Home of more than119.000 people

This is a Non-profit project that aims to bring new insights to restoring human life through foundations of alive learning and practice of inner work to enliven a culture capable of participatory governance. With this project we help catalyze cultural movement.


Inner work for healing and growth

Open Up's founder Katrien Franken is the initiator and creator of an inner work program for refugees which has been 

launched in Q1 of 2021 and offered to youth fellows in the Nakivale refugee settlement in Uganda. A collaboration with Unidos Social Innovation Center in Uganda. The process in the program if around connected openness where skills are offered as experiencing learning through engaged dialogues, engaged inquiry, engaged listening, connected breathing and deep psychological practices. Through creating a network, the project aims at connecting young across the region to collaborate on regional sustainable development and wellbeing with Open Up. 



Nakivale in Uganda which was established in 1958 and is the 8th largest refugee camp in the world. Located near the Tanzania border in Isingiro district in Southern Uganda, the camp stretches for 184 km2 (71 Sq miles) and covers rolling hills, fertile fields, a lake and many streams. It is home to 119,600 refugees from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan. A key amenity that is lacking in Nakivale is education. According to UNHCR, “Many children and youth (in Nakivale) do not attend school due to high school fees for secondary school, overcrowding, and long travel distances to schools. According to Social Innovation Academy, a local NGO who has been working with refugees in Uganda since 2006, “Uganda has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world. An estimated 700,000 new entrants join the Ugandan labor market each year and compete for the only 12,000 available formal jobs.​



Most organisations promote self-reliance and enhance the lifestyle of refugees. Through the program of Open Up people have realised that despite what they've done so far, it is difficult to reach the change they want to see. Most of the people in the community are still facing negative emotions, and are traumatized by their past life. (hunger, war, conflict, violence, child-labor) which in turn causes physical and mental health issues, negative emotions, traumatism, fear and anxiety. The Open Up program helps them to learn how to relate and deal with their inner state, overcome their fear, and decrease the trauma rate in the settlement. It allows youth to regain their own hopes long abandoned because of the struggles and pains struck in their lives both back in their countries of origins, and in the district of Isingiro (Nakivale Refugee Settlement).



Self learning

Inquire into our story, learning journey and calling. Learn to deeply listen and hold space for the bold and brave. In this space we explore presence, and open to truth through 

'what is most alive to come alive.'


self healing

Experiential learning and science education on the interconnection of body, brain and nervous system. Create safety and build resilience with conscious breathwork as fertiliser for healing.


self discovering

Meeting the deeper wisdom and collective intelligence in the intersubjective space. Learning how to flow with the unknown, the non-ordinary, and mystical and safely support yourself and others in it.


self understanding

Learning to be able to integrate the inner work in the outside environment and skilfully generate a deeper understanding on the complexities that arise.





We're creating the space for a whole new set of generative questions to be explored and experienced with learners in order to re-imagine and co-create a rich field of collaborative learning. Through Learning and Practice we open and engage with culture from an inner learning perspective to increase people’s ability to make sense of complex issues, by sharing and highlighting our processes for doing so. Open Up seeks to build a body of social transformation that will begin to address these questions and outline the way out of our current state.



At the core of the project, Open Up seek to provide a foundation and source of credibility for what is possible in exploring new understandings of learning and education and through that create a cultural movement toward higher-quality of embodied learning, agency and collective growth. By introducing Cycles of Learning, instead of levels, or degrees, we practice our intelligence capacity through an embodied learning process and practice to open up and lean into the mystery of the world that now is, and re-engage with it with our intelligence, body and intuition. To make ourselves available to breathe-with, improvise-with, experiment-with, play-with, become-with, fail-with, see-with, connect-with the world within us.. It is the source of all solutions. The invitation to to become an "alive learner". In addition to the program we create, this will become home to a generative community that will grow through innovation, facilitated dialogues, partnerships, and collaborations. 


There are already many leadership organizations, traditional educational organizations, and political and social movements. What Open Up is seeking to do does not fit into any one of these categories. 


We are not driven by the size of our audience, journalism prizes or favorable coverage. At the heart this is about building integrity in the emergence of a cultural transformation that opens as collective intelligence and cooperation to build regenerative solutions that humanity is facing. 


This initiative aims to catalyze cultural movement through alive learning education. To bring new insights to restoring human life through the trajectory of inner work to enliven a culture capable of participatory governance. We want to globally create possibilities for inner development for refugee youth, and inspire them to engage, participate and co-create in possibilities for a brighter future. 

Our mission is to support local young entrepreneurs by providing skills that help them move forward with presence, a deeper authentic relationship with themselves and others. Promoting, enabling and facilitating inclusive activities which empower families and youth academically, socially, and health-culture in order to inspire them to take on leadership roles in their communities.

Together with Unidos Social Center in Uganda, we are creating possibilities for refugee youth in Kenya, Tanzania and DR Congo to become part of this program. The next steps can be taken through sufficient funding to cover the costs we have made so far, and to further develop the program and introduce it also to other refugee settlements in the world. We are ready to launch and prepare for a new cycle of learning in Q3 2021 and scale it across the world in other refugee settlements. With financial support we can expand in all East Africa.


Alive Learning Educationbuilding a body of inner work processes that will begin to re-engage and re-imagine a different learning culture. At the core of the project, The Open Up Program seek to provide a scenius mindset for a cultural movement toward higher-quality inner learning and collective transformation. Scenius stands for the intelligence and the intuition of a whole cultural scene)  

Greater inner Awareness: fostering a deeper connection through physical and psychological practices to explore the inner word, and open to a greater resource and way of being. 

Youth Skills Development: Social learning sessions, toolkits, and capacity building to develop several competencies to empower and transform youth into peaceful conscious change makers who drive social-economic development—regardless of their skin colors, back grounds, religious affiliations and beliefs.

Social Inclusion: Building social cohesion, and creating a long-term foundation for them to engage in an active, innovative and developmental society.

Community Engagement and Participation: Engagement and participation and amplifying the ‘youth voice’ through deep listening, self expression and opening to their deepest truths. Empowering youth to play a participatory role and claim ownership over developmental affairs, while building peace and stability.

Ownership in the Future: Through practice and through funding. Through self agency and sovereignty.


Open Up
for Refugee Youth

   Inner work program  


More coming soon on how you can become involved.

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© Open Up 2021