This activity involves co-operation and symbolises working together to find solutions to problems.
1. Ask the participants to get into small groups of 6-8.
2. Tell everyone to stand shoulder to shoulder in a circle, with their arms stretched out in front of them.
3. They should now reach out and take hold of each other's hands. The conditions are that a) no two people may hold both hands with each other and b) no-one should hold the hand of someone immediately beside them. (The result is what looks like a big knot of hands!)
4. Now tell the participants to untangle the knot without letting go of the hands.
Participants will have to climb under and over each other's arms. It takes a little patience, but the surprising result will be one or two big circles.
This activity works well as a fun energiser. If you want to make a point, then you can ask the groups how they felt when they first made the knot: Did it seem like a crazy or hopeless task to untangle the knot? When they had completed the task, were they surprised at the result? You could go on to say that they should remember Mahatma Gandhi's words, "the difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems."
Manual for Human Rights Education
with Young People