OUR SOCIAL EXPERIENCES | ETCH EMPATHY
Frequently Asked Questions
How do our programmes work?
Read a list of our frequently asked questions to learn about the rationale behind our programmes and community activities.
1.Why do you develop and offer programmes?
As the Chinese proverb puts it: ‘I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.’ Participants find "experience" far more impactful and lasting than talks and documentaries.
We invite participants to walk in the shoes and see through the lenses of others. As one participant told us after participating in a poverty escape social experience, “Researching online or reading books would not have taught me what I learned in the past hour”.
We offer programmes for those who wish to empathise with social challenges other people face. We also hope to empower them to turn this empathy into thoughtful, meaningful and effective action.
2. What do you aim to achieve by offering programmes?
Education:We hope to give participants greater knowledge of social challenges.
Empathy:We hope to engage the heart, head and hands of our participants.
Reflections:We explore ways during our debrief for participants to learn from each other.
3. Are your programmes realistic?
It is always a challenge to portray a social issue in a sensitive way. Such social experiences can only mirror the real thing to a certain extent. In this, the social experience format faces the same challenge as other forms of communication: movies, documentaries, living museums, speeches or written papers. All may fail to give a 100% representation of the social challenge discussed.
However, if designed appropriately, each programme can portray their subject matter in a way that allows participants a deeper identification with the subject matter and a fuller understanding of ways to solve them.
To help guide this process, when we seek to represent any particular need through programme, two imperatives are of critical importance to us.
Firstly, we work alongside people who have faced or are facing the issue we are addressing so that we can best represent the issue through the programme.
Secondly, we work with VWOs/NPOs who champion the social issue.
These two groups help steer the development of our programme: the story line and its trueness to life, the props and set that best reflect reality, and the points they consider of critical importance for participants to take away.
4. What is the typical outcome of your programmes?
We have been exploring social experiences, designing and running them since 2014 and have observed participants becoming more motivated and better able to relate to the social issue when they are doing their community service. We hope our Social Experience can inspire more inclusivity and further engagement of underserved communities in all aspect of the economy.
To learn more about the outcome of our programmes, kindly take a look at our research study conducted in partnership with the Singapore University of Technology and Design.
5. What is the intensity of the programme?
The intensity varies with each individuals but some programme could be more intense than the others. Our programmes are checked for safety and participants can be assured that they will not come to any actual harm. At any point during the experience, if participants feel they cannot manage, they may step out of the programme and speak with our experienced staff. As of date, no participant has requested that.