The Giraffe talk

The Giraffe talk

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

I am one person who decided to introduce NVC to schools. We learn to speak the Giraffe language, a language of compassion, empathy and understanding.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Violence and lack of empathy is a serious problem in Lebanese schools. Children are learning to be violent, sectarian, an early age. Melkart school is a private school, with 950 students, Christian and Muslim. Teachers and board members are overwhelmed with the new face of violence and intimidation among kids. Physical violence, verbal violence, lack of respect...all are barriers to a better daily atmosphere. Empathy is an estranged word and attitude. After all the atrocities that our country went through, it's more the "survival" law, the individualistic way of living. Parents are unintentionally giving their fear of "the other" and the "self defense" spirit to their kids. And the price is very costly paid in schools and society. Non Violence is a totally new concept for them.

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

With the introduction of NVC (Non Violent Communication) and Conflict resolution,I am initiating a new way of thinking, talking, acting and reacting among those kids aged 5 to 13 years, boys and girls, Christian and Muslim. They are discovering that we can talk "Giraffe", meaning: with our hearts, talking about our "needs" and "feelings", thinking before acting, and looking for the others needs and feelings for a better communication. The school accepted 3 years ago a sample test. I went into classes and started games and exercises, discussions and coaching, role playing. What started as a test, ended with a weekly hour per class (KG2-7th grade). Kids discovered non violence, empathy, new communication skills, they discovered that we see "our" truth, and we see the world from our point of view. The school declared itself a nonviolent school last year.
Impact: How does it Work

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

One game was about the impact of words. "Words are like windows, or walls". I gave them small papers, and asked them to write sincerely the word or the sentence that hurt them most, and made them cry. In one class, the harsh words were sectarian ones. "You are a dirty Muslim", "We hate you Christians"... It was a deep wound in this class. So I asked the Muslims in the class to prepare an éxposé, for next week, where they use all creative ways to tell us about Islam as they see it, as they live it. They spent the week excited, and came with drawings, and a beautiful story where they explained Islam to their classmates. Everybody was silent and listening. The week after it was the turn of Christians to tell Christianity to their friends. At the end of the session, I asked :"what did you discover?". And I was amazed by the similarities they discovered in both religions. They mentioned the bottom line of faith: Be good, be loving, be kind... The week after, we wrote the nicest words ever said to them, and they discovered how we all need to be appreciated. The rest of the year went with minor sectarian atmosphere. And this class is until today an empathic one on religious side. The same exercise did a tremendous effect in another class on the "bad words" and "big words", students and parents alike found it very effective.

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

I am happy to say that what I'm doing is very challenging since it's new and separate from school programs. Some schools have started similar topics through "year projects" they try to make with students, some teachers try to give extras during "civic education" courses, but none here have the tools I got from my major, and managed to establish NVC and Empathy as a separate training during class hours. Now many other schools are asking to have similar trainings for teachers and students alike, but I'm just one person.
About You
Melkart school
About You
About Your Organization
Organization Name

Melkart school

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact
Your role in Education

Coach, Parent.

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

Private (tuition-based)

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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How long has your solution been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 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]

"Giraffe" language is all about empathy. NVC Speaks with our heart and listens actively.We do that in our school!

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

New tools, techniques, to become a better communicator in a world filled with smart technology but lacks real communication.

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

To date, I managed to make the word "nonviolence" a common term in disputes between youngsters and grown ups. I managed to create a new cultural window, the word Empathy is starting to become known and applied. I am overwhelmed with requests from several schools, educators, parents, activists who want to learn the "Giraffe" talk. NVC is smoothly taking its place. Students always want more, they are confident and they appreciate the fact that while playing or exercising we are using our lateral thinking to become more aware of our humanity. Even when we approach tough subjects as the capital punishment in Lebanon. All subjects are welcome when we know how to speak from our hearts. Conflicts are seen from a new perspective. Even if living peacefully needs a lot more to become a way of living in this part of the world. And with my media background, I managed to introduce the topic on local TVs, which brought more people to ask for more information.

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

My project is to establish this pilot project, to bring it everywhere in Lebanon and the MENA region. I have the exercises, I wrote stories, translated international books and booklets. I am in contact with other professionals, locals and internationals who are willing to take part of this project after they saw what happened in my school. I can carry these kits, exercises and knowledge all around and train educators to introduce NVC and nonviolence to their schools. I have many local schools who are willing to give it a try. Already started visiting and training.

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

The biggest barrier is financial. Since I've been volunteering for 3 years now, I can barely find time to offer my time. My income from my other work is very important for my family, so little is left for my dream. I am giving time and expertise but I can't print, edit, film and be everywhere. I am planning of proving the pilot project, create an organization and promote it in order to get funds. Funds is all we need.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1
Task 2
Task 3
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1
Task 2
Task 3
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]

I was born in a torn country, my mom is Muslim, my dad Christian. During war, we had to hide from both sides at many occasions. I studied journalism and worked on the ground to be the voice of the voiceless people... But still, it wasn't enough. I felt helpless. Few years ago, I had the chance to be part of a pilot university in the Arab world: AUNOHR (Academic University for Nonviolence and Human Rights), I studied for my master in Nonviolent Education and Conflict Resolution. My teachers were an international panel of professionals. When I became well trained, and educated in the field, I felt I need to start being the change I want to see in the world.With my communications background I shifted naturally to NVC. And after giving many workshops, I realized how much we lack proper communication, active listening. I saw my kids school, the new kind of violence that is everywhere, like in the rest of the world. So I took my heart and managed get the school board get involved.

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

Trainers, writers, volunteers, educators, secretary.

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