Empowerment+ An Interfaith Social Cohesion & Enterprise Initiative
UK Pilot: Helping those experiencing a wide range of socio-economic risks including displacement, unemployment, isolation, crime, addiction and extremism through integration, empowerment & self-reliance.
Integration and empowerment can help those experiencing a wide range of socio-economic risks including displacement, unemployment, isolation, crime, addiction and extremism. The Empowerment+ initiative will field interfaith teams that (1) reach out to and mentor at-risk individuals, imparting empowering skills and networks by using an empowerment+ toolkit to be used in groups, plus (2) catalyze sustainable businesses that increase integration and resiliency of non-integrated communities where problems can grow.
Because the initiative will be staffed by volunteers from groups in civil society, it will be low cost but have high impact because it has the potential to equip many of thousands of volunteers to build relationships with many more thousands of people at risk.
Volunteer teams — composed of people with business know-how and sincere spirituality from various religious traditions — will use an interfaith self-reliance Empowerment+ toolkit to bring those at risk of socio-economic failure into a wider group of people who help each other acquire the key ‘temporal’ (earthly) and spiritual skills needed to be empowered and successful in the societies where they live.
Self-reliance groups will address the underlying issues by helping those at risk replace isolation, desperation and spiritual anomie with temporal and spiritual empowerment. The spiritual power of the approach is in giving those facing problems the opportunity to constructively help others in the group process.
The Empowerment+ toolkit has 12-week multiple tracks, channeling participants to the most appropriate pathway for them. These include: Starting and Growing a Business; My Job Search; Education for Better Work. The business track may be especially attractive to those with an entrepreneurial bent. The Empowerment+ toolkit is intentionally designed to be used in a group (eliminating isolation), to provide practical results (overcoming desperation), to demonstrate acceptance (ending rejection), and to model the radical spiritual power of serving others (replacing spiritual anomie with spiritual groundedness).
The practical spiritual principles in the toolkit are supported by an Interfaith Appendix, with scriptures from multiple religious and belief traditions – including Humanism.
For more information, contact Brian J. Grim, PhD, Visiting Professor, School of Management and Social Sciences, St. Mary’s University, Twickenham/London, and President, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation.