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The river of life

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Sheet of paper Have plenty of sheets of paper, from A4 to A3 to A1 sizes so that participants can choose which ones are more appropriate for them.
Pens Have plenty of coloured pens, pencils, markers for people to use.

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Sense of Perspective

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The river of life

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man. — Heraclitus

  • 2.5 hours
  • Medium



Exploring the flow that connects our changemaker journey.

What are the features of a river? A river has a source and a mouth, and in between it may cross mountains, hills, plains, and deserts… It may run fast and turbulently or slowly and lazily. It bends and meanders; it forms lakes and waterfalls… Most importantly, it flows. And the water of the river always adapts to its surrounding environment, overcoming obstacles that may prevent it from continuing its course, tapping into other rivers and lakes, to finally unite itself to the vaster sea.

Like a river, our life flows at different speeds, bending here and there, turning us upside down like a waterfall, building bridges where obstacles arise, meeting others whom we can share our journey towards the sea with… Like a river, our life flows.

This activity is a visual narrative method that helps changemakers share stories of their past, present, and future and understand the key pillars in their journeys. It is a powerful activity for groups to introduce themselves in a creative and meaningful way, but it could also be used to understand and reflect on the past and imagine the future of a project for instance.

*Image © Greta Rossi


1 hr


Invite people to get a few sheets of paper and coloured pens, pencils, markers and give them one hour for them to draw their river of life. What are the key events, milestones, people, etc. that have brought them to be the changemakers they are today and to be where they are today? Invite them to draw and to minimise the use of words and numbers.

1.5 hrs

Sharing in small groups

Divide people in small groups (3-5 people per group) and invite them to present their rivers of life to their group members. Give them around 20 minutes each, so that there is plenty of time for them to present their river of life and answer any questions the group may have.

Greta Rossi

Chief Empathy Officer at Akasha Innovation. Co-founder of ImpactAimers and Recipes for Wellbeing. Regional Coordinator for Ashoka's ChangemakerXchange. Youth coach and FRSA.

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