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Our history is rooted in anthropology,  peace education, peacebuilding, theater, dance and movement, Somatic Experiencing, Vipassana and Kalari, and connection to the land and ancestry. These became fundamental  in the sense-making process and healing the sadness from having been born and raised in a country torn by war. The great teaching of all these disciplines together is that there is no formula to navigate what is human. And in that teaching is the essence of what moves us: how embodied care opens the capacity to listen.   


Emerge has its origins in  Breathe International, which itself evolved from the Colombian NGO RESPIRA en Colombia founded in 2013. Emerge is a transformative force, infusing/bringing mindful awareness and interoceptive practices into educational and humanitarian settings in 21 countries to date, reaching more than 500 communities  and growing a network of 200 trained facilitators.


RESPIRA was conceived to integrate mindfulness practices within the frameworks of Peace Education and Social Emotional Learning in Colombia. The guiding question centered around how to build peace from within, especially in schools located in Bosa, Bogotá, in Tumaco, Nariño, and Tambo, Cauca – some of the places most affected by Colombia’s armed conflict. The impact of this project is demonstrated in an evaluation carried out by University of Los Andes, conducted in collaboration with Save the Children. You can read more about it here. 


The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program intertwined with the national government program in schools, ‘Aulas en Paz’ (‘Peaceful Classrooms’), was solid ground on which to  found RESPIRA. Once in the field, however, Afrocolombian and Indigenous mothers, teachers and students brought together four very important pieces of a puzzle we were discovering as we lived alongside the community from 2014 to 2018: Care-, Safety-, Trauma- and Culture-sensitive components. We could experience how trauma and collective care were woven into the very foundations of how culture was being lived, expressed and re-created. 


When offering/creating safe spaces to work with body trauma sensitive interventions, what emerges is the nature of the resource: the memory of healing and resilience at the level of both the individual and the collective body. A sort of beauty and sense-making, an autonomy that we like to think is at the base/at the heart of what we call “dignity”.

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