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Compassion Education Corps

Utilize an established network of cities, specialized partners and a community of a million people to respond to educational needs & crises.

Photo of Marilyn Turkovich
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What problem does your innovation solve?

The Charter for Compassion proposes the creation & implementation of a corps of global volunteers from our network: to react to continuing the education of students during times of crisis and disaster and to create an online learning program for girls who are being robbed of an education. We intend to team up with, a company known for applying technology that tackle difficult problems & promotes community and action in their platforms. Also, Xocial has a track record on measurement.

Explain your innovation.

We propose to create and execute a train-the-trainer program. The design and implementation would be for a corps of teachers, social workers and Charter members, in a selected pilot country, to be able to respond in an emergency to the educational needs of youth and especially of girls. As purported in the writings of Paulo Friere we would be working closely with local people to inform the content and process for the program. For example, the Charter has a number of partners in Amman, Jordan, who are working with refugee programs at the border and in Amman proper, who currently help with tutoring and providing supplemental learning experiences. Many of the latter are geared to what might be termed "survival education." While this is meaningful work it doesn't always get to the core need of education as seen by youth and their families. With the help of the Compassion Education Corps we will work to enhance existing curricula and work with to produce the curricula through smart phones, use of the cloud and/or by using flash drives. The simpler the technology the better. In a recent training session in Amman, working with almost 250 students, teachers, admin and parents, students from 11 different schools undertook creating compassion projects for their individual schools by using the OpenIDEO process. We can use this same process to design our curriculum. The beauty of working with local partners is that the material can be developed in the vernacular language.

Who benefits?

The world will benefit from the education of a child. With more than 123 million children between the ages of 15- 24, who can't read or write, 61% are girls. Children born to literate mothers are 50% more likely to send their children to school thus ending a cycle that plaques over 65 million girls. In Amman with the refugee crisis, there are many professionals in the camps and in resettlement who can become a part of the Compassion Ed Corps-becoming primary contributors and teachers in the program along with local Charter members. The program can be a K-12 venture, with the help of involving older students with younger children as well as with corps members. Curriculum will be developed to respond to the needs of girls. Number of children served will be based on how many people are in the corps. We propose to work where we have multiple partners. Our expectations are high. Measurement will be quantitative & qualitative-pointing to skills & content results & analysis for replication.

How is your innovation unique?

We are proposing a student directed curriculum. Just as Sugata Mitra was able to prove with his "Hole in the Wall" approach to education (he put a computer in a hut in India- allowed students to use it) students can learn on their own & more importantly teach others. Mitra has gone on to do amazing work world wide. We are adding help to students in the way of the Compassion Education Corps-directed by people from their own communities-in their own language. Integrate the work originating in Paulo Friere's Pedagogy of the Oppressed, starting with the notion of coming to consciousness of need and incorporate Mitra's learning experiences. Our approach will also include the principles of Robert Hanvey through introducing how education should be guided by understanding one's own perspectives and weighing them against others, awareness and caring for the earth, importance of cultural continuity, and an acute understanding of the inter-dependency of the world and responsibility to act.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

Technological transfer of content is a concern. How best to work with locals to determine the educational content needs and address the differences in values: such as the importance of girls receiving equal education opportunities. Development of unique pragmatic experiences that become a focal points for continuing on a theme of learning. Arriving at several different models of measurement & evaluation, i.e., how can students measure their own learning and make decisions on next steps; what parts of what we do can be replicated in other geographic areas; can there be a template through which we can start a new process; how much of the training can be done through the internet; what are the best presentations for archiving materials.

Tell us more about you.

Charter for Compassion is a network of cities, made up of grassroot organizers who are working on sustainable action plans to address severe needs in their locale. They do this in conjunction with sector partners (arts, business, education, environment, healthcare, interfaith, peace, social justice, social services, science & research, women & girls). There are 400 cities & 1700 partners. In addition, we have geographic hubs in Australia, Botswana, Canada, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, UK, USA.

What is the primary type of emergency setting where your innovation would operate?

  • Natural disaster
  • Armed conflict
  • Prolonged displacement
  • Extreme drought

Emergency Setting - Elaborate

Prime places for the Compassion Education Corps' work would be in Jordan in two camps, Zaatari and Mrajeeb Al Fhood and resettlement programs hosted by the Collateral Repair Project, an organization responsible for providing for 5000 Syrian and Iraqi families. We also have strong local partnerships with schools, teachers and healthcare providers who would be trained, along with recruits from the camps to be a part of the Corps. There is a compassionate city program in Amman to lend support.

Where will your innovation be implemented?

In addition to Jordan we are poised with strong Charter teams in Mexico , Pakistan, Indonesia to work with emergency situations in those countries or in the case of Mexico, in other Spanish speaking countries. Our Australian team, which is closely linked to education and healthcare can be trained to help in expanding our work in the Asia and the Pacific. The Charter also has a healthcare hub located in Canberra at the National University with access to a strong core of educators and students.

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

In-country Networks

As stated above, the Charter has initiatives in 52 countries with multiple partners. Depending on the country(ies) selected for this project we would first enlist the efforts of the organizing team from the city and then partners. Using Jordan as an example, we would solicit help from the Amman city team, local schools, Charter partners: Collateral Repair Project, Help4Refugees, Reclaim Childhood and UNICEF. The Amman team continues to build partnerships and defining its work.

Sector Expertise

  • I've worked in a sector related to my innovation for more than a year.

Sector Expertise - Elaborate

The Charter director, instructional designer & facilitator,has been involved in intercultural education programs for over 30 years heading National Security in Education programs in Brazil at the Paulo Friere Institute, Guatemala working with Women for Guatemala, and directing three Fulbright Hayes Fellowship programs in India. In addition, the Charter's Global Compassion Council has a number of members who are working on localized issues in Cuba, Jordan, India, Indonesia, Pakistan & Palestine.

Innovation Maturity

  • Existing Prototype or Pilot: I have tested a part of my solution with users and am iterating.

Organization Status

  • We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.

Organization Location

Charter for Compassion International is registered through the State of WA, US. We have 400 city organizing teams in 52 countries & 8 country hubs.


Main Ed section on site includes registration for our Compassion Schools Charter, a section on thinking about education and revolutionary ideas: is one of 4 pages we have-including women and girls: Maintain accounts on,, Instragram, &
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Attachments (2)


The Charter for Compassion is a document that urges the peoples and religions of the world to embrace the core value of compassion. In May 2013, the Dalai Lama said the Compassionate Cities campaign is one of the most important activities on the planet. Charter Partners have created a Compassionate School Network in Pakistan, a Dutch Compassion Award and Stanford researchers are showing businesses why compassion is good for the bottom line.


Since its inception the Charter for Compassion (CCI) has been committed to cultivating compassion in educational settings, and creating the kind of culture where it is a norm of student and staff behavior. We have created a Charter for Compassionate Schools, a Compassion Reader which includes sections on revolutionary and transformative ideas on education, conducted workshops that address dealing with critical issues based on the pedagogy of Paulo Friere and published a number of online guides.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Thea

Hi Marilyn,

I would like to share some resources to add to the discussion. This article "The Rise of Global Education" is encouraging as it reports a rise in literacy around the world.

The article mentions that in 2016, the US State Department partnered with online education platform Coursera to allow refugees from around the world to take all its courses for free and obtain certification.

“One in every 10 primary-school-age children remain out of school, and an estimated 103 million youth around the world still cannot read and write. And while technology helps provide students with access to learning tools and resources they didn’t have before, it’s not a silver bullet. The best education happens when you’ve got a good teacher, and when you get personalised instruction. The human connection is still the most important thing.”

I've been following Worldreader which operates in 55 countries, providing them with 42,899 book titles in 43 languages, with over 6 million “readers” since 2010.

Happy to add resources as they surface. I believe there are entire networks focusing on digital edu. It would also be great if children and educators who already have the privilege of an education could create programs to somehow reach out to those in crisis situations.

Perhaps some of our global documentaries at Films for the Planet could inspire cities, students, and educators to bridge build, partner with communities abroad, and become cross culturally aware by learning more about the challenges facing displaced people due to lack of resources, climate, political upheaval, etc. The main objective would be uniting to take informed action.

Photo of Marilyn Turkovich

Thea, these are incredible suggestions. I've gone to all three and can see how we as a project can be informed, and perhaps use these sources, especially the Coursera platform as part of our project. As the quote emphases the importance of a good hands-on teacher, mentor and instructor, this is also one of the challenges of our proposed project--how to help mold compassionate dynamic teachers. Thank you for these leads.

Photo of Thea

Hi Marilyn
Here is a great article about Hewlett Packard's work - an effort to eradicate illiteracy in India’s small towns, where residents often suffer from a cyclical challenge of poor access to education, limited job options and decimating malnutrition.

Last February the company rolled out the first of several buses designed specifically to combat that challenge. The World on Wheels project, a joint project of HP and SRF Foundation, made its maiden journey last February when the company unveiled the first bus containing 48 self-contained digital inclusion learning labs. Each lab is internet-ready and can be adapted for a variety of learning modules, including business training for entrepreneurs, e-learning and other services. The 48 buses hope to reach as many as 6,400 villages and 15 million people in the next 6 years.

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