How I will change society: Lidia Fernandes Rodriguez

Lidia is a 27 years old girl from Spain. Currently she works as a social integrator and studies social work. She is also educated and have experience in the health sector. Lidia always wanted to work in sectors in direct contact with people, accompanied with a significant emotional burden. She has gone looking for different methods to know what her mind and body felt, until finally found different ways of learning and management. During this process she met Marta, her companion and soul mate, and they two created KANOA. It’s project with non-formal education which aims to provide students with emotional resources to enrich human relations and improve the quality of the interventions that they will carry out in the future.

Lidia was selected for the project “European Youth at the frontlines of active citizenship: A Roadmap towards a collective South-North-East-West Momentum” organized by Volunteers Centre Skopje and supported by European Commission due to Erasmus+ European Youth Together programme.

lidia

Who are you? What training do you have? How did the idea of the project come about?
– I’m Lidia, I’m 27 years old. Currently, I work as a social integrator and I’m studying social work, I am also educated and have experience in the health sector. I have always studied and I have dedicated myself to working in sectors in direct contact with people, accompanied with a significant emotional burden. I have gone looking for different methods to know what my mind and body felt, until I finally found different ways of learning and management. During this process I met Marta, my companion and soul mate, we are two people with many things in common, most of all two creative people and dreamers, after each one living their own experience and sharing them, we have created KANOA, formed by 2 different therapies linked together.

Who is the KANOA project geared towards?
– We find ourselves in the collective of social integration students, they are immersed in a Superior Grade with the intention of carrying out an academic training during 2 years to be future social integrators. Formal education is always based on the same methodology: giving different subjects and the completion of practical exams to evaluate the learned knowledge. In many jobs this academic structure is maybe sufficient, based on classes given by teaching staff and students sat on a chair constantly taking notes. We want to go beyond this structure, as to access the social realm we consider it desirable that a previous structure of social education is needed.

To provide students with emotional resources to enrich human relations and improve the quality of the interventions that they will carry out in the future.

Why is it geared towards future Social Integrators?
– This group of students is made up of different mixed groups: of different genders, ages and ethnicities. Each one of them brings a unique life story and wants to dedicate themselves to this field for different reasons. They are people with different knowledge, interests and needs who share a common ideal: to work in the social field. This field is made up of diverse vulnerable groups; people with different abilities, drug addicts, abused women, elderly people, vulnerable youths etc. The field which the future Social Integrators will work in is highly complex and occasionally is going to expose them to certain life experiences where they are going to have to be provided with emotional tools to be able to adaptively manage conflicts and so they can constructively support the people who they are going to work with.

What can KANOA Project bring to the participants?
– We sense the necessity to introduce another tool to this Superior Grade, therapeutic theatre and yoga. Our intention as students and workers in the field is to be able to provide future professionals with knowledge beyond formal education, in such a way that, before carrying out their placements as social integrators, they have worked introspectively on themselves, identifying and recognising their own emotions and those of others. This need comes after carrying out different surveys and interviews to workers in the social field, the majority of them find themselves with the same problem; they qualify as professionals and they don’t know how to manage different situations, since it is a profession that doesn’t rely on a practical manual that has the solution to resolve the needs of the service users. What this job demands, are abilities and competencies to face the different adversities of these participants.

What does direct intervention with the participants consist in?
– My proposal of social intervention is to create a project that gives emotional education strategies through yoga and therapeutic theatre to future social integration professionals, since they will need them with the complexity of the collectives which they are going to work with and those which they are going to come up against. Additionally, they are strategies which we are going to add up throughout our lives in our relationships; professional, peer… adding up to a great benefit.

Emotional Education is the ability which equips us to recognise emotions, be able to manage them and resolve a conflict peacefully.

Therapeutic Theatre serves as a therapeutic tool for participants helping their socialisation, boosting their social abilities, raising their self esteem, security and confidence. The development of their skills allows the person to use a verbal and non-verbal language, through corporal expression, giving them the opportunity to change behavioural patterns and acquire new ones, stimulates attention, creativity and imagination through cooperative learning. Ital so serves as a “loudspeaker” to visualise disadvantaged, and vulnerable situations etc. Encouraging empowerment to the individual and social transformation.

Yoga is a resource that provides emotional awareness, increase in self esteem, and personal self confidence. Pranayama, breathing techniques, isused to channel and reduce anxiety. There are different studies that observe the importance and the need of being used in Mental Health service users.

Theatre and yoga can compliment each other perfectly to transmit knowledge and positive values about conscious and healing emotional education.

Why is the project called “Kanoa”?
– The canoe is a light boat made from a tree trunk that flows down the river. We have chosen “Kanoa” because for us it symbolises the impulse to find balance to stay afloat, in spite of the adversities that present themselves. It also come out of the idea of using a material that is firm, strong and simple, like the trunk of a tree, to get you where you want to go: the adaptive management of our emotions. Theatre and yoga are the materials of which our boat is made, because they have the capacity to transport us through different landscapes and emotional climates that can provide us with knowledge about ourselves and to use a creative and transformative language.

What will be the timescale of the project?
– Depending on the schools and the budget there are various options. Three monthly: 12 sessions (with a final performance); during the year: 5 sessions (it is important they are given between the beginning and end of the course); Intensive: During reading week, proposal – 5 days residential in the countryside.

How is it going to be publicised?
– Online: Instagram and website; School: Talks, leaflets, voluntary sessions; Town halls Centres

What are the objectives of the project?
– Know the emotions; Recognise and identify my own emotions; Accept and give myself permission to feel emotions; Manage emotions in an adaptive way; Transform emotions constructively; Final Performance.

General?
– Equip with emotional management tools; Empower as a professional; Provide conflict management strategies; Develop communicative abilities; etc.

Specific?
– Produce an individual and group conscience of emotional management; Develop the social abilities of the individuals of the group; etc.

Lidia Fernandes Rodriguez

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