We do not know of any other cases of fostering empathy at schools through theater techniques in our surroundings. There are schools trying to solve difficulties like these with the help of teachers during working school hours or also by drama classes as an extracurricular activity. That means that the activity itself is not focused on activating empathy and emotional intelligence but just as simple entertainment. From this point of view, the solution we are proposing is quite innovative.
About You
About You
First Name


Last Name

Fernando Gandu

About Your Organization
Organization Name


Organization Country

, ZR, Zaragoza

Country where this project is creating social impact

, XX, Toda España

Your role in Education


The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with

Private (tuition-based)

How long has your organization been operating?

Less than a year

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How long has your solution been in operation?

Operating for more than 5 years

Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

Activating empathy through Theater by achieving children’s personal development with the help and support from the group in their Drama

Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

We want to get teachers involved and consequently trained so as to empower them to be able to use Drama and Theater techniques as a tool

Social Impact
What has been the impact of your solution to date?

Throughout these past years, we have been able to prove that children can actually overcome personal difficulties such as shyness and low self-esteem among others and naturally, significantly improve their bad social and school or academic realities. We have been fostering a growing sensitivity regarding the conscious care of others and the holistic personal development in a child’s life. A significant aspect of this all: to become aware of the importance of empathy meaning putting oneself in the other person’s shoes.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

We wish that at least one out of four schools in Aragón adopts this system, especially during the first educational stages: kindergarten and primary school.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

Barriers: Lack of financing and unwilling governments to adopt this work method as part of schools programs. Absence of professional training for teachers plus their own unawareness of the proven benefits of using Drama techniques.
Solutions: For the first case, to insist and keep on showing this innovative idea to different government institutions and obtain the support of institutions like ASHOKA in order to get better positioned regarding the presentation of the concept. For the second case, we count on the training and method offered by Activateam. We have efficient and effective dynamics to train teachers.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Creation of Value Proposition. Presentation to government institutions and School Boards. Fundraising.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Generation of value proposition and method with proven successful cases.

Task 2

Schedule of visits to deliver the project presentation and expand on the value proposition.

Task 3

Schedule of visits to boost communication and fundraising

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Activation of the project in its piloting stage in at least six schools in Zaragoza for their extracurricular activities.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Training extracurricular teachers and/or Activateam staff.

Task 2

Method development for teachers and students. Pilot training workshops.

Task 3

Online guidance/tutoring

Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]

Once I was working together with fifth graders in a Drama class creating and developing a play to show during their school festival. I spotted a child who had great acting potential but he hid it himself under an enormous shyness. While speaking with him, I found out that he liked acting very much but he was afraid of his classmates’ reaction. I sensed that he could be able to play the leading role and so I decided to talk to him and to the whole group as well to help them see that altogether, we were going to trust each other and create a nice working atmosphere in which this child playing the main role in the acting piece will feel supported by not only his teacher but also by his peers. From that moment onwards, all the children realized about the importance of everyone’s cooperation when working out to help and overcome other people’s difficulties. This kid got recognition from his school community –parents, teachers and students- and everybody discovered the incredibly important v

Tell us about your partnerships

Activateam with its social nature is committed to supporting and spread and publish this project among the local school network. We will also look for local government support as well as appropriate mass media influence and sponsoring.

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]

Activateam staff will be involved and committed with the management and organization so as to achieve the goal. Besides, we count with the support from parents who have experienced the successful consequences of engaging with this special Project.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list