When you make peace with who you are, it is much easier to spread peace to the world

A Peacemaking Project by Sanah J.

What is the injustice we are solving?

In the seventh grade, I woke up to find most of my hair on my pillow. I was diagnosed with Alopecia Universalis, and the whole concept of living a “comfortable life” slowly disappeared. I bought a wig hoping to hide my struggles, but my self-confidence plummeted. The bullying I faced from my peers was endless. I had an online BurnPage made about me, received a note in my locker titled “50 ways to go kill yourself,” and felt as if I had no way out. After a year of struggling, I made the courageous decision to go without my wig and accept myself. When I learned to accept myself, I found a new kind of happiness that I had never before experienced. I wanted everyone feel worthy of success and find the same confidence I found, so I started a non-profit organization called the Love Your Natural Self Foundation. The injustice this project will address is the lack of self-love programming. Young people around the world are facing insecurity and are given no resources to cope with their circumstances.

Our Compassionate Solution:

To solve this injustice of lack of self-love
we will address the self-bullying and negative rhetoric we use towards ourselves
by changing the language and teaching compassionate self-talk

Our Project Plan:

Goals

  • To provide free assemblies to K-12 campuses that focus on self-love.
  • To create a unique curriculum for each grade level.
  • To have important conversations about self-love.

We will increase my / our compassion by...

Our project will demonstrate compassion by beginning with the concept of self-compassion. As we move through everyday life, we are extremely hard on ourselves. Our insecurities, failures, and hardships begin to define us, and we are not able to show ourselves the compassion that we show others. It is easy to tell yourself, “I am not good enough,” “I am going to fail,” or “I can’t do this.” It is difficult, however, to practice self-compassion. For these reasons I believe that self-compassion needs to be taught in schools. A major core value of our project is that once you make peace with yourself, you can bring peace to the world. Once you are able to show yourself compassion, you will be able to effectively spread love and compassion to others.

How will you show courage?

The root of our project is courage. The founder of the concept and the idea, Sanah Jivani, first came up with the idea for this project as an act of courage. When Sanah was only 12 years old, she woke up to find all of her hair on her pillow. Heartbroken, Sanah turned to wigs, filled with self-hate. Everyday was difficult as Sanah moved through school without the necessary tools to gain confidence. She had to slowly teach herself self-love. Sanah courageously chose to practice self-love and go without her wig. Her courage didn’t stop there, however, as she decided to turn this adversity into an opportunity to help others. Courage doesn’t mean lack of struggle and fear- Courage means using that struggle and fear to make an impact on the community. Our project embodies courage, challenging people to be who they really are.

How will you collaborate with others?

Much of our project involves working with different schools and campuses to implement this day of self-love and this curriculum. We work with student leaders and educators who are interested in our mission. By providing these individuals with a comprehensive curriculum, they are able to apply it to their campus and community. Ultimately, we hope to collaborate with school boards, cities, and policy makers. We have a strong sense of vision, and we are dedicated to creating a world where curriculum surrounding self-love is accessible.

How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)

As our project reaches and inspires more people, we will know our project is moving in the right direction when people report how our curriculum has helped them be happier with themselves. This impact will be more prevalent as more schools participate in the international day of self-love. Thus, a more quantifiable way to determine we are moving in the right direction is the number of campuses that are hosting a day of self-love event and teaching their students about self-love and confidence. In the last year, we have also started collecting quantitative and qualitative data to measure our work via a survey, and we have made some significant improvements since last working with Peace First.

Key Steps

  • Reach out to campuses in the San Antonio community, that we have not yet reached.
  • Propose our assembly and curriculum package to them.
  • Present at these schools.
  • Have a reflection and data-gathering period.

Reflection:

How did the project deepen your team's understanding of the injustice?

By working directly with students impacted by low self-esteem, we saw the different root causes of low self-confidence. We understood that each student has a unique journey, and there are several components of their past and their personal identity that make up their self-worth. We learned that the injustice is about way more than low self-esteem- it's about the factors that cause a child to grow up not loving and appreciating who they are.

How did your community change as a result of your project?

Over 500 students received access to an extensive self-esteem workshop and assembly. By helping these students see their own potential, we saw overall improvements in campus climate and a high desire to start their own initiatives and projects.

How many people were impacted by your project?

500

Explain how you came up with the number of people impacted by the project?

500 students were directly impacted by an assembly. This number could be higher, because we are confident that those students paid it forward and impacted even more students.

How did your team learn more about the people affected by the injustice?

We took the time to get to know many individuals. Even though we presented a large group of 500 students, the one-on-one conversations taught us so much about each individual. We learned that each student has a unique journey that makes up their self-worth.

What did your team learn?

We learned that in some way, every student struggles with low self-confidence and self-acceptance. Each student had their own struggle. Sometimes, these struggles rooted from society and structural injustice. Sometimes, these struggles rooted from family relationships. Sometimes, these struggles rooted from childhood trauma. No matter what, we learned that every child has a story. We hope that in some way, we could remind these children of their strength, courage, and worth.

What challenges did your team overcome?

We presented through grades k-5. This was challenging, because we had to think about how to present this topic to the variety of ages that we worked with. We realized that you can't teach self-esteem to a kindergarten student the same way you can to a fifth grader. With collaboration and communication, however, we were able to create several different presentations so we could cater to the different audiences we worked with.

How have you involved others in designing, carrying out, or expanding this project?

We encouraged the students at the school to continue to lead self-esteem initiatives on their campuses. Several of the fourth and fifth graders were encouraged to lead their own activities surrounding self-esteem after our presentation. We believe by getting the students involved, we can maximize our impact.

What advice would you give to someone starting a peacemaking project?

One of my favorite phrases is: Blossom where you are planted. To me, this means, start making change exactly where you are. When you think about changing the world, it is easy to get overwhelmed. However, if you start where you are and impact the individuals around you, soon enough, you'll be on your way to changing the world.

Comments:

Fish S.
7 June 2018 9:29

Hi Sanah!

Congratulations on finishing your peacemaking project! I’m on the Peace First team and wanted to say thank you for your amazing work and for taking time to share about your work.

Below you will find some feedback based on your Reflection, which we hope will help you to celebrate your incredible accomplishment and reflect on how to grow and develop your project in the future:

Sanah, we are always so thrilled by your deep compassion and care for others, and so touched by the stories of transformation you share as part of your project. We love the work you do - but even more, we love the way you do the work. Thank you for all you did to "remind these children of their strength, courage, and worth." It's especially exciting to see that as you went along, you were able to course-correct and differentiate your curriculum to best serve students, that you worked closely with schools and students in the design processes, and that you laid the groundwork for future change in encouraging the fourth and fifth graders to lead work of their own -- that is so amazing!

I'm wondering - were you able to collect any data (from surveys, quotes, etc) about the experience and how young people built self-esteem as a result of your work? I think the fact that fourth and fifth-graders are starting projects of their own is a really important data point that shows how inspirational your work was. Having good data that shows your impact will be important as you work to expand to other schools.

Finally, as you continue working to build self-esteem and grow your project - we want to help. You mentioned that you'd like feedback on your presentation - that's something we can absolutely do if you share it on your page. I know you also wanted to think about how to build this into a program that works at different schools - let me know how we can support you in this!

We hope you will stay in touch and keep us up to date as you continue your work to create change!

Fish  

Sue D.
4 April 2018 14:59

Hi Sanah! Congratulations! Your project has been selected to receive a Peace First Challenge mini-grant. We will be in touch soon with details about this payment.

The mini-grant process is also a space for you to get feedback on your peacemaking project. We hope you will use this feedback to further strengthen your project. Please see the feedback on your mini-grant below

Strengths:
This is a wonderful project that is addressing a very real injustice! Your insight is strong about how peace starts with the love you give to yourself. You've done a wonderful job of articulating how you will use courage, compassion, and collaboration in the process, have a solid plan for measuring your success in place, and a great action plan for implementing the project! I think your plan to spread your work to more schools in your community and include more ways to understand the impact you are having is an excellent one.

Things to consider (Opportunities to further strengthen the project)
You may want to think about what will be the specific things you are measuring beyond the number of students participating. How will you know that you are having an impact? What experience do you want the students to have?

Congratulations and best of luck with your project!  

Fish S.
26 March 2018 10:48

Hi Sanah!

We're excited to hear more about your ideas to address this important injustice! I wanted to let you know about an opportunity -- if you are interested in getting some funding for materials that you need to carry out your project, you can apply for a mini-grant of up to $250.

The deadline to submit your Project Plan and Mini-Grant Application is March 31st if you want to remain eligible to apply to attend a Peace First Accelerator.

As you craft your plan, be sure to consider the feedback we gave you on your compassionate insight, and check out our project planning tools for help turning your insight into a concrete action plan: https://www.peacefirst.org/plan-your-project

Then, through your dashboard you can make any changes you want to make to your "compassionate insight," record your plan in "Make a plan" and then "Apply for a mini-grant" for the materials you need.

Let us know if you have questions or if we can help in any way. We're looking forward to supporting your project!
 

Bobby J.
9 March 2018 11:40

Hi Sanah, I am Bobby Jones and I am part of the Peace First team. I love this project on so many levels and your video is very powerful. On a personal note, my mother has Alopecia and I've seen first hand how it can effect people. I'm actually going to share your video with her. You have shown a tremendous amount of courage, compassion and collaboration already.
I really like your compassionate solution - "To solve this injustice of
lack of self-love we will address the self-bullying and negative rhetoric we use towards ourselves by changing the language and teaching compassionate self-talk" I believe I read about your work last year and it seems like you have some effective models for helping young people to do this. I love the emphasis on self love and care. One question I have is how can this magnificent work cross lines of difference and reach other young people in pain who instead choose to send negative notes and energy to others? how can this help them to heal as well and become allies in your work? That is an area I would encourage you to explore as you build your model.
Great work and so excited to see what you create. We are here to help!  

Fish S.
23 January 2018 16:38

Sanah! So glad to see you back. Really glad to hear that Love Your Natural Self Foundation is going strong and will be entering the Challenge again this year!

What are your plans for this spring, and how can we help?  

Amy T.
1 August 2018 14:36

Hi Sanah!

Amy here--I'm a member of the Peace First team, and I wanted to let you know that I really like how your project teaches children the importance of self love/care in order to grow and do good around them. Self-care is often not talked about in school, but it is definitely a crucial step that people must be familiar with in order to have healthy successes in the future and I'm happy to hear how your non-profit continues to do that. I hope that you'll submit an application to tell your story at the first-ever Peace First Summit on 9/16!

Applications are due today, August 1--you should have more information in your email inbox. Here's the application link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd6X9fTrSTC6PoXjLpVUtNlJgZHbd5QdB6-hgxlC-d7DBlK_g/viewform Please let me know if you have any questions--I hope you'll apply!

Warmly,
Amy