sexta-feira, maio 16, 2014

Pilar: "The struggle of feminism is an universal struggle"

If there is a person engaged with the feminist cause, that's without any doubts Pilar. Active volunteer in everything related with women's rights struggle, she wanted to put some light in a topic sometimes vague and always controversial. So if you want to know a bit more about feminism, you just need to keep reading.

- When and how did your interest in feminism start?
I think that I've always been interested in feminism. When I was a child my models were women, not men, and when I decided to focus my education in the social field my interest became even bigger. One of the areas we work in as social workers is gender equality, so I am interested in deepening my knowledge about what I can do as an educator in that field, what kind of projects are being developed and what type of measures exist. In 2012 I came to Lisbon to work in UMAR, which is an important women association, and I completely realized and reaffirmed that my engagement with feminism was total.

- How was your experience in UMAR?
 I came the first time thanks to a European project called DIJE, which consisted in an internship to check how equality measures were implemented in a real association. The association was UMAR, and I loved it because they are very important in the national level. The work they do is really large, from education in schools to human traffic, gender violence or equality among seniors. And my workmates were amazing, they always supported me a lot, so in 2013 I came again to make my Leonardo da Vinci with them. I took part in the project ISI, and my tasks were related with documentation and registration of bibliographic and filmographic resources and pedagogic materials, organization of events for abused women's children and assistance to seminars, courses and debates related with the issues UMAR was working on. I learnt a lot from my co-workers, from their energy and their peaceful revolutionary spirit. I learnt that the struggle can and must be done, so now I am still a volunteer with them and I try to be a link between UMAR and ALEM, where I am doing my EVS project, transferring my previous learnings to my lessons with the girls in the school where I work now.

- What is feminism for you? Why do you thing it is necessary?
For me, feminism is a movement defending the equality between genders, the real equality of opportunities and rights between women and men. There are many types of feminism and many ways to be a feminist, but it is above all a common struggle shared by men and women, it is not something exclusively feminine. Feminism fights against some principles of the patriarchal system which not only discriminate women, but also some men who don't fit the social standards. Patriarchal system is so deeply set in our society that trying to change it is really a hard work. Women were traditionally the most damaged ones by the system and that's why they were the ones starting the struggle, but they are fighting for benefits for the society as an all. And that's why I think that feminism is important and necessary, because without feminism equality cannot exist. As equality doesn't exist itself because of the established patterns, feminism is necessary to fight to achieve that goal.

- What are the biggest prejudices that society has about feminism?
There are a lot of people who are feminist without knowing it and many other people who declare themselves as feminist without being it at all. People saying that women should be in a superior place to men only arouse distrust in society, and that affects the whole movement. The fact of expressing ideas and claiming for rights as nobody had never done before is uncomfortable for the system, so that's why some people tell that feminists are crazy, hysteric and extremist.

- Do you think is easy being a woman? What are for you the biggest dangers for women nowadays?
Personally, because of the family and the society where I grew up, I have never had problems as a woman. But in a general level there are a lot of differences according to the countries. In many societies women are the main target of terrorism just because of the fact that they are women. Then if, besides being a woman they come from a different culture or religion, or have any disability or are single moms, things can be even worse for them. Related with all of that, there are many dangers that women must face, such as forced marriages, human trafficking, female circumcision, gender violence or lack of education. Many girls lose their right to be educated just to benefit their brothers. If the parents need to choose, the girls are always supposed to stay at home, taking care of the house, the father and eventually the husband. This results in feminization of poverty and their economic dependency on men.
 - Regarding these dangers, what are the challenges for feminism to avoid them?
Feminism can be useful to eliminate this huge inequality of opportunities, but the biggest challenge is to be united. I think that all the currents, even if they have different visions, should be together in the struggle, because otherwise is very difficult to achieve a big movement with results. But it is also important to make progress in obtaining a bigger effect, a bigger significance. And for that it is necessary to separate feminism from hembrism, which is the equivalent of machism and something completely negative. I would like the statement "I am a feminist" no longer to be considered something bad.

- What kind of measures should institutions like the EU take in matters of equality?
The most important one is the empowerment of women, with more resources for their education. This is what we know as positive discrimination, and it should be developed in order to get specific opportunities to women and giving them ways to choose, because otherwise all the opportunities would be for men. Providing more and better education is essential, because it is the basis of all the rest. It is also fundamental to implement gender equality programs with effective measures, and it should be introduced as something transversal. We need to think about equality patterns through the experience, not only in a theoretical way. There should be enough financial support to projects and initiatives which facilitate the new genaration's increasing sensitivity about these issues. Social subjects are completely forgotten in the schools, the program is focused in the scientific learnings and not in the life in a society. It would be perfect to include that kind of contents in the texts and in the pedagogy methods.

- Who are the women who inspired you the most?
All the women from my family, because they opened my mind to the world and encouraged me to go after my dreams. Especially my mom, who taught me to be strong. I also admire Mariana Pineda, who was a revolucionary woman who faced the system, Lila Downs, because of the strength that she transmits when she sings and her engagement with the feminist cause, and also Sojourner Truth. But I my heroine is without any doubt Malala. She is amazing, she is corageous and she is strong enough to keep fighting despite of her age and what happened to her. For me, she is the best of the activists.

- And talking now about culture, what book, film and song would are a must see for you?
A book: Todo bajo el cielo, by Matilde Asensi.
A film: Bye, bye Brasil, by Carlos Diegues.
A song: Para Vigo me voy, de Compay Segundo.


Na rota dos voluntários SVE: Carimba a Lituânia com a Inês Eusébio!

Sveiki! Ou como cá dizemos, olá! Deixámos o Filipe a aproveitar a sua experiência em Malta e fomos mais para norte. A paragem de hoje é a Lituânia, onde a Inês Eusébio está desde Dezembro a explorar as aventuras do Serviço Voluntário Europeu. Até Dezembro, ainda terá muito para contar, mas não quis deixar de mandar notícias a toda a comunidade arrotante ;)


Acordar num país diferente e sentir que estamos em casa é muito enriquecedor... até porque estamos mais despertos para tudo o que acontece. Fui muito bem acolhida na Lituânia desde o princípio e, passados dois meses do começo do meu projeto, posso dizer que o balanço é muito positivo.
Já percebo qualquer coisa de Lituano, e fico muito feliz quando percebo tudo o que me dizem, do princípio ao fim. Nos tempos livres ando a aprender Caminhada Nórdica e claro aproveito para conhecer novos lugares!

Em relação ao projeto em si, posso dizer que foi “desenhado” para mim. Estou a desenvolver aquilo que sei, mas ao mesmo tempo a aprender muito no âmbito social, mas também a nível artístico. Fazemos muitos trabalhos manuais e de forma muito criativa, de maneira a aproveitar as capacidades de cada um.
Acredito que de dia para dia tenho “crescido” mais um bocadinho e que até para os trabalhadores do centro social tem sido bom terem alguém com quem partilhar a sua cultura.

Esta semana fiz uma exposição com a ajuda das pessoas do Centro para o Dia da Mãe e ficou muito primaveril... :D (Vejam as fotos em baixo)
O próximo passo vai ser tentar tornar a exposição maior e interactiva, talvez com jogos, para que o público possa "tocar-lhe". Estou a pensar em direccionar  para crianças e, se possível, para pessoas com deficiência.


Tu também podes rumar a um país da Europa e ter uma experiência intercultural espectacular através da acção do Serviço Voluntário Europeu. Tu escolhes o país e o projeto! Sabe mais sobre o programa em!

quarta-feira, maio 14, 2014

De Malta para Portugal: O carimbo SVE do Filipe Leite

Continuamos a percorrer os corredores desta Europa fora à procura de histórias de voluntários e estagiários Rota Jovem a viverem experiências inesquecíveis. A paragem de hoje é Malta, este pequeno país que acolheu o Filipe Leite, que iniciou há um mês o seu projeto de Serviço Voluntário Europeu. Que tal está a ser a aventura Filipe? ;)

"A experiência do Serviço Voluntário Europeu é sem duvida uma das melhores experiências que podemos ter para uma primeira aventura longe de casa. 
É incrivel a quantidade de coisas que podes aprender; a quantidade de pessoas de diversos países.
Uma das coisas mais habituais que tem acontecido é que quando alguém diz uma palavra, todos ficam curiosos para saber como ela é dita no idioma do país de origem das pessoas presentes. Além dos participantes do meu projeto, acabei por conhecer dezenas de voluntários e ex-voluntários que fazem ou fizeram o mesmo projeto que eu estou de momento a fazer, ou de outros semelhantes. Há sempre uma ligação entre todos os voluntários SVE, até porque todos procuram conhecer-se, independentemente dos projetos a que estão afetos.
Acredito que apesar de só estar aqui apenas há um mês, algumas das amizades que estão a crescer durante esta etapa são feitas para toda a vida. 
Tenho visto ex-voluntários a vir a Malta para visitar amigos que que ainda estão em projetos ou que optaram por ficar no país do qual aprenderam a gostar. 
É fantástico partilhar a casa com pessoas de diferentes países e culturas. Aconselho a qualquer pessoa que possa e tenha a oportunidade que faça SVE, porque será de certeza um momento único e lindo na sua vida."
Parece-te interessante? Tu também podes ter uma experiência como a do Filipe, num país e projeto à tua escolha! Podes encontrar toda a informação sobre o programa!

sexta-feira, maio 09, 2014

Giovanni: "It is very important to guide people to understand and develop their own talents"

When we need to talk about education, pedagogy and even religion, Giovanni is a safe bet. After seven months of intense work in ALEM, he already has some practical experience that he wanted to share with us. And now we want to share it with you. Here it is what he has to say.

- Tell us about your experience with the scouts in Italy, when and how did your bond with the group start?
It was in 1995, when I was eight years old. At that time my parents knew that the scout group in my town was present and strong. There were many family friends volunteering there as chiefs and some of my friends as well, so my parents subscribed me saying that I was going to learn a lot. And they were right. With the scouts I matured to be a person useful to the others, dedicating my time to give a service to the community. During the 17 years I was part of the scouts, I participated in a wide variety of activities going from group games to handcrafts workshops and meetings with representatives from many civil offices, and I also became a chief myself, planning and organizing short and long-term activities for the kids. Although I quit in 2012 and I am no longer officially part of the team, I still continue collaborating with them, supporting the chiefs, suggesting them activities and even cooking for the children during the summer camps!

- What have you learnt in your experience with them [the scouts]?
Well, first of all, the spirit of service, which actually is what brought me here to do EVS. But also teamwork and mediation skills, ability to do many things even with very essential instruments, high tolerance for kids and, above all, love for education. I think that it is very important to guide people to understand their own talents and put them on advantage to everybody. And I am putting everything into practice here in Portugal!

- What are the challenges, difficulties and satisfactions of working with young people?
My experience is mainly with children, and I must say that their process of learning is fast and substantial, with pretty good results. The problem with them is that normally the groups are quite big, and as they are not self-sufficient you need to keep an eye on them all the time. With teenagers the problem is that even if the attention they need is less constant, it is stronger and more difficult because they have more complicated and enigmatic problems, so it is not easy to understand them and help them to find solutions. But you have the chance to see them growing up, dealing with those problems and conquering them, so it is comforting. And with the kids you gain lots of hugs, which is a very big recompense.

- What are the differences working with youngsters in Portugal and in Italy? And between the education system in both countries?
There is not a big difference, and I think that it is above all a social difference. I've noticed that in Portugal there is less social inequality than in Italy, where we have to deal with families without financial problems and others with huge difficulties, even if they work hard. In Portugal there are more people at the same level, the situations are more balanced. Regarding the education system, in both countries it is seriously underfunded, they aren't receiving enough money at all. In Italy we have stronger teachers but an old structure that should be reformed. In Portugal the structure is better while it is more dynamic, but it is inefficient because many schools are not provided with enough professors. There are holes in the kids' timetables just because there are not professors to cover them. For me, the solution in both cases it would be to increase the funds destined to the education and a continuous quality control to the teachers and the schools.

- What is your view about the education for affection and its importance in the education systems?
For me, it is the education about how to live a love life in the healthiest possible way, oriented to give the students the best knowledge relating to the essential elements of the life with a partner. They can learn about how to treat a partner, how to face their sexual life, which are the differences between both genders are and how to avoid stereotypes, fighting against the wrong simplification that society presents and reinforces. I think it is very important because it is a way to guarantee to all teenagers the possibility to deal with the subject, specially because you cannot trust all parents to be good enough or willing to give that kind of education. So, from my point of view, it should be present in the education systems, which remains still reluctant to teach anything related with sex. In that sense, they should be updated to include this kind of education in their planning.

- As a young and engaged person linked with religion, what is your vision of it in our days, in our context?
There still is an old way to understand religion as something related to prohibitions, which makes it to be considered as incompatible with many of the current issues people are worried about, when in fact it should be an instrument to improve. Not only to improve things but also to grow individually, being honest and spiritual. What Jesus taught us should be useful to progress personally and to engage others to develop a community where honesty, fraternity and mutual help are the essential values. There are a lot of people disillusioned by the oldest generations' closed way of understanding religion, but I think that the Church is now working in changing that status. They are trying to change the idea people have about them as a head of power and wish to become a guide to the people as citizens of the society who can get a spiritual evolution investing in themselves from their singularity. A spiritual development that don't depend anymore on the rules and the forbiddings of the Church but on the own moral code of each person.

- Which do you think is the link between the humanist legacy religion left in Europe and education in the different countries?
Religion in European culture is a matter of tradition, and because of that some education systems that haven't been renovated yet are still bearing weak or strong elements of religion. In Italy, for example, we have a lesson about religion once a week which is meant to educate kids about Catholic religion. But the actual content of the lesson is left to the teacher, who in many cases teaches about different religions and tolerance, but is up to their sensibility. In the case of implementation of the education for affection, for instance, it is not religion itself that puts obstacles, but the old way to see religion and specially Christianity held by powerful people and a large chunk of the aging population in Europe and that makes changes difficult. The humanistic legacy of religion in Europe is still strong and this should evolve in many ways.

- And about your cultural taste, which book, film and music would you recommend us?
A film: The Blues Brothers, by John Landis.
A sound: La Donna Cannone, by Francesco De Gregori.
A videogame: Super Mario, by Nintendo. 

segunda-feira, maio 05, 2014

Are you Out of The Box? - A Catarina e o António estão!

                                            Curso Internacional na Hungria

Nos primeiros dias de Março a notícia surgiu: um bracarense (António) e uma sintrense (Catarina) partiriam dentro de um mês para a Hungria para participar num intercâmbio sobre inclusão social e gestão de conflitos – o “Out of the box”! Além de Portugal, estariam representados outros países europeus: Ucrânia, Bielorrússia, Itália, Hungria, Croácia, Bulgária, Geórgia e Arménia, num total de 22 participantes.

A chegada a Budapeste foi atribulada. Além do céu nublado e do frio, tivemos o contratempo de saber que a mala da Catarina ficara em Lisboa. Mas português que é português desenrasca-se e isso não nos impediu de conhecer Budapeste! Instalados num hostel bem central, aproveitámos a vida nocturna e as ruas de Budapeste antes de partirmos para Galyatető, nas montanhas.

Aproximadamente 2 horas de viagem e Budapeste ficara lá em baixo e lá longe, tapada pelas montanhas e por uma suave, mas sempre presente, camada de nevoeiro. Intermitentemente, os participantes dos 8 países foram chegando a Galyatető e travando conhecimento uns com os outros.

Nos primeiros dias trabalhou-se o grupo. A orientação, a cargo dos 3 “trainers” húngaros e da nossa Joana, portuguesa, foi irrepreensível e valiosa. Nos primeiros dias de curso, realizaram-se actividades para que nos conhecessemos melhor, desenvolvessemos a confiança entre nós e nos aproximássemos do conceito de equipa.

Durante o curso foram abordadas diferentes temáticas através de uma aprendizagem experimental, por meio de palestras e dinâmicas de grupo no exterior. Introduziram-nos os modelos e a dinâmica do conflito, o poder da vulnerabilidade, a contagiante comunicação não-violenta, entre outros temas… a capacidade de partilha e de dedicação dos participantes foi fundamental para que a aprendizagem fosse tão produtiva quanto se revelou.

Finalmente chega o primeiro dia do maior desafio do curso. Fomos incumbidos de preparar um fim de semana de actividades para um grupo de 22 pessoas provenientes de uma instituição que acolhe pessoas invisuais, pessoas com deficiências mentais e as respectivas famílias… sendo que nenhum deles falava inglês. Após o choque inicial, assumimos a nossa responsabilidade e lançámo-nos ao trabalho. Apesar de parecer caótico o funcionamento de 22 pessoas em simultâneo para um mesmo projecto, foi surpreendente como acabámos por nos organizar tão bem e superar algumas dificuldades com que nos deparámos pelo caminho da preparação do projecto.

A manhã estava gelada e reinava um clima de expectativa, mas rapidamente o desconhecido se tornou conhecido. Fizeram-se jogos com sons, músicas, cordas e movimentos. Contaram-se histórias e partilharam-se culturas, experiências e conhecimentos. Terminámos o dia à volta da fogueira, com muita música, paz, e um ritual georgiano, no qual todos confiámos um desejo ao fogo.

Todas as supostas barreiras tinham desaparecido e comunicava-se com sorrisos, gestos, toques, interjeições e claro, com a ajuda das participantes húngaras, que se esforçavam por mediar a comunicação sempre que necessário.

A manhã seguinte estava reservada para actividades ao ar livre. Tudo foi uma aprendizagem, mas foi a cooperação entre todos, incluindo os nossos convidados, o ingrediente principal que permitiu um fim-de-semana agradável, com muitos desafios, mas nenhum problema. Na hora da partida do autocarro da instituição, havia um sentimento de empatia e realização no ar, e até mesmo alguma tristeza.

É fácil para mim separar o antes e depois deste projecto. Tudo mudou. Ganhei novas perspectivas e apercebi-me de realidades diferentes. Experienciei emoções novas e conheci pessoas marcantes. Sinto que este projecto provocou um motim no meu pensamento e que novas ideias colidem agora com aquelas que levava comigo à partida. Espero dar continuidade a este processo e poder um dia vir a transmitir aos outros aquilo que me foi transmitido a mim. - António
Conheci pessoas inspiradoras a falar sobre assuntos fascinantes, no ambiente ideal. Foi uma experiência marcante no meu percurso de vida! - Catarina