7 May 2013
I have always believed in the value of Justice. Always wanted to know more what I knew about it.
In fact, what does it mean? I could start here with long speeches about the concept of Justice. But, being freshly arrived to the first year of College, in the early days of classes, I pointed in a quote from a teacher who said fair is everything that is consensual, appropriate, legitimate. Justice is to give each one what is his/hers. ”
I’ve also learned that is a supreme value, very important, bla, bla, bla.
But I can’t avoid thinking that this is an unattainable value, by the inability to remove the corrupt feature of each of Men.
I am disgusted with the many inexplicable situations that we live in today, for which I can’t find an answer. Yes, it is true, I have no response, by the lack of transparency with which everything is done.
In fact, I feel that my confidence in justice, escapes me between my fingers.
By not being able to get information of what truly happens or, perhaps, by the lack of ability to understand reality.
How come there are people losing their homes and to be dumped for not paying rents of 300 euros or to be arrested for stealing food, while there are others that do not declare the millions they earn, they steal enormous amounts of money to people in a shameless way and remain on the loose, walking in the street, on their usual morning jogging? Is it fair ‘? Is it consensual ‘? ‘ appropriate ‘ or ‘ legitimate ‘?
How do we feed then this such “Supreme Value” when we allow such things?
How can one ask me to understand what Justice means when I see, on the way home, a family with children sleeping on the floor and on the other side of the street, super refined BMW driven by drivers and stationed at the door of a Ministry? The people who work there do not see them, do not have eyes?
The Justice in which I have always believed in, that always stated that one should be given what is his/hers, turns out to be the same that closes the eyes and destroys itself with all the good things that exist in this world.
How did we let it escape? How do we allow ourselves to get to this point, in which, if there was Justice, it has destroyed itself so much, to the point of disappearing?
These are questions that haunt me before closing his eyes and sleep.
I hope tomorrow is a better day.
It’s in our hands!
26 February 2013
Today, with this post, we aim to tease the reader’s curiosity about what Sapana is going to do in 2013 and unfold some of what is coming. But first of all, we wish everyone happy new year and hope that in 2013 you will carry out everything you want and keep on dreaming, adventuring, smiling and challenging yourselves day after day.
Back to Sapana, there is a year full of challenges coming and more and more work in the field.
Jagruthi Moov Project, powered by Sapana, is essentially about choosing a subject each year and working on it by developing awakening and subsequently or simultaneously, empowerment projects. The thematic for 2012 was unemployment, from which came our Talentos em Livre Trânsito. For 2013 we have chosen an equally troubling and increasingly urgent subject in today’s society, and often one of the many consequences of unemployment: poverty!
What is poverty to you? Poverty is being homeless? Poverty is to be poor in spirit? It is not about material goods? Being poor in Portugal is like being poor in India? We’ll better understand what it is to be poor at a time when half the world speaks of crisis, a time in which Europe plunges into a situation increasingly worrying every day that passes, a time in which the number of homeless in this country and especially in large urban centers increases, where about 25% of its population lives below the poverty line even after social changes where neither minimum wages (the lowest in Europe) allow people to escape the poverty. Anyway, the list could go on.
There are several definitions of poverty, often linked to the economic aspect. At Sapana we believe that poverty goes far beyond the economy and after a little research we come across many types of poverty or ways of classifying the same, see: absolute poverty, relative, traditional, new poverty, rural, urban , sub-urban, temporary, permanent, embarrassed, and voluntarily assumed. Other theories define, in addition to economic poverty, body, mental, cultural, spiritual, political and societal poverty. We leave to the reader a further research on their definitions and applications if desired.
Since, in this context of empowerment, we want to focus on just a few types of poverty, such as absolute poverty, ie the situation where the individual is living below the poverty line, without the basic conditions of subsistence necessary; urban poverty as it relates to extreme forms of exclusion that affect various social groups including some with whom we work, mentioned up next. The suburban poverty is related to the proximity and dependency of the urban area, which, along with population pressure and consequent demand for housing, “presents outlines similar to those urban issues”, such as “the consumption and trafficking of drugs , prostitution, delinquency “and” territorial disordering. “The enduring poverty “refers to the social reproduction and the cyclical process of reproduction of poverty”, ie relates to people who have never ceased to be poor during their existence.
The World Bank tells us that at least 80% of the world population lives on less than US$ 10. If we turn to the EU and we think that it has more than 26 million people unemployed, it is not difficult to imagine the numbers: according to Eurostat approximately 120 million people, ie 24.2% of the population of the 27 European Union countries, were in risk poverty in 2011, compared to 23.4% in 2010. An increase that proves the impact of the economic crisis, however, we are now in 2013 and we do not think that anything has decreased these percentages, on the contrary! Still, many of the available data on this subject are not even updated since 2009, and obviously a lot has happened in this world since, even more so in the EU-27 and, in relation to Portugal, so drastic measures were implemented as unemployment raised from 10.2% in December 2009 to over 16% in December 2012 (“official” numbers, because as we know, the percentage of unemployment in Portuguese and in precarious jobs is much higher).
If we put a magnifying glass and look at what is happening in Portugal, well, we realize that we do not need a magnifying glass at all, we just need to look around with our eyes: more than 3 million people live on less than 500 € / month. It is with great sadness that we read stories that tell us “INE said yesterday that 18% of Portuguese people are at risk of poverty, but Eurostat refers more than 25%.By double-checking the statistics made, we see at least 3.2 million Portuguese in trouble “(http://www.ionline.pt/dinheiro/pobreza-tres-milhoes-vivem-menos-500-eurosmes) because among other issues, we realize that even the criteria are not fair and that not even the people responsible for the statistics agree with each other.
And after that, analyzing the measures that have been taken, we realize their lack of sustainability, we realize that they are not for everyone and that they are neither sufficient nor efficient. Continuing to “give the fish” instead-no, not “give the fishing rod” – of teaching how to build one and thus allowing the person to be sustainable is not the solution. We do not want to be ask for the nor for the cane to go fish, we want to teach how to build rods, to teach how to replace and recycle the damaged ones and that, at first sight, no longer have any utility. At Sapana we believe that everyone has within himself the ability to take care of their own fishing rods, just need to be empowered to do so, just like a rough diamond!
In this sense and in line with the Millennium Development Goals and the 2020 Strategy, which is intended to get at least 20 million people out of poverty by 2020, Sapana wants to make society aware of the existence of poverty and enable them for action. That is, to raise awareness of the existence of poverty, types and effects of it, and also empower communities in the areas of education, health, sustainability, environment and citizenship, enhancing their development. In this sense, we created the project POWERty!
This project will focus on a broad target, from primary and secondary schools, to universities across the country and, in some cases, society in general. With regard specifically to the empowerment, Sapana will still focus on residents in several social neighborhoods in the perspective of capacity building, education and training. We communicate, straight way, that our first pilot location for this project will be Quinta da Lage neighborhood, in Amadora.
The work in the community will be done taking into account their most urgent needs related to health, education, environment, sustainability (financial and energy) and culture / leisure. The direct target audience of the intervention will be children, young people, women and the elderly from the community in question. In some actions, the community, in general, will be the ultimately beneficiary.
Looking ahead, Sapana and the project “POWERty-it’s in your hands!” seeks to empower and to guide individuals and communities to improve their living conditions to take them away from the poverty they face. Since it is not possible to implement changes in a vacuum, there is a need to create incentives to participate in change. The best incentive is to provide opportunities for solving problems that affect their daily lives, thus the existence of “POWERty-is in your hands!”
And now, after all, what is poverty to you?
TLT – Talentos em Livre Trânsito – your talent on the move!
11 December 2012
To write some topics on paper is easy, open the Word program is even easier but … and then? Where do you start writing a post? A whole whirlwind of emotions.
Let’s start with the obvious, by the beginning! “And when was that?” I thought, because so much has happened that it seems like in another life. But it was only in May of this year. In a team meeting, the first which marked my entry in Sapana, and at a lively brainstorming that we came across with an idea that at first seemed as funny as nonsense and that almost without realizing won an amazing way.
After a few days we already had the project outlined, the steps defined, a name and goals. The things that can be achieved when working in a motivated, passionate team, eager to make life better of every human being that may cross our path.
Last September, was ready the first pilot Edition, of the TLT program, with the slogan “your talent on the move!“. Day 17th, was the day to meet, not the unemployed that arrived but the talents, like true diamonds, would join us on this 9-week sessions-which turned into 10 weeks and 13 months of follow ups and supervision.
After 12 weeks of the program’s beginning, I was sure of something: there are things that will never be the same. I grew up and learned as much as all our talents and, I believe that even if just a little, we have touched their lives and we woke up again their dreams, their motivation, their courage, their strength of will and energy. And they are brave!
I truly believe that we’ve touched in a very special way the lives of these people, so unique, that have come down to us, even though, initially, this has had a strong impact on them. This is because sometimes we live in such a hurry that we forget to stop to think and think in our answers to questions such as “what is my dream?”, “what makes me truly happy?” and finally, “what are my strengths and weaknesses?”. When we realize that we almost do not know ourselves, we will probably feel that we are ungrounded. That’s what happened, and it was very good. Everything that is built after this will have, undoubtedly, a much stronger and lasting basis.
Get to the end and listen and read things like:
“I feel different, more focused, with more defined purposes because when I started the TLT, I was totally lost and not knowing what I wanted“
“TLT helped me to discover that dreams and ambitions that I had still exist (they were just asleep …)“
is the best that could have happened, apart of course from near the end of the sessions we had good news: Talents who managed to obtain internships, jobs in their areas of expertise and in other areas. But let’s not sing victory yet – there is still much to do.
I use this post to deeply thank to all the people who made this pilot program, not only to happen, but also, having the quality that it had and such enriching learning experience . Among these people I can point out:
- the Sapana team which for months gave invaluable inputs to the construction of the project;
- Sara Silveira, who was our moderator of the sessions and who played this role beautifully. Thank You!
- all our professional guests either to give the sessions or to share with us their experience. Thank You!
- all mentors and coaches that made themselves available to follow individually our Talents and thus to complement the work done in the sessions, Thank you, thank you!
- and, of course, to our Talents, without them none of this would have made sense and, as is not over yet, I intend to keep in touch and to continue to monitor their paths for at least another year. Thank you, you’re wonderful people!
It has been and will be a great pleasure to have the privilege to plan such a project, to implement and see the fruits grow session after session. This first edition is already giving place to a second one.
Registration will open here December 14th, 2012 and will close at the end of the year.
On January 14th, we will begin face-to-face sessions with the Talents.
Throughout the roll-out of this project, we realized that the concept could not run out in a single format and that the number of lives impacted was below our expectations. We think that TLT has to adapt to more audiences in different conditions and with different availabilities (and even in different countries). So, here I unveil an alert to your curiosity: new TLT formats are being developed and will be spread out and implemented very soon.
And now, back to the same thought: How do you end a post? Now it’s easier!
With a “see you soon!” and with our message for special farewells: “Have we told that you that you’re awesome?”
Natural choices – The ones that come from within
30 November 2012
For me SAPANA.org is not a personal development or volunteering project, on the contrary, it is an intimate desire, which I had no chance to say No.
For me started in 2011, only to help a friend whom it was impossible to say no. You know those people that you love the way they breathe and that you believe to be your shadow? Probably not. Or you already met Carolina. At this time it was just her and I like good friends who tried to go on doing what they could. Suddenly, we were spending hours on the phone making plans, finding ideas, projects or programs to change the world (with Carolina there is no room to think small, there is, but she makes you see that you can surpass a little thought at the speed of light).
Back to Basics was born out of our conversations, phone calls and dissertations (which as you know is the name for one of our sub-projects). Back to Basics made perfect sense. That was what we wanted and it was a brilliant idea: to go back to the root of our being, the gene of the person we are by ourselves and while having this friendship that (also) unites us – to make small NGOs with strategic and operational level limitations become self-sustainable and fundamental to their surrounding communities. Give power and knowledge to those who least have to live the best possible. This is us. Patricia. Carolina. Patricia and Carolina. And Back to Basics.
Quickly, two was little. Miguel, one of our diamonds, appears in 3 slots of conversation and becomes essential. Mafalda already came from the very beginning and she showed that we really were not mad. And Monica, who drew the project in colors into our lives.
And we kept going on, the team was growing. We changed the name. And every one that appeared was a pearl, of those who must take care because they are worth too much. And with all these pearls, we have become the SAPANA.org.
At cruising speed, full of projects, always bustling with ideas and with the needed energy to make things happen, SAPANA.org reaches a level that the hours on the phone with the Carolina didn’t allow to predict.
Then comes my time to change of place. Not for money, for job or unhappiness. But it was time to go. And now with great sadness I see SAPANA.org from afar … and with a different perspective. But of course to calm all my desires, I changed of country with the emotional commitment that there was no way for me to separate from SAPANA.org. It is not at all possible in fact: what is intrinsic is not diluted in time, in space or on growth. It makes part. And you have to accept it.
It is phenomenal all projects that this organization is creating, is phenomenal all the people who are part of it, is phenomenal all the people that can benefit … but what happens beyond the phenomenal is the intent behind each activity and each project. Enviable is working with people to whom you possibly would call altruistic. For me it goes beyond that. They are genuine people with good hearts. Don’t make out to be. They are so. And what is natural and what comes from within, is priceless and is rarely around.
And because you cannot fail with these people the idea, I am here, little, bringing SAPANA.org to the Netherlands (along with Joana Murta Rosa, of course!). More news to come soon.
Here in Holland things work differently. Social problems are different and mentalities too.
Personally, this is what I need for now. It was a breath of fresh air. The way of being here helps us to react in a manner to situations and gives us space to drop the mask and ignore the social pressure of the 21st century. Every day on the way home, I find myself a little more … due to age, country or experience, the conclusions are increasingly undeniable. Even they change in the timeline, meanwhile it seems amazing to me.
And this is what I plan to take to Portugal and deliver with a lace to SAPANA.org. We will grow, we are growing. Our way is just starting. There is no other choice but to make this happen.
There are things in life that have no choice and we can only humbly accept what is part of us, as our own, which we cannot change.
The SAPANA.org is no longer a choice.
How it started…
26 September 2012
I can’t spend much water when I shower.
I can’t buy clothes at the “rebajas” as I used to do before.
I can’t help but think of those women with torn eyes, who in life of 20 years have already suffered more than all my friends together …
This is what happened to me and it happens to anyone who go to India, Nepal or Tibet as one of there. Sapana.org would never existed if I had not plunged myself in the countries that have given me more than I to them.
Sapana.org began in 2009, with an inexperienced young girl, full of doubts and certainties that wanted to change the world. This girl had a stable job, an emotional relationship and the lifestyle that any girl of 23 years would wish. But “It was not enough”.
For me it was never enough. I was fortunate to have a dream, and a sense of mission with 23 years old. I wanted to found an organization that would provide consultancy to NGO’s in each country.
Alone, I headed to Nepal as a backpacker. Nepal frightened me. A country where the motto is: “A bad thing happens to you, 10 good will come.”! I’ve settled myself in one of the poorest Nepali villages : Bharatpur -14 orphans loved me and with me they’ve learned English, mathematics, and above all they learn to dream. I became their dream, I became their SAPANA (dream in Nepali). I’ve managed to assure that my orphan boys had their studies fully paid till the equivalent to our 12th grade.
Worked with women from the Dalit caste, and helped them to sew Nepali garments that somehow could be sold in Kathmandu (the capital).
In Tibet I climbed to Mount Kailash. I became more faithful in the human being and in the absence of control that we, humans, have at the most basic things of life. I was closer to my “North” than ever. I became essence. And we without being ourselves, we will never be able to change the world.
In India I worked (I still do) with one of the people whom I most respect professionally – Sir. Mukesh Kanaskar. I found the concept of Urban Poverty – basically the foundations of a city are built in a slum. Such as sanitation, recycling, electricity distribution, education, hospital, etc. Met the reality of FGM (Female Genital mutilation), the sex workers – who are more exploited than slaves. They are true sex slaves. Made me so aware of how weak I was. They shook my pilars. Thank you for that Celsa Antão, (CEO of the Goan NGO in Margao).
This year was my year of awareness, was the year after arriving from Asia. I was in hangover in the first semester. Broke me in pieces so tiny, almost unrecognizable to rebuild again, stronger, more aware and more genuine – more myself. Met Miguel Jerónimo, and formalized the agreement with those who became my co-founders: Mónica, Patricia, Mafalda and Miguel. From the dream of a young girl to something more palpable. It is now something with an image, shape, definition and much more aware. I studied more and I learned core competencies: strategy, planning, finance, entrepreneurship, foreign relations, etc. I became feeling more secure and more accompanied. Finally I had with whom to share.
Back to 2012
I founded what today is called Sapana.org. We’ve founded an association that has a structure outlined in 2 axes: Awakening and Empowerment.
We believe that one without the other the work is impossible/inneficient. We have a polyvalent team, we have partners and pilot projects. We set up the Sapana.org in India with the support of the Organization to which Sir. Mukesh Kanaskar belongs. Miguel Jerónimo is there with the Back to Basics project. Joana (entered in 2012) and she is in Holland with the co-founder Patricia. Mariana (entered also in 2012) and she is in Lille, France. In Portugal we are Marlene, Sónia, Mafalda M., Pipa, Mafalda, Patricia C., Rui and many more which help us in everything that we need.
I started by saying that without a girl to Sapana.org wouldn’t have started. Now I add, without my Saponic Team, Sapana.org would never have existed. We work with the unemployed (TLT), with inmates (Breaking Bars with Shakespeare), we work with domestic violence cases (Beatriz14 Project). We create projects of awakening consciences, completely innovative. We are a group that believes that our life has a mission. We are all different, but we all want the same: To change the World.
Thank you for giving me so much without me asking. To make me feel that it’s worth every day. To deeply feel that I am part of a community, and that I am not alone. Thank you for feeling that to be an outsider no longer is strange.
Welcome! Olá! Namaste!
8 September 2012
As we finally came to India for starting the implementation of our Back to Basics project – the old and bold dream of SAPANA – we finally give life to this blog!
Some months passed after that day, 20th January of 2012, when we found this (ad)venture, and many things happened too. The Jagruthi Moov born and grew really fast, delivering tools for develop young talents through conferences, workshops or the online platform. We received some wonderful feedbacks of our events, our dynamic approach (from bollywood-style flashmob’s to improvised theatre!) and our young attitude. As the matter of fact, we’re still young. We have much to learn and grow, and we would really love to continue this path with all of you, with your suggestions and constructive critics. With your passion. As we were committed in the beginning, we continue pretty much committed with the motto “empowering lives from passion to action”, and we continue to believe that we can do it, and we can do it even better with you. Let’s bring our inner passion and transform it into action for the people around us! After all, even our tinniest action has huge impact on others (if you have five minutes we highly suggest you to see this video of leading by lollypop moments!).
We now arrive and start to have impact in India (you can check some photos of our first field visit in our Flickr page, these are the rural villages near Pune where we’ll start Back to Basics), but of course we love Portugal and it will be impossible to stop our actions there! For this rentrée, we’re preparing some awesome activities for you: the first edition of the “TLT – Talentos em Livre Trânsito” program that will begin very soon, and you may want to stay tuned to the TLT website, because we’re cooking some delicious news for you! :)
Sapana will be also present at the Greenfest, the biggest sustainability festival in Portugal, to talk a little bit about social economy and perform some other awesome activities. And we will start our Breaking Bars project in Caxias Prison, where, for the first time in Portugal, inmates will be able to take part in a Shakespeare play, specially adapted to their reality as a way to shake their comfort zone and work their emotional intelligence. We are also preparing an huge event for the next months but that will be subject for another post :)
See you in a bit… have a great life meanwhile!