Igniting the flames of positive change
Thursday 27 June 2013 marked the introduction of an enlightening four day residential programme held at Liverpool Hope University, which brings people together and aims to inspire positive change in their lives. Now in its fourth year, School for Changemakers has a growing alumni which consists of a multicultural, multigenerational mix of people – all of whom are eager to investigate the power of change from a variety of perspectives.
A powerful collaboration between Initiatives of Change UK, Liverpool Hope University and i-Genius, School for Changemakers comprises of a range of activities which help people to listen to their ‘inner voice’ through peaceful reflection, whilst also providing learning tracks on the phenomenon of change within areas such as business, education and society – a combination which encourages both spiritual and practical change.
Led by Krish Raval, who is the owner and Chief Executive of Learn to Lead, the programme welcomes the locals of Liverpool, as well as people from all around the country, including Manchester, Scarborough and London to name a few. In addition to this, the programme is also represented well internationally, with people from Holland all the way to Nepal coming along to not only learn about change, but to also share their thoughts upon it.
School for Changemakers also welcomes people of all ages, with infants as young as just one year old brought along with their families, to elderly people who are into their eighties, but who claim to be 'young at heart'.
Speaking about his experience at the School for Changemakers, 19 years old Vinay Raniga from Watford said: 'I was skeptical about how much I would learn from the course. However, only after a few hours I met some amazing people who broke so many stereotypes, prejudices and misconceptions I had. Hearing about their experiences was truly a humbling yet thought-provoking experience on how we can implement our very own change on the world.'
This multicultural, multigenerational mix of people in attendance at the programme creates a real sense of community and harnesses a wonderful energy and spirit, which is one of the many reasons why people are coming back year after year and also why the alumni of School for Changemakers is progressively growing.
Scott Darby, who is from Sheffield, but currently undertaking a Masters degree in Arid Land Studies in Lubbock, Texas, has been part of School for Changemakers since its first year in 2010.
Scott flew over from America to be part of this year’s conference and he said: 'I’ve been on a 15 hour flight and literally had about 10 hours sleep in the last three days, as I’ve had so much to do since I’ve been here, yet I’m still fully energised because I’m here with the people.
'Being around all these people just charges you up and gives you the energy you need to keep on going. Life is full of little challenges that wear you down again and again, but when you come here, you instantly become re-energised.'
Scott added: 'All the people that come here want to do something. To have all this fuel and all this potential just waiting to be ignited means that one spark leads to another spark and before you know it, you’ve got flames.'
But just how powerful are these flames which provoke this energy which, in turn, helps to provoke positive change?
Sunit Patel, Information Analyst at the Health and Social Care Information Centre, said: 'The SfCM's weekend allowed me to integrate with people from all walks of life, listening to their stories and ideas of creating a change within the world we live in'. He added: 'It was a truly an inspiring and a reflective experience both on a spiritual and physical level.'
Chris Evans, who has worked with Initiatives of Change in a multitude of capacities since 1969, said: 'The power of change is phenomenal. When you consider all the pain which different countries inflicted upon each other during the Second World War before putting an end to it in 1945, and when you then consider the fact that they had to go on living together in harmony after it, that sheds great perspective on the power of change.”'
Whilst this is an observation which delves deep into the past to prove the positive power of change, it is also an observation of how mankind – even in its deepest, darkest hour – has had the impetus to enforce change for all of the right reasons.
This observation alone is a train of thought which is representative of what School for Changemakers is all about and which should be applied to everyday life. If a world at war can reflect on all its wrongdoings and change its ways to restore balance, then an individual can analyse their own personal situation and seek the change that they need to make to bring positivity into their lives.
2014 will mark the fifth year of the annual School for Changemakers conference and whilst it is still a relatively young programme, it continues to grow on a yearly basis, due to the infectious and insatiable appetite that its network of people possesses to inspire positive change.
School for Changemakers embodies a great sense of community which has this restless desire to make the difference for all of the right reasons in all aspects of life. Whether you are a person who is seeking to make a practical change through business or education, or whether you are a person who wants to make a spiritual change to create a peaceful and positive mindset, then School for Changemakers is highly recommended for you.
Photos by Saba Getty and Nigel Hayes