Put yourself in someone else’s shoes:

  1. Based on a picture of people lacking access to water/sanitation, students imagine their story. Writing in role as a person in the picture they describe the daily implications of the water/sanitation situation on their life.
  2. The different stories (at least 2-3 on the same picture) are then read and shared in small groups so as to realize the impact of a water-related situation on people’s lives.

The teacher keeps track of the most important features, and then brings in the real story of the illustrated people to see how far our thoughts were from reality

Ask students to reflect on pictures with a particular focus on gender e.g. what do they show regarding gender roles, power, relationships. How do they know?

Language Treasure Hunt. For students to experience a situation where they cannot find their way because they are unable to speak the language, to empathise with those who are refugees in a new country.
Consider the students in your class. Are there any learners that can speak an additional language to the one used for instruction in school? These could include languages that use a different alphabet. Gather these students together and ask for their help.

Group activity: Students read true stories about people in need from different parts of the world. They are then asked to express their emotions and feelings and discuss why they feel like that. Students are asked to reflect on how people can raise their resilience and deal with the problems they are facing.

Students visit an NGO e.g. for unaccompanied children in a refugee camp or a charity institution and meet vulnerable people. Discuss with them and with the people that support them, the conditions of living in a host country, ways they are supported and practical ways that students can support.

As a follow up, students organise an action (collecting clothes, toys or first needs goods, or other actions) to support the group.

One way to develop empathy is to use games, simulations, especially live role-playing games (larp), because they allow you to get to know another viewpoint by taking on a role.

An example of a game designed for a relatively well-known post-apocalyptic world:

Game-example: Hunger Games

1st Hunger Games Larp in Hungary

Hunger Games in Poland

Students research support activities for homeless/poor people in town including hostels and foster homes. Aim to visit some of these and speak with staff and service users.

Discuss findings and how they might provide support e.g. volunteer work in the shelter, buddy work, fundraising etc. Implement and evaluate the project.

Short description

Group activity. Allocate the following roles:

Step 1

(If the problem presenter stops talking before the 4 minutes elapses, everyone else stays silent until the 4 minutes pass. This is key! The problem presenter gets 4 uninterrupted minutes.)

Step 2 (4 minutes)

Step 3 (4 minutes)

This is time to explore and clarify the problem. Focus on the positive points only and not what can’t be done.

Step 4 (4 minutes)

The First Step.

A coach from the group volunteers to phone or see the person within 3 days to check if they took their first step.

Short description

Person A: Talk about yourself to your partner. Person B: Now imagine you are Person A based on what you have heard and introduce yourself as if you are Person A. Now try the same in reverse. How did that feel? Listening to the other person speak as you? Speaking as the other person?

Short description

Group activity. In your group, divide a piece of paper into 3 columns. Head one column ‘Understanding others’. In this column write words that help describe understanding others. Head the next column ‘sympathy for others’. Underneath, write words that help describe/define this. In the final column, write empathy. Write words that help describe/define empathy. What do you see as the difference between these three?

Short description

Group activity. Students are shown a selection of pictures containing people in a range of different situations. Students discuss how they think each of the characters are feeling and why they think that.