Living a Good Life: Bringing relationships, community and purpose to the lives of marginalised peopl

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Report | April 18, 2011

Files: PDF | 5 MB | 45 pages

In November 2009, the Rockefeller Foundation sponsored a meeting at its Bellagio Center in Italy, bringing together 18 recognised social innovators from around the world. These innovators are all working to ensure that marginalised and vulnerable people are not only decently housed, but can also feel welcome and lead a dignified life in the communities in which they live.

Coming from ten countries in six different continents, the participants work with a range of vulnerable individuals and communities, including those whose physical and mental differences set them apart from mainstream society, as well as those excluded by generations of prejudice such as dalits in India, the Gypsy and Roma people of Europe and indigenous people in Australia, Canada and India. Other participants work with homeless persons, including older homeless individuals, refugees and migrants and those left behind after the breakdown of the communist system in Eastern Europe.

All of the participants had many years, often decades, of deep personal commitment to their work, enabling them to share lessons gained through long experience. There was a broad harmony of values, with all participants having respect for those individuals who live on the margins of society and recognising the limitations of current welfare systems in addressing their needs and rights.

Of particular significance was the opportunity to share experiences between developing and developed countries. Despite the differences in the level of public resources available in their countries, participants shared tremendous commonality with respect to their basic philosophy and had a great deal to share with and learn from each other concerning strategies for overcoming their respective problems.

This report sets out the results of the deliberations and sharing of experience of this group of social innovators over a period of three days. One of the key purposes of the meeting was to identify innovative practices and policies and how they could be implemented to address the persistent and increasing problems faced by those who continue to be excluded and marginalised from society. Brief introductions to 14 such practices are set out in the text with references to where more detailed information can be accessed.