Champions of Worker Education Archive

YGAP – youth educators making new pathways:

Johanna Sanjuan, Colombia


Educator Profile: Johanna Sanjuan, October 2017

In this interview Johanna Sanjuan, director of education at affiliate ENS – Escuela Nacional Sindical shares about the political context in Colombia, and how education with trade unions is not just about workers’ rights, it’s also about right to be an active citizen in a democratic society. She also tells us about her impressions of YGAP in 2017, on the second last day of her participation.

On the peace accord developing in Colombia:

Now in Colombia we have a very important moment, maybe it’s an historic moment that we have worked for 50 years. Now the government in Colombia is doing an agreement with guerrillas in FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and ELM (National Liberation Army). Now we are advocating for a stronger agreement with the citizens, with the mobilisation for different sections of the unions, for supporting the agreement because we need a more democratic society. We think the peace agreement is an opportunity, an impulse for democracy.

On the position of trade unions in Colombia towards this peace agreement:

I think that the unions in Colombia in general are supporting the peace agreement because it is a big opportunity to become a more democratic society, to have better conditions of work. We are working with the unions for decent work and a decent country.

On the position of ENS on the peace agreement:

We support the peace agreement. We are working for example on different subjects or issues that the peace agreement contains. For example we are working for better workers’ conditions for rural workers, because the rural areas in Colombia has a worse situation of poverty. It’s especially for us the work about the guarantees for social protection and citizen participation in political life of our country.

On how ENS’ education work with trade unions could impact on the peace agreement:

At ENS, we are doing education for a better understanding of the peace agreement for workers and unions. We are doing activities with unions about lobbying, activities for non-violence, for better working conditions, for political life, for elections, for different actions and more participation in political parties, for more policies that include and recognise the diversity in our country. The recognition of unions is a very important thing in democracy.

What impact has YGAP made on you these past two weeks?

YGAP has been a very important experience for me. It has different meanings: for my job it’s very important because I have new tools to get new people to enrol and join the unions; and to do better methodology and pedagogy about subjects that is important for the union.

For me personally, this has been a really great experience because these weeks have changed my mind, because I “clicked”, because you know you have to work together with others, but now I really understand how it is to work together, and to work almost with nothing can make big difference and can change a life, and this is possible if you work together.

Milla Grunland, Finland


GLOBAL – Finland, October 2017
Young Educators
Educator Profile: Milla Grunland

Milla Grunland attended the Youth Globalisation Awareness Programme as a participant in 2014 from Työväen Sivistysliitto (TSL). From 2015 to 2017 she worked as the Finnish YGAP co-ordinator, and currently studies journalism. Here she shares her reflections on the programme over this time.
On her first experience of attending YGAP:

I came for the first time in 2014, and at that time I worked as a waitress in one fine-dining restaurant. I expected to have a really huge cultural shock when arriving here but it actually wasn’t what I thought, since I realised Cape Town is actually a Western kind of place. But the shock came from the inequality that I saw, that I knew that it exists, but I didn’t have a real idea how bad it is.

On the internship with the affiliate organisation Women on Farms Project:

I got to visit farms and saw the conditions that farmworkers live in, and I saw where the wine in South Africa still comes from. And it was quite a big thing to go back to my life in Finland and to sell these wines to people who have a lot of money.

On the impact of YGAP that leads to a life-changing decision:

So that’s when I realised that I want to do something else, and I’d like to study journalism. So, I want to say that it was really a life changing experience.

On why she chose journalism for social change:

Well, I think the main thing is that you can be creative with journalism. So, you can talk about facts, you can change the world, but you can do it in quite an interesting way. What I actually want to do as a journalist is to really tell the stories, and not take space away from people whose voice should be heard. But to give them the space, and to be the one who actually gives them the platform, where you can share your experience and tell what should be done differently.

On why media freedom is important for the labour movement and young workers:

Media freedom issues are the same wherever you go in the world, it’s the problem with capitalism, to actually have whoever owns the magazine or whatever , that they have a word to say about what you are going to publish. And basically that’s not often really what should be told, that is – what are the problems with labour movement, with workers’ rights and everything. The media has changed a lot – for my parents it’s really different then it is for my generation, and so for the younger ones. For my parents it used to be so if something is written in the newspaper then it’s a fact. Today we are actually dealing with fake news and fake facts, and that’s a really big issue. That’s something that we need to teach young people to really understand – how to read the news, and what to trust and where to find the real facts.

On why media freedom is the voice of the people:

The free media is the place where peoples’ voice should be heard, and if the media isn’t free then it’s not actually going to change anything. And that’s the thing with media, what we should be doing is to find the thing that is strong, and to start the change. And I think that media can actually be the one to change things, but in media we put up things that are wrong and it’s important that it should be changed.

On the impact of YGAP for personal growth:

It’s been really life changing, and it’s been a place for me for personal growth. And, the first time I came here as a co-ordinator I did something that I have never done, no-one had actually taught me how to do, how to go through with it, and it was difficult. I needed to really get to know myself, and to understand how I feel, why I do stuff like that, and also how I reflect my behaviour on other people, and that’s been really important. And now that I think, this is my third year as the co-ordinator, fourth year in all and if I think about myself now, I think I am much more confident and much calmer than the two years before. And that’s something I really appreciate and I am so happy that I got the opportunity on this programme.

On internationalism in YGAP:

But also, what it gives you, you get to know so many people from around the world, and it gives you something you can never measure, so it follows through the life, and there is things you don’t understand now that you have learned, or that you carry with you but you realise after a year, or after ten years, but it’s always with you all the experience, it is amazing.

Renata Fejzulovic, Sweden


Educator Profile: Renata Fejzulovic – Arbetarnas Bildningsförbund (ABF) Sweden, October 2017

Renata Fejzulovic works at ABF Sweden in a special area of education, funded by government, supporting activities of disability organisations. She explains how she works to support the education activities of this network. As her two weeks at YGAP was coming to an end, she shares what her experience was.

On the kinds of activities she does with the organisations to support their education programmes:

We often have meetings during the year, to see what kind of interests they have for the next year. So I am helping them out if they want, or they can do it by themselves, but they will contact me, either face to face or email me. So, they have a programme for 2018, and I will follow up on their work and sometimes visit their projects. Often they have the activities on holidays for this kind of education, because people can often come at that time.

On what education activities the disability organisations do:

All of these activities is educating for themselves – how to live with their disease, or have somebody who will show them new tools to make their life easier, so it’s up to them. But often, it is about health and meditation and food, which is very popular now, so they can balance their disease with a normal life.

On the education methodology:

Often they manage to have the education activity on a weekend, so it is not like a study circle. This government money is for “special” events, you must have the activity for 8 hours straight for a day, or maybe you will do 16 hours over two days, so it is up to the organisation how to manage the project. The difference between study circles and this kind of special education event is huge, it’s totally different. We will still help them, but I will refer them to my colleague in ABF who will help them out with study circles.


I found it very special and interesting to see our co-operation between ABF and IFWEA because I heard of it, its’ very special for us in Sweden so it was quite fun to see the good communication and work between them and IFWEA.

Of course YGAP impacts me, I will always have this with me in my heart, just to see how organisations work here, and how people are struggling here in South Africa . Actually the most amazing thing that I will take with me is the will from people, their passion, they never give up. They are so focussed on making the world a better place, actually South Africa, to a better place for everybody.

Liza Kettil, Sweden


In this interview Liza Kettil shares her journey as an educator, social democrat, feminist and anti-racist in Sweden. A graduate of IFWEA’s Youth Globalisation Awareness Programme (YGAP) in 2015 , she reflects how the programme impacted her life, and its importance for international solidarity today. Liza Kettil also describes her experience running as the Swedish Social Democratic Party (Sveriges Socialdemokratiska arbetarparti) candidate in her municipality, and the impact of the study circle education programmes for members in the election.

Your role in ABF: My position in the ABF is that I am working with our political organisations and our housing organisations in ABF Västra Götaland, which is the district for other smaller ABF organisations. I am also group leader for the Social Democratic Party in Munkedal in my free time.

Tell us about your youth in Sweden and your journey as educator: I come from Kungälv which is a small town outside of Gothenburg in the west of Sweden and I grew up with my mother and my father, and I have a 6 years’ younger sister. It was quite a different and difficult childhood as my father was very sick, so he was mostly in hospital for the first 5 years of my life. So while I was growing up we never knew if my father was going to survive or not, and this was difficult because both hospital and death was a part of our everyday life. Basically it was only me and my Mom because my Dad was in the hospital, and my Mom was working as a cleaning lady at these big sport arenas. She had to go out very early in the morning – working very hard so she was very tired at the end of the day – because she had to take care of me, and her husband was sick. So eventually even also my Mom got sick, and by then I was living with two sick parents, and my younger sister.

Impact of the Conservative government: In 1991 when the economy crashed and the Conservative government took over my Mom lost her job, and my parents had bought a house, and it wasn’t very good. We didn’t have any money at all, and I was 12 at the time, so this thing of going to the movies when you are a teenager, buying new clothes and all of that – I could never do it because we could never afford any. My dream was to go shopping with my Mom…

Joining the Social Democratic Youth Organisation (SSU): The funny thing is that I used to think I got into politics by chance. I met the SSU at my school when I was 15 years old, and I realised am that my life experience was telling me “you need to get into politics because you have the background and knowledge that can actually make a difference”. I know how it feels to not have any money at all, and to see my Mom crying because she doesn’t really know if we can keep the house or not.

Getting educated: So it was quite difficult growing up and I had to take a lot of responsibility for my sister. I attended school of course and when I left I attended university. I studied media and communications, cultural studies and ethnology – I have two degrees and one almost finished Master’s degree!

How did your political journey and work as educator develop? I joined the SSU in 1994, and in 1995 I got elected in my youth club to become the organiser of studies, it was the first thing I got elected to do. A few years later I got elected in the District Board of our local regional district, also to organise the studies. I didn’t know what I got myself into, but actually when I learned the form of the study circle and realised the power behind it, it really got me into it.

Study circles – the education methodology: When I went into the regional board it was because I wanted to become the organiser of the studies, so when I became President of the regional board, I was very sad that I had to leave the organising of the studies behind. To organise the study circle, to help people grow in their activism is the thing that I really love doing.

Equality in study circles: I like study circles because you are equal – so even if you have someone holding everything together and making sure everybody gets to say what they want to say, we are still equal and we can decide together. So if we decide this is the way we want to go, we can go that way and there is no hierarchy. So even if you have a group leader, you are only leader by name, you are still equal and I like that.

For example, I had this study circle where we were writing our election programme for the Social Democratic Party in Munkedal, and we had one member from Syria who has been in Sweden for 3 years, and another member who has been a part of the party in Munkedal for 45 years, and is considered a leader. In the study circle we were sitting there together being equal, every voice matters the same, and that is what I really like about it. Since my Mom was a cleaner and my father was a sailor, they didn’t have any education, so I would say that the study circle actually is one of the things that got me into university, because I learned how to study because I didn’t know how before.

The impact of the education study circle programme on members in the recent elections: For 6 years we have been working a lot with study circles and education in our local branch in Munkedal, because they had stopped it and didn’t educate the members. So our local party leader and I decided to educate our members, and we have this organisation of study circles within the party –  you do Members’ Education step 1, then you go to Members’ Education step 2. So the study circle is set but you can still adapt it. In the previous election we did our election programme in the study circle, we did the same thing this year, and we could actually see now in this election campaign that we had a lot more members being activists than 4 years earlier.

Members feel ownership of the party because now they understand, whereas some of them were members for 10 or 20 years but they did not feel ownership, because they did not know how everything was connected, how we are organised and what our history is. Now that they have that knowledge, and they also were also part of creating the election programme – they feel ownership – like this is their cause, and we need to win the election. So I would say that working with the study circles actually changed everything for us, even though the result in the end is that the racist party won the majority.

Education inspires ownership and activism: We also have a strong group of 130 members in our local branch – half of them are 75 years and older – but we are around 40 people being activists every day. We didn’t have this many people before, and it makes a lot of difference. I think if we continue the work we will actually have a huge impact in the election 4 years from now. I would say the education programme has completely changed everything in our organisation. I am very happy that we took that step so many years ago, because otherwise we would have been completely shattered by now – but we know we are a strong organisation and we will move on.

Tell us about the political situation in Sweden currently: The political situation is quite difficult I would say. In my municipality I was the candidate for the Head of City Council – the first name on our list for office, which usually means that either you become Head of City Council, or you become Head of the Opposition. The Social Democrats used to be the largest party in my municipality, with the power of rule. We are now the second biggest party because the racist party (Sweden Democrats / Sverigedemokraterna) got 24.76% and we got 22.91%. In the voting district where I lived before I moved a year ago – where my kids still live half of their time – the racist party got 33% of the votes, and we got 13% and that is in a rural area, so we have a lot of challenges.

The racist party says they want to rule in Munkedal. So it seems we might have a Head of Council in the City Council that is a racist, we will be on the Board of the Council, but we may not even be Head of Opposition, we might lose that as well, so my position is quite difficult and uncertain right now.

When it comes to the national election, the red-green left coalition got 144 seats in Parliament, the Conservatives got 143, and then the racist party got 62. If the Conservatives decide that they can rule with the support of the racist party, they will become government, and the racist party will be have the power of rule in the government, so it is a difficult situation.

How would this situation impact government on a municipal level? The problem is that they are a party that people vote for because they are against the older parties – they are voting for a change, they are voting for something different.

The racist party are promising that they will open up small village schools, and that we should have homes for the elderly in every part of the municipality. But they are not saying how much it would cost and how it would work.

In the last 4 years the racist party got 6 seats in our local Parliament, and 6 replacements – and all of the 6 elected people left, so the 6 replacements got in – they have such a little people. They need to fill all of the Boards like the school board, the board for healthcare etc. and they don’t have people for it. We know that people are leaving so there will be empty seats – so they will not be able to rule even though they have the power, and since they are the majority we can do nothing. The worst case scenario is that our municipality will break down, which is so hard to accept because we have spent 8 years building up the economy.

Will the administration stop working? Yes, because nothing will be done because no one will be ruling – but they will still have the votes as long as the Conservative Party goes along with them. What needs to happen is that the Conservative Party can call for a new majority and a new ruling in the municipality, and then we could step in. But if they have moved all the administration from City Hall to the rural areas, how would we rebuild that? It would be such a challenge, so I’m quite worried.

Personally, since the racist party is the biggest party – you know my two youngest daughters are in my foster care – their biological mother is from Turkey and their biological father is from Syria. For me this becomes a matter of the heart, because this party wants to send away my kids and I don’t feel my kids are safe right now -because I don’t know what will happen to them, that is very difficult.

A huge change in the system of democracy leads to a lot of uncertainty and insecurity: The ironic thing is that I moved here 10 years ago because I wanted to get out of the big city because I wanted my kids to grow up in a safe environment, and now it feels maybe I should move back into the city where people are more educated and not so racist.

What is the importance of gender in education programmes and building membership?  I would say especially where I live in the rural area, we have a strong history of patriarchy – a lot of strong men saying “this is the way we do things” in the party, so it has been difficult. When I was elected as our candidate, people were saying “oh could we really elect such a young woman?” I am 39 years old and I have been in politics for 24 years, and I have been elected in my municipalities for 20 years so I am not young, I am a grandmother! I have been around for such a long time, and they would have never said that about me if I were a 39 year old man.

At the same time I would say half our organisation is gender blind which is quite good. Our local Social Democratic party leader, is also the leader of the paper workers’ union at the paper factory we have here. She became the leader when she was only 32 years old – the first woman – a young woman, and the reason she was asked to become the leader of the Social Democratic Party is because she was a good union leader, it didn’t matter if she was a man or a woman.

So I would say her becoming the leader of the union and then the Social Democratic Party, opened up the way for younger women to become strong members of our organisation. I would say our education programme been quite important for discussing gender equality, how gender oppression works – because we did not talk about before, but now we talk about them in our study circles and for a lot of the elderly members – they have never spoken about these things before.

What is the way forward? We had a meeting and discussed that people are now both angry and afraid. So we are saying that we need not mourn, we need to get organised! It is a cliché but it is so true. So it is interesting, because when we had our board meeting everyone was agreed that now we need education, now we need study circles, now we need to organise our members so that they feel that they are part of making a change.

So this is new, because suddenly everyone was talking about how we need to get organised to continue the struggle.

The term anti-racist has been used much more in Swedish politics recently. Can you explain how this fits into the culture of democratic socialism? I would say that you cannot be a democratic socialist and be a racist, it is not possible to combine. I got the same question from newspapers and the radio channels coming up to the election asking: “If the racist party is big, could you consider working with them?” We also got the question after the election now, and I have been saying the same answer all the way, and this is what we decided. For me – I felt it in my heart, but also we had spoken about it amongst our members: that when it comes to the racist party we are never ever opening up our door to them, we will never work with them in any way.

Sharing values: When it comes to the other parties we share a lot of the values like we respect democracy, we respect human rights, we respect that people are equal – even though people can have different backgrounds, we are still equal – we are human beings. We disagree with these parties on how we organise society – we want to organise society by the principle of democratic socialism.

Losing freedom: But when it comes to the racist party, they want to change the whole structure of the society and they want to put labels on people. They are also saying that even though you are born a Swede – you can get your citizenship revoked if you are not being a “true Swede.” So they are saying if you do not agree with the racist party, you can actually lose your citizenship in the country– so you can actually be thrown out of the country! Which means that me as an anti-racist feminist mother of my children, I can actually be sent away. I don’t know where they would send me though!

Education against racism – questioning perceptions and addressing facts: So I am saying that the struggle of anti-racism is more important now than ever, and you need to address it, actually talk about what racism is because people do not understand what it is. They will say things like: “I sort of like the racist party, I like some immigrants but I do not like the Muslims” or “They can come here but must they really do the things they do?”, and so on. The group who voted for the racist party – 85% of these voters think that we are heading to Armageddon, that our society is collapsing. And if you look at the true facts: our economy is strong, the employment rates are higher than ever – we have the highest employment in all of the European Union – things are going very well. Even people who had difficulty getting a job are getting jobs today, so people have a good life. Which means we really need to ask: “How do you know that all people with a Muslim background do this and this?” “How do you know that people with black skin are different from you?”

One of the things that made me join the Social Democratic youth organisation in 1995, was that the Nazi organisations in my home town was very strong – not the racist organisation – but the Nazi organisations, and they are still strong. They actually candidated for the City Council in my home town, they did not get in but they got a lot of votes and they did a lot of marches and so on. Since 1995 we are pretend they don’t exist, we don’t talk about them, and we don’t force them to talk about what they truly mean – we actually need to challenge them. That is why the anti–racism question is so important when it comes to working with democratic socialism today, because otherwise people will not be equal, and people will not be able to participate the way we want to organise society.

Facing racism and extremism – Youth Globalisation Awareness Programme (YGAP): I think YGAP is more important now than ever because you can get hope and connect with the activist inside yourself, because we forget how to be activists – I did, I needed to come to Cape Town to remember I am an activist! (Describes the feminist symbol tattoo on her left arm that she got 2 weeks after returning home to Sweden from South Africa in 2015) pictured aboveI wanted to remember what I had forgot – that I was an activist, a socialist and a feminist. It is a good thing to get away from your ordinary life for two weeks, and then I had another two weeks in Namibia. I became sick and went into the hospital – I have chronic asthma, I am fine now, but I was quite sick so it was troublesome on the way back.

So for me the impact of YGAP was at different levels. One of the impacts was realising that I got my asthma attack and ended up in hospital, due to visiting a family’s home – and the home was in a poor state. I was there for 15 minutes and I got sick, and they were living there, so when I take my medicine daily it is a reminder that that is not how I want life to be – that there is a struggle that we need to continue for everyone. And also that you never get anything for free, that it could be taken away, even the welfare that we have here in Sweden it is not for free, it is something we have earned through struggle.

But also getting away from my everyday life I realised that I want to work with this education full time, I want to work with popular education and I want to work within the labour movement. So then I started applying for jobs within and got a few offers but ended up working with education at the ABF for one and a half years now. I am so amazed that I get paid to go out and educate people every day because it is not only my work – it is my calling.

What is the importance and impact of global solidarity? A part of something bigger: In our local branch doing we were writing the election programme together and during that process I contacted different party members across the country for input on their election programmes. When I collected all of these things and got them to my group I could show that the Social Democratic Party in all these parts are doing the same thing as us, and had similar ideas. We discussed how it feels that you are part of something bigger and you can feel that social democracy is the same, even if you are in Munkedal or in Malmö, or even in Cape Town South Africa!

Since we live in a rural area we have been disconnected from the world, we have been in our own little corner. Since the war in Syria, we have a lot of people in Munkedal today coming from war, and actually one of our members he was a refugee, and he moved to Sweden in 2014. I would say that his activism made the rest of the members realise how important international solidarity is, when he was doing his 1st of May speech. He was standing in this open space saying: “This so big for me that I can be standing here, coming from a dictatorship, and now being here in a free democracy saying what my heart desires to say.”

They have been hearing me speaking about the project I am involved with in Namibia, and going to Cape Town, but this did not make the change. For them the change happened when they met this new member, and realised that Syria and Munkedal are quite similar and it is close. After opening up to that, they also ask me about the project in Namibia – they realised they are part of something much bigger. And I would say that YGAP is doing the same thing even though you apply for YGAP because you are quite aware, or you just want to make a cool trip. When you go to YGAP you get this connection to something bigger,  so I would say international solidarity is essential.

What are the challenges for workers and youth in Sweden? I would say the biggest challenge, even though employment is high even within the group of young workers, is that they have unsecure employments – short contracts, or employed hour to hour. I can see when it comes to my daughter – she is working in a restaurant and they call after she has been working for 7 days, asking her to come work the next day, and she feels she doesn’t dare say no because she really wants to keep her job. A lot of young people experience this, which mean that they don’t dare to go into the union, and they don’t dare to get organised – if they do they will lose their jobs. I would say the biggest challenge today is to get rid of these unsecure type of employments, so that people will feel secure and they will dare to organise.

Right now it’s like a party for the capitalism because they got what they wanted – people are afraid – they don’t want to lose their jobs so they don’t organise, that is a huge problem. This could actually erase the Swedish model if this continues, so I would say it is a huge and very important struggle today.


What keeps you motivated and inspired? I would say actually the things that make me continue are my daughters. We are in 2018, and we are talking about the right to my own body, we have to talk about abortion again… We used to have this in Sweden – if you were married you used to pay taxes together with your husband – then it wasn’t so lucrative for a woman to work. The racist party is saying that we should have that again – they want to take women back from the working force into the kitchen.

I want all of my four daughters and my granddaughters to do and be whatever they want to be, a police officer or movie star or whatever, that’s what keeps me motivated. I am tired, I have been working 24 years and it feels like I am starting over, talking about things that I talked about so long ago. You know since my girls have these dark eyes and dark hair, and my youngest one, her biggest dream is to have blue eyes, so that people will not tease her… it makes me cry.

I want my daughters to be able to work with whatever they would like to work with, to love whoever they want to love, and also to be able to live in a free democracy.

What message would you like to give to educators in our global community? Do not give up! Do not lose hope, we need to continue, it is the only way. We have done it before – if you look back 100 years at society, how it was organised in Sweden – we need to remember we were one of the poorest countries in the world and we were able to raise ourselves and become a democratic welfare state! So not everything is lost but we need to continue and not lose hope…

Goma Pandey, Bolivia


Educator Profile: Goma Pandey

Why did you attend YGAP, and what was your experience? मैले वाइग्यापमा विभिन्न कामदारहरmको अवस्था, अवसर चुनौती र समस्याको समधानका बारेमा सिक्न र विभिन्न देशका ट्रेड युनियन कर्मीहरmको बारेमा जानकारी लिन सहभागिता लिएकी हूँ । मैले आशा गरेका सम्पूर्ण बिषयमा राम्रो जानकारी पाएँ , नयाँ साथीहरm बनाउने मौका पाए , साथै स्टडी सर्कलको बिस्तृत जानकारी हाँसिल गरे ।.

What is your work? What are the challenges and what do you enjoy? मेरो काम गृह श्रमिकहरmको हक , अधिकार र संरक्षणका लागि विभिन्न संघ संस्थासंग मिलेर आवाज उठाउने, क्षमता बिकासमा सघाउने साथै उनीहरmको लागि वकालत गर्ने हो । हाल सम्म गृह श्रमिकको पहिचान मै ठोस निर्णय भई नसकेको हुदाँ पहिचानको समस्या छ गृह श्रमिकको लागि कानून बनाउनु ठूलो चुनौती हो , मलाई उनीहरmको समस्यामा संगसंगै वहस पैरवी गर्दै अघि बढ्दा रमाईलो लाग्छ ।.

Did YGAP influence how you do your work? वाइग्यापले मेरो काममा ठूलो प्रभाव पारेको छ , तालिम दिने तरिकामा यसले ठूलो सघाउ पु–याएको छ । साथै स्टडी सर्कलको माध्यमबाट गृह श्रमिकको पहिचानका लागि अघि बढन नयाँ अवसर दिएको छ । राष्ट्रिय एंव अन्तरराष्ट्रिय रmपमै अघि बढन सन्जाल बनाउने प्रकृयामा समेत आगामी दिनमा सघाउ पुग्नेछ । अरm देशका साथीहरmसंगको सहकार्य र समुहिक कार्यले नयाँ तरिकाहरm अपनाउन सिकाएको विभिन्न तालिममा मैले वाइग्यापको सिकाई प्रयोग गरिरहेकी छु । Why do you think worker education is important? श्रमिक शिक्षाले नै उनीहरmलाई आफनो हक अधिकार बारे जानकारी गराई बहस पैरवीमा सघाउ गर्दछ ,त्यसैले यस प्रकारको सिकाईको अत्यन्त महत्वपूर्ण स्थान छ ।.

What do you think of the study circles methodology? स्टडी सर्कलको माध्यम सिकाईलाई बहु उपयोगी छ । यसले थोरै समय र कम पैसामा धेरै मानिसलाई सम्स्यासंग लड्ने उपायहरm दिन्छ । ·

Can you give us any highlights of what you / your organisation will be up to this year? यो बर्ष मेरो संस्था (क्लास नेपाल) ले विभिन्न क्षेत्रमा रहेका महिला, गृह श्रमिकहरmलाई नेतृत्व बिकास सीप उपयोगी शिक्षा , सूचनाको हक जस्ता विषयमा तालिम दिने छ । ट्रेड युनियन र श्रमिक बीच नागरीक शिक्षालाई कसरी समायोजन गराउने बारे छलफल चलाउने छ , साथै ती तालिम तथा छलफललाई स्टडी सर्कलबाट गाम्रिण क्षेत्रका अनौपचारीक श्रमिक सम्म पु–याउनेछ.

Nqobizitha Nyakunu


Educator Profile: Nqobizitha Nyakunu

Nqobizitha Nyakunu was selected by Patsime Trust, IFWEA affiliate in Zimbabwe where he had been working, to attend YGAP in 2016. He reflects on the experience and talks about the importance of education.

What was your experience at YGAP like?

My experience at YGAP was exciting and every enjoyable. Met different individuals from various countries and had an opportunity to learn new cultures and traditions. Enjoyed focused and solution driven discussions, hearing authentic information about the economic, political and environmental statuses of the countries represented. Got to understand the outside world has misconceptions about Zimbabwe, and having to tell the situations and activities in my country fostered my patriotic pride. Unified activities with the participants gave me an opportunity to learn about their religions, traditions and few words of their language. Trust and commitment developed and brought out through the activities, tasks and the final postcards created. The major thing that I learnt is that we are all the same; despite the difference in race, tribe and nationality, we can all work for one common purpose.

What work are you currently doing? What are the challenges and what do you enjoy?

Currently I’m a television producer at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, the national broadcaster, under the department of Entertainment and Factual. The current challenges are the lessening of viewership because of the programming and transmission quality. The broadcaster is also undergoing the process of content creation and not much has been done so far because of the monetary constraints due to the unstable economy. I enjoy the recordings of entertainment shows such as musical programs, reality shows and events coverage.

Did YGAP influence how you do your work? In what way?

I’m a person who now is able to have open discussions with various people and accept different thoughts. It has been easy for me to realize that we all have different lifestyles and interests, however, when a problem seems to be emanate in all the separate lives, it is an issue to be dealt with. Advocacy for human rights and informal education as a supplementary provision to formal education has grown to be one of my interests. I have also learn that I cannot deal with problems on my own and once I start engaging more people for help and advice, it becomes a simple issue to deal with. All this traits were developed during my participation in the YGAP program.

Why do you think education is important?

Education is important because it provides information about topical issues and increases the basic knowledge we have about our lives. It creates a platform for various people to share ideas and work towards achieving goals. Education is important mitigating most of the challenges faced in life and helps open doors to a lot of opportunities for better prospects in career growth. With education, there is a boost in creativity, innovation and development of analytical skills.

What do you think of the study circles methodology?

The study circle methodology is a focused strategy in bringing people together with a common interest, and this provides solution driven discussion rich in ideas and planning. The fact that is open for any topical issue; from social, political through to gender issues makes it a vital informal educative system that provides information through synchronized communication. The self-sufficiency of the study circle prevents it from being biased to any political party or institution.

Can you give us any highlights of what you will be up to this year?

I will be working on producing three television programs to be screened by the national broadcaster. I’m already part of the cast in a local drama series and working to be a presenter in an upcoming entertainment show. I will also continue doing charity events and visits to orphanages and refugee camps and donating for the less privileged.

Jenny Andersson, Sweden


Youth Globalisation Awareness Programme (YGAP)
Educator Profile: Jenny Andersson, Sweden

“Together we are strong!” says Jenny Andersson, who attended YGAP in 2016. In this profile she talks with us about her work as a popular educator, co-ordinating and facilitating study circles – and exploring using creativity to educate on democratic practice.

I wanted to know how to work with solidarity across the borders, and learn from other people in the labour movement about union rights and political perspectives. It was very rewarding, I got to meet a lot of interesting people and get insight in the work of an organisation Heal The Hood that works with study circles like we do.

Working as an educator:
I work as a popular education developer at Arbetarnasbildningsforbund (ABF Sweden). It means that I meet organizations that we collaborate with, and we talk about what their needs are to develop their studies and also what they need to develop themselves as an organization: like how to get more members, how to work with social media channels and how to collaborate in a board. To give people the possibility to develop themselves together with others; to show that they can organize. To talk about and fight for union rights, social justice, anti-racism, feminism, environment and so on.

Working with study circles:
I meet all kinds of people, from political parties to elderly associations and friends getting together because they want to learn how to play Persian instruments, or reading and discussing about animal rights; or painting, writing poems, or almost everything. I also work with finding new collaborations, so that more people can participate in the popular education.
I also create study circles and cultural events for the general public, such as writers’ lectures, philosophy discussions and political debates.

The challenges facing popular education:
The majority of the ABF’s financing comes from grants from the government, county and municipal councils, and fees from the participants and the affiliated organization. But the financing from the government is changed, and many parts of ABF struggle with how to reach the economic goals. Another challenge is how to reach new people.

What I enjoy about education work:
I enjoy a lot of things about my work, among this to collaborate with all these peoples in the different organizations, and I enjoy working in an organization that has the same value as I have, an organization that want people to develop themselves, and that fights for diversity, justice, democracy and equality.

How YGAP has influenced my work?
Thanks to YGAP I now have a big network of people from all over the world. Of course all the YGAPers, and the IFWEA staff but also Heal The Hood where I did my internship. I can ask them questions about how to work with people from socially vulnerable areas – how to get people involved and inspired. I also got inspired by the way Heal The Hood talked about human rights when they had dance classes. Therefore, I could say to facilitators in dance circles, that if they want, they too could do something like that.

Working with young people and children:
I also learnt how to work with democracy for organizations that works with children. I learnt an activity from Heal The Hood, take a piece of paper with a cat, monkey and a dog on it, and the children had to choose which one of the animals that they wanted to vote for, and then the teacher/facilitator count the votes. A good way to practice democracy, to show that everyone´s voice is important.

Strengthening Solidarity through YGAP:
When I have had presentations about YGAP for my colleagues and for the board and in other groups, we have had interesting talks, hearing about the ABF work in South Africa. Also: when I’ve had those presentations, I’ve been singing the song ‘Malibongwe’ (that we learnt at YGAP) and that seems to be appreciated, and it helps people come together.

#ICANTKEEPQUIET” Song in Solidarity with Women’s Movement in USA and Globally:
I think that this song is a good way to mobilize people in an easy way. The Internet can be such a good thing for those campaigns, to get people together from all over the world.

Solidarity with women:
Because we live in a patriarchal world, where women are disempowered by all forms of violence, sexual harassment, abortion rights, pay differences and a lot of other things. It’s not easy if you are struggling alone, so you need solidarity from all over the world, both men and women. Together we are strong!

NOTE: In her personal capacity, Jenny has recorded a short clip of the #ICANTKEEPQUIET in solidarity with women globally – watch the clip here

▶ learn more about ABF click here , or join them on Facebook
▶ learn more about Heal The Hood, join them on Facebook

Yoshida Quinteros, Bolivia


Youth Globalisation Awareness Programme (YGAP)
Educator Profile: Yoshida Quinteros, Bolivia

“We have so much in common, in the end we all are human and live in the same world.” This is what Yoshida Quinteros discovered while attending YGAP in 2016. In this interview she tells us how she started doing education work, and why it is important for her to translate the lyrics of the solidarity song #ICANTKEEPQUIET into Spanish.

My background:
I graduated in environmental engineering, and I had been looking for a job for almost two years, so I decided to learn more about other subjects. I started to work as facilitator, which allowed me work with different groups of people, particularly workers – members of trade unions

Why worker education is important:
At points in our lives, we all are workers, at some point some become employers and some remain workers. In many countries “work” is a right, but it is also a right to be well educated about rights – so it is important to know which are the structures whether you are a worker, or an employer.

The YGAP experience:
It was an amazing – first of all because I left my home country and continent for whole new experience and second, because I had the chance to meet amazing people from different parts of the world. And I discovered that we have so much in common, at the end we all are human and live in the same world. YGAP came out as an opportunity to learn and improve those skills that I am still getting from working with unions and especially with women.
How did YGAP influence your work?
I learned a lot during the time in Cape Town, starting with solidarity which, in my opinion, is a challenge to work with.

Solidarity Song #ICANTKEEPQUIET with the Women’s Movement in USA and Globally:
I think a song is the best way to get more people involved, unfortunately the language is a limitation – in countries like Bolivia, the English language is uncommon, it is mostly used by youth and usually they don’t follow these kind of movements. I believe the lyrics are very strong and they contain so much meaning. If the song was translated to languages like Spanish, it would definitely reach more people, and groups of women in South America.
Importance of solidarity with women:
If women support each other, they can build something big and I think most women in the world are fighting similar problems so probably solidarity during the fight is the key for something bigger.

Da la cara
Conoce tu lugar
Cállate y sonríe
No separes las piernas
Yo podría hacer eso

Pero nadie me conoce, nunca nadie lo hará
Si yo no digo nada, si me quedo quieta
Sería yo ese monstruo que los asusta a todos?
Si les dejo escuchar lo que tengo que decir

No puedo callar, no oh oh oh oh oh oh
No puedo callar, no oh oh oh oh oh oh
Un motín de una mujer, oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

No puedo callar
Por nadie
Nunca más

Porque nadie me conoce y nadie nunca lo hará
Si yo no digo nada, toma la pastilla azul
Puede que vean ese monstruo, puede que escapen
Pero tengo que hacer esto, hacerlo de todos modos
No puedo callar, no oh oh oh oh oh oh
No puedo callar, no oh oh oh oh oh oh
Un motín de una mujer, oh oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh no puedo callar

Déjalo salir, déjalo salir
Déjalo salir ahora
Habrá alguien que entienda
Déjalo salir, déjalo salir
Déjalo salir ahora
Debe haber alguien que entienda
Déjalo salir, déjalo salir
Déjalo salir ahora
Habrá alguien que entienda
Déjalo salir, déjalo salir
Déjalo salir ahora
No puedo callar

Ismail Rifa’i Federasi Serikat Pekerja Metal Indonesia (FSPMI)


EDUCATOR PROFILE: Ismail Rifa’i Federasi Serikat Pekerja Metal Indonesia (FSPMI)

Attending YGAP in 2016:

My organization FSPMI commissioned me to be a participant in YGAP. I have had many experiences during YGAP and the most memorable is that I made friends with people from different backgrounds (not just labour activists) and from different hemispheres. In addition I learned a lot about how to develop online education that can be very useful because of the geographical condition of my country, which consists of many islands.

=> Organisasi saya FSPMI yang menugaskan saya untuk menjadi peserta di YGAP, Banyak Pengalaman yang saya dapat pada waktu mengikuti YGAP dan yang paling berkesan adalah saya bisa menjalin pertemanan dengan orang dari berbagai macam latar belakang yang berbeda (bukan hanya aktivis buruh) dan dari belahan dunia yang berbeda. selain itu juga saya banyak mendapatkan masukan tentang bagaimana cara mengembangkan pendidikan Online yang bisa sangat bermanfaat dikarenakan kondisi geografis negara saya yang terdiri dari banyak pulau.

My work life:

I work in two places, the first is in a Japanese electronics company, and the second is at FSPM as Vice Chairman of Education. As a labour activist it is possible for me to work in two places. I worked in the electronics company from 7:00 am to 12:00 am, then I came to the office at FSPMI in Bekasi at 14.00 because it takes 1 hour from the company to FSPMI office, and I work at FSPMI every day until 20.00. The challenges are many, but the main thing is to educate workers who are not aware of their rights. To get the workers in the companies that are members of FSPMI to understand the function of the workers’ union, and contribute is the toughest challenge.

=> Saya bekerja di dua tempat, yang pertama di sebuah perusahaan elektronik asal jepang, dan yang kedua saya juga bekerja di FSPM sebagai Wakil ketua Bidang Pendidikan. sebagai seorang aktivis buruh memang memungkinkan untuk saya bekerja di dua tempat tersebut. saya bekerja di Perusahaan elektronik tersebut dari jam 07.00 pagi hingga jam 12.00, kemudian saya datang ke kantor. FSPMI di Bekasi jam 14.00 karena butuh 1 jam dari perusahaan menuju kantor FSPMI, saya bekerja di FSPMI setiap harinya hingga 20.00. Tantangannya tentu banyak tapi yang paling utama adalah menyadarkan buruh yang belum sadar akan posisinya. bagaimana cara agar para pekerja di perusahaan-perusahaan yang menjadi anggota FSPMI mengerti tentang apa itu SErikat Pekerja dan fungsinya adalah tantangan terberat karena banyak faktor yang memnghalangi para pekerja di indonesia untuk bisa berkontribusi pada serikat pekerja.

Did YGAP Influence how you work?

Sure, because of YGAP I know the condition of other countries, and how they organise to change the situation. Also I can understand how workers’education should be done.

=> Tentu, karena dari YGAP saya bisa tahu kondisi negara2 lain, dan bagaimana cara mereka merubah keadaan. dan dari YGAP pula saya bisa paham tentang bagaimana pendidikan terhadap pekerja harusnya dilakukan.

Why is workers’ education important?

Education for workers is essential so that workers can gain knowledge of their position in the social, political and economic structures. This is so that workers can develop themselves in order to achieve wellbeing for themselves and their families.

=> Pendidikan bagi pekerja sangat penting agar para pekerja bisa mengenali diri mereka sendiri, mengetahui dimana posisi mereka dalam struktur sosial, politik maupun ekonomi, sehingga pekerja bisa mengembangkan diri mereka sendiri demi mencapai kesejahteraan bagi Pekerja dan keluarganya.

What do you think of the study circles methodology?

The study circles method is new to me, usually in Indonesia worker educators use lectures, group discussions and some other methods, but I have never used a study circle. YGAP was the first time I was exposed to the methodology.

=> Metode Study Circles adalah hal baru bagi saya, karena biasanya di indonesia pendidikan bagi pekerja menggunakan metode ceramah, diskusi kelompok dan beberapa metode lain, tetapi saya belum pernah menggunakan study circle. Dan di YGAP saya baru tahu tentang study circles.

What worker education programmes will you be doing with FSPMI this year?

In this year there are many educational programs that I will do. The next one is basic education for new union members, on the island of Borneo in August 2017, then education for organising in September in Bund, and then in October education on wages in Bekasi. In November we have basic education for new union members again on the island of Sumatera. Every month is filled with education programmes for workers.

=> Di tahun ini sebenarnya banyak program pendidikan yang harus saya lakukan, dan yang terdekat adalah Pendidikan dasar Serikat Pekerja yang harus di adakan untuk anggota baru di pulau kalimantan pada bulan agustus 2017, dan pendidikan organizer di bekasi pada bulan september, lalu di bulan oktober ada pendidikan tentang pengupahan di bekasi, dan pada bulan november ada pendidikan dasar untuk anggota baru di pulau sumatera. setiap bulannya memang banyak agenda tentang pendidikan yang harus saya buat.

Educator Emma Gullstrand, Sweden, April 2018


This is who I am: Emma Gullstrand, Sweden

This is what I do: Operations/organisational developer

This is the community / organisation / party I work with: Arbetarnas bildningsförbund (ABF)

This is how YGAP affected me: As I attended YGAP three times, both as a participant as well as coordinator (2012, 2013 and 2014), it really made a lasting impression on me. Both in regard to the similarities in the challenges that we face as a labour movement in the Scandinavian countries as well as in South Africa but also, I feel, a deeper understanding of the specific challenges as well as opportunities that South Africa faces and how much we can learn from each other. And of course, all the wonderful people from the different organizations in Cape Town and beyond who took time off their busy schedules to share their knowledge really stuck with me.

This is how I am collaborating after YGAP: I have stayed in touch with comrades from Soundz of the South and also applied for money to be able to invite them to Sweden in 2014. They stayed a week and were able to meet local organizations and artists for collaboration. Last year I also booked them to Malmöfestivalen. Also, right after I attended the first YGAP, I started to work with Afrikagrupperna in Sweden with their campaign to raise awareness on the situation of farmworkers, specifically on wine farms since Sweden is one of the biggest importers of South African wine.

This is who I am collaborating with: Soundz of the South, Women on Farms Project

This is why my collaboration is important to my community / organisation / party: For me it was both very important to do my part when I got home after being a participant, by keeping my word and passing on the experiences the farmworkers and organizations had shared with us as well as make it a true exchange, which meant also inviting people to Sweden to meet local organisations here and facilitating other collaborations. For me, that is what “folkbildning” is all about.

This is what I think of Community House: It´s a really inspiring house, and knowing its history I feel privileged having been able to spend so much time there.

This is why I recommend you come to YGAP: It´s a chance to educate yourself and your organization, to meet new people, share ideas and hopefully start new collaborations.

Champions of Worker Education

Below is a list of the Champions of Worker Education, picked by affiliates – and we will continue to highlight those who have influenced and inspired educators globally.

BRAZIL – Paulo Freire


Paulo Freire’s work has influenced people working in education, community development, community health and many other fields. Freire developed an approach to education that links the identification of issues to positive action for change and development. While Freire’s original work was in adult literacy, his approach leads us to think about how we can ‘read’ the society around us.

For Freire, the educational process is never neutral. People can be passive recipients of knowledge — whatever the content — or they can engage in a ‘problem-posing’ approach in which they become active participants. As part of this approach, it is essential that people link knowledge to action so that they actively work to change their societies at a local level and beyond.

Read more:

PERU – José Carlos Mariátegui


José Carlos Mariátegui La Chira (14 June 1894 – 16 April 1930) was a Peruvian journalist, political philosopher, and activist. A prolific writer before his early death at age 35, he is considered one of the most influential Latin American socialists of the 20th century. Mariátegui’s most famous work, Seven Interpretive Essays on Peruvian Reality (1928), is still widely read in South America. An avowed, self-taught Marxist, he insisted that a socialist revolution should evolve organically in Latin America on the basis of local conditions and practices, not the result of mechanically applying a European formula.

Read more:

EGYPT/USA – Edward Said


The American writer and academic Edward Said (1935–2003) has been ranked among the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century, with much of the field of postcolonial studies springing directly or indirectly from his ideas. He was also an intellectual in action, devoting much of his energy to advocacy for the Palestinian people and their aspirations.

Controversial in his work, Said had both admirers and detractors. Few statements beyond the bare facts of his life would meet with universal agreement from observers, and even those bare facts were sometimes in dispute. But divergent views of Said were, in a way, inevitable, for Said was a man of many contradictions. He was an academic, and yet he spent much of his time addressing the public, often having to cancel classes he taught at Columbia University because he was booked for television appearances. He was a Christian Arab who both defended the Islamic world and, by his own testimony, felt close to Jews for much of his life. He spent many years working toward the goal of Palestinian nationhood but renounced that goal in the last decade of his life. He was attacked by Israelis as a terrorist, and by Palestinians as too accommodating to Israel. Said’s scholarly works indicted Western cultural traditions as complicit in colonialism, but he played and wrote about European classical music extensively and enthusiastically.

Read more:

NIGERIA – Michael Imoudu


Michael Imoudu (7 September 1902 – 22 June 2005) was born in the Afemai division of Edo State.[2] His father was a soldier in the West African Frontier Force and had served in East Africa and in The Gambia. After the death of his parents in 1922, Imoudu lived and worked for a relative who was a linesman on the railways. Due to the job of the relative, he traveled to various cities in the Mid-Westand in the East, during his sojourn, he learned the Igbo language.[3] He attended several schools and finished his elementary education at Agbor Government School in 1927.[4] He traveled to Lagos in 1928 and secured work a year later as a daily labourer, he also worked as a linesman in the Post and Telegraph Department before joining the railways as an apprentice turner.

Career as labour leader

Imoudu started labour union activities as a member of the Railway Workers Union (RWU), the union was to become one of the most militant unions in the country [5] during the colonial period. The union was formed in 1931 at a time where many trade organizations were a lot similar to social undertakings than an industrial movement.[6] In 1939, Imoudu became the president of the union, during the same year, the union was registered under the Trade Union Ordinance which allowed trade unions legal authority to seek collective bargaining with their employers. RWU was the first union registered under the act.

Under Imoudu’s leadership, the union renewed their demand for higher wages, de-casuaulisationand improved working conditions. He came into limelight in 1941 when he sought the government’s and railway management’s consent to improve the conditions of technical employees.[7] Though, the colonial government ratified some of their demands, the railway management was slow to implement the changes. After a while, the management released its concessions to the workers who were displeased and several negotiations further took place between July and September 1941. On 30 September 1941, the mechanical workers found their gates locked on the order of the Works Manager. Imoudu then led a march to the seat of government in Lagos Island shouting for the ouster of the works manager. The protest got the attention of the government which took immediate measures to resolve the workers grievances.

Though the demonstration was successful, Imoudu later had constant clashes with European managers,[8] it has been said that a reason of the clashes was his disagreement with the preferential treatment meted out to European officials. Between 1941 and 1943, he was queried many times and was dismissed in January 1943.

In July 1941, a representative meeting of some select trade unions in Nigeria was held in Lagos. The meeting led to the founding of the African Civil Servants Technical Workers Union to protect the interest of the African technical workers. Imoudu, representing the railway union was selected as the Vice President. The new union began to agitate for a grant of cost of living allowance or war bonus.[9] In 1942, Imoudu was a labour negotiator in talks with government to grant a Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) to workers to soften the effects of inflation as a result of World War II. The government made some COLA concession in 1942 under the leadership of Bernard Bourdillon, however, some of those concessions were revoked by Arthur Richards.

In 1943, after his dismissal Imoudu was detained but his detention was later changed to restriction of movement under the Nigerian General Defence Regulations, 1941 which was closely related to the British World War II Defence Regulations acts. He was released on 20 May 1945 after the end of the War. However, on 2 June 1945, a large rally was held to welcome him back to Lagos. In the same year, the organized labour movement was negotiating for improved COLA terms. It is assumed his release was to soften the effect of a labour crisis. However, on 21 and 22 June 1945, Imoudu led a radical wing of the organized union to organize a general strike.

In 1946, Imoudu had identified with NCNC and was nominated to the executive council of the party. Along with Nnamdi Azikiwe and Herbert Macaulay, he was a member of NCNC’s delegation to London protesting the 1946, Richards Constitution.[10]

From 1947 to 1958, Imoudu was leader of various trade unions.[11] He was president and gogo Chu Nzeribe, his vice president of the All Nigeria Trade Union Federation; an effort at unification of various labour unions in the country. The federation enjoyed initial success, incorporating 45 out of the 57 registered unions at the time. However, conflict arose between radicals and neutral activists, the latter group preferred keeping labour out of radical and socialist related political activity and joining the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

Second Republic

Imodu joined Aminu Kanos People’s Redemption Party as its deputy national president. In 1981, political crisis within the party led to a fracturing of the Party and the formation of an Imodu led PRP with Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi as his secretary and Abdullahi Aliyu Sumaila as the Kano state secretary.

UGANDA – Mahmood Mamdani


Mahmood Mamdani, born 23 April 1946, is a Ugandan academic, author, and political commentator. He is the director of the Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR),[1] the Herbert Lehman Professor of Government at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University[2] and the Professor of Anthropology, Political Science and African Studies at Columbia University.[3]

Mamdani specialises in the study of African and international politics, colonialism and post‐colonialism, and the politics of knowledge production. His works explore the intersection between politics and culture, a comparative study of colonialism since 1452, the history of civil war and genocide in Africa, the Cold War and the War on Terror, and the history and theory of human rights.[14]

His current research “takes as its point of departure his 1996 book, Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Colonialism“.[15] In Citizen and Subject, Mamdani argues that the colonial state in Africa generally took the form of a bifurcated state, wherein racial domination is mediated through direct rule in urban areas and through tribally organized local authorities elsewhere.[16] Terming this form of rule decentralized despotism, Mamdani analyzes extensive historical case studies in South Africa and Uganda to argue that colonial rule tapped into authoritarian possibilities whose legacies often persist after independence.[17] Challenging conventional perceptions of apartheid in South Africa as exceptional, he argues that apartheid was the generic form of the colonial state in Africa, encompassing both British ‘indirect rule‘ and French ‘association’ strategies.[18]

From Wikipedia Mahmood Mamdani

USA – A.J. Muste


A.J Muste (1885- 1967) was a political activist, often regarded as America’s Ghandi. He was an antiwar, labor movement leader. He led the textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts in a successful, non-violent strike. He also co-founded the American Workers Party at the height of the Great Depression. Muste discarded his previous Christian pacifism to become a Marxist, although he didn’t support everything that had to do with Marxism and its revolutionary activities. He could not reconcile with violence as a means, or the idea of class war and temporary dictatorship of the working class. His tactic of peaceful civil disobedience became very popular, and he protested against the arms race, and the war in Vietnam. He was also involved in the Civil Rights Movement. His message was “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way”. In 1956 he founded a magazine, “Liberation” which was an anti-war forum and was the member of the War Resisters League.

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USA – Harry Van Arsdale Junior


Harry Van Arsdale Jr. (1905-1986) was born during a 33-month lock out of Building Tradesmen, by the Building and Construction Industry of New York City. The memories of his father being unemployed and the effect it had on his family remained with him throughout his life. It was the determination to insure workers and their families would have better lives, that drove him to be a trade union leader, a concerned citizen and internationalist. He was responsible for the first multi-employer plan in the construction industry in 1941; paid holidays, paid vacation, the establishment of annuity funds for workers and the founding of the Joint Industry Board of the Electrical Industry. He also established educational scholarships for member’s children in 1949.

Later, in 1961, he instituted an affirmative action program to enable minorities to enter electrical trade. He became the first president of the New York City Central Labor Council and served as President until his death in 1986 and expanded the role of labor throughout New York City. He organized good will study tours to Puerto Rico in 1958 to observe and understand the difficulties Puerto Rican immigrants were experiencing in the work place. Similar tours were conducted to other countries. Harry began a drive to establish a Labor College in New York City which was established in 1971 as part of State University of New York, Empire State College. As a result, labour leaders and members can go to college and earn Associate, Bachelor and Masters degrees in labour studies.

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USA – Myles Horton


Myles Horton (1905-1990) was an environmental activist and civil rights activist. Growing up with limited financial resources, he was taught by his parents to value others in his community as well as the power of organizing. He founded the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee, that focused on labor organizing civil rights and advocacy for the poor. He was inspired by progressive Danish schools. Despite several attacks against the Highlander Folk School, the institution made strides in labor organizing and civil rights movement work, actively opposing segregation. Horton studied theology, and after that travelled to Europe and scrutinized the folk schools of Denmark which emphasized social engagement over dogmatic, academic styles of learning. Therefore, he founded a school in Tennessee which focused on people sharing and analysing their experiences, using revelations to effect social change and initiate self-growth. The school later became a place for discussing Civil Rights Movement strategies. Highlander became a unique oasis in the legally segregated state, where black and white citizens freely co-mingled. Some of the people who attended and/or taught there was Rosa Parks, Pete Seeger, Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Fannie Lou Hamer.

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INDIA – Ela Bhatt


Ela Bhatt, the founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), is widely recognized as one of the world’s most remarkable pioneers and entrepreneurial forces in grassroots development. Known as the “gentle revolutionary,” and a follower of the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, she has dedicated her life to improving the lives of India’s poorest and most oppressed citizens.

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INDIA – Mahatma Gandhi


Mahatma (meaning “great soul”) Ghandi (1869- 1948) was born in Porbandar, Gujarat in North West India. He got a one-year contract of work in South Africa, that resulted in 21 years living in South Africa railing against the injustice of racial segregation in the Apartheid South Africa. On his return to India in 1916, Ghandi developed his practice of non-violent civic disobedience further, for instance, raising awareness of oppressive practices in Bihar in 1918 where the local population was oppressed by their largely British masters. He encouraged the oppressed villagers to improve their own circumstances, leading peaceful strikes and protests. His birthday the 2nd of October, is celebrated as a National Holiday in India every year.

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NORWAY / SWEDEN – Elise Ottesen-Jensen


Elise Ottesen-Jensen, also known as Ottar (2 January 1886 – 4 September 1973) was a Norweigan- Swedish sex educator, journalist and anarchist agitator. Her main mission was to fight for women’s rights to understand and control their own body and sexuality. She was a member of the Swedish anarcho-syndicalist union Central Organisation of the Workers of Sweden. Her followers consider her as a pioneer in the field of women’s rights and feminism. Ottesen-Jensen had a motto that was:
“I dream of the day when every new born child is welcome, when men and women are equal, and when sexuality is an expression of intimacy, joy and tenderness”.

She made several attempts to organize working class women, who started asking for advice regarding sexuality, like: “Do I always have to when my husband wants to?” She and her husband moved to Sweden, and Elise travelled from south to north of Sweden, teaching female workers how to avoid pregnancy. She advocated sexual pleasure for women, gay rights, repealing the law against contraceptives, free abortion etc. which made her risk harsh penalties. She was one of the founders to the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU) and became its first President.

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SWEDEN – Maja Sandler


Maja Sandler (1877 – 1971) was a Swedish activist for humanitarian operations. She was married to a Swedish former prime minister Richard Sandler (prime minster between 1925-1926). Together they started ABF- the Swedish Federation of Workers Education Association. In the beginning of her life she was a stranger to the ideas of the labour movement, but later became a great admirer of it. She took several humanitarian initiatives, for instance, Save the Children and the Women’s Committee for the Children of Spain under the Spanish civil war. When she turned 70 years old she was honoured and given a price by the Swedish government and the Norwegian king for her humanitarian operations in Norway under the occupation during the Second World War. Since she’s a women, there’s not easy to find facts about Maja, compared to her husband Richard Sandler, but she was very known for her warm, wise and kind personality.


SWEDEN – Oscar Olsson


Oscar Ulrik Bernahardin Olsson (4 July 1877 – 25 January 1950) created the first study circle in Sweden in 1902 as part of the International Order of Good Templars.

The features of the study circle were according to Olsson: people studied in small groups, often at home, study material was rare, teachers were not considered a necessary prerequisite of study but rather leaders of groups that organized the session and had no theoretical qualifications, people supplemented their studies by attending lectures or meetings, circle member had no previous qualifications, they learnt to discuss, argue, show consideration for others, accept defeat and share responsibility, experiences a sense of community and identity, knowledge they acquired through the study circles could be directly related to their everyday life and the studies began at the initial cognitive level of the members and were guided by their needs.

Study circles empowered and emancipated the working class, since higher education was not a possibility to them due to financial reasons and because young people had to provide for their whole family when they were physically able to. Through the study circle they could gain knowledge without financial necessities. As Olson put it: “The emancipation of the working class should be a task for the workers themselves.”

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SWEDEN – Rickard Sandler


Rickard Johannes Sandler (29 January 1884- 12 November 1964) was a Swedish Social Democratic politician. He began in the government without a portfolio in 1920-1923, then minister for trade, prime minister after the death of Hjalmar Branting in 1925, and ultimately as minister for foreign affairs from 1932 to 1939. He was one of the youngest prime minsters Sweden has ever had, starting his admission at an age of only 41 years old. Before that he went to Uppsala University and received a Bachelor of Arts degree and worked as a teacher at the same school as his father in Kramfors, Sweden.

Sandler was an intellectual leader and one of the founders of The Workers’ Workers’ Educational Association (ABF) in 1912. He was the main writer of the Marxist-oriented party programme of the Social Democratic Party in 1920. He published material that was widely spread, called “The society as it is” (1911). Sandler is said to have a position in the “middle”, which means not too far to the left and not too far to the right. When the Social Democrats during its conference in 1929 demanded socialism á la the Soveit Union, the party board together with Richard Sandler managed to stop it. This is considered as an important development for the Social Democratic movement as a reformist movement, and beginning of the later prime minister Per-Albin Hanssons’ view of Sweden as “the peoples’ home”, as contrast to more radical reforms.

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UK – Raphael Samuel


Raphael Samuel was the son of Jewish parents, born in London in 1934. Since his mom was an active member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, he joined the party very young. Together with other communists like E.P. Thompson, Christopher Hill, Edmund Dell etc. they formed the Communist Party Historians’ Group. Samuel also became a tutor at Ruskin College in 1962. In 1967 Raphael Samuel established the History Workshop movement and played a major role in the life of the History Workshop Journal that began publishing in 1975.

The socialist historian Keith Fleet, has argued: “Raphael Samuel was one of the most prominent historians in the country to support history from below – the attempt to actively recover the history of ordinary people and their movements. In many ways this was a step forward from the sometimes rather rigid orthodoxies of more mechanical Marxist histories.”

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In Tribute – worker educator pioneers:

Tembi Qondela, South Africa



GLOBAL – SOUTH AFRICA: Activist, researcher and educator Tembi Qondela passed away on 2 June 2020 of Covid-19 related complications. At the time of his death, he was the co-coordinator for the International Honours Program (IHP) at the School for International Training (SIT), as well as the founder of the award-winning community-based organization called Whizz ICT Community Resource Centre in Khayelitsha. Tembi started his early career on the mines in South Africa, where he came to understand the importance of defending workers’ rights and the importance of health and safety at work. These were to be themes that constantly underscored his work as an activist, researcher and educator.

Amongst his many roles was that of part-time assistant librarian at the Trade Union Library and Education Centre, which later merged with IFWEA affiliate the Labour Research Service (LRS) in Community House in Cape Town. He was also adult educator and coordinator at the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Adult Education Scheme, and researcher with the Industrial Health Research Group and Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health Research at UCT. His research on the impacts of pesticides in low-income communities earned him the World Health Organization Community Research Award for a best participatory research project. Tembi earned a postgraduate diploma and advanced certificate in adult education and development from the University of Cape Town.

Described as having a “massive smile and boundless energy,” Tembi was also praised as “a fiercely independent thinker willing to challenge injustice but who cared hugely for others.”

Nelly Ascencio Quispe, Peru


PERU – PLADES “IN COMMEMORATION: Educator Nelly Ascencio”

Dedication by Juan Carlos Vargas:
“Our dear friend and colleague, Nelly Asencio, has left us. In this photo on July 24th, with her well-known pink scarf, on we the course for her beloved workers of the informal economy, whom she admired for their efforts to continue studying. So many shared days. All of us who knew her and knew her humanity will miss her.”
Dedicación de Juan Carlos Vargas:

“Nuestra Querida amiga y colega, Nelly Asencio nos dejo. En la foto, con su conocida bufanda rosada, el 24 de julio clausurábamos un Curso para sus queridos trabajadores de la economia informal, a quienes admiraba por sus esfuerzos de seguir estudiando. Tantas jornadas compartidas. Nos hará mucha falta a todos los que la conocimos y supimos de su humanidad.”

Arthur Danielsen, Norway



Written on behalf of Arthur’s colleagues in the AOF – Norway by Anne Devik and translated into English by Aslak Leesland.

“Arthur Sverre Danielsen was born in the town of Kristiansand at the very southern tip of Norway in 1961. It came as a shock to all of us when he unexpectedly and abruptly passed away on July 1, 2018. He died at the age of just 56 years.

Arthur took up his job in the AOF in 2006 when he was entrusted with the position as chief educator of history, ideology and societal questions. This was a result of the transfer of responsibility for advanced trade union education to the AOF from the LO trade union school at Sørmarka where Arthur had been employed since 1997 at the LO´s main training centre. Before that he held the position as Lecturer at Linderud secondary school in Oslo (1993-1996).

Arthur received a university education, and held a master´s degree in political science specializing in comparative politics. He will be remembered for the courses and seminars he developed and not least, for his contribution to the project called the “Nordic School”, an assignment by the Nordic Labour Movement´s Cooperative Council and developed on the basis of a research project called “The Nordic model towards 2030”.

Arthur taught a wide range of Norwegian and international courses. We would like to highlight the Norwegian LO’s most advanced training course and the Nordic School in Geneva where local trade unionists from the Nordic countries every year monitor the ILO conference attentively.

The history of the labour movement was always close to Arthur´s heart. He always emphasized that in order to understand the world around us and to meet future challenges, we need to have a sound knowledge of our past.

He contributed to a number of different publications. The day before he passed away, he finished a manuscript about the lighthouse Katland on the south coast of Norway. The proceeds from the sales of his book will go unabridged to the restoration of the old buildings at the village of Loshavn where Arthur had his roots.

Arthur an engaging and creative teacher. He was engrossed in the idea of adult education and always emphasized the crucial contribution of trade union education to social equity. In his role as a teacher and supervisor he found it important to sew doubt in the minds of the participants.

“If the participants leave my courses with doubt in their minds, I have achieved something”, was a typical Arthur statement.

Nor only has the AOF lost an unusually knowledgeable and competent colleague. Arthur’s loss comes as a blow to the entire labour movement of Norway.

Arthur leaves behind his wife and son. May he rest in peace!”

Mike Louw, South Africa



GLOBAL – SOUTH AFRICA: It is with great sadness that the IFWEA Secretariat shares the newsthat Comrade Mike Louw has passed on. A comrade, shopsteward, organiser, educator, serving workers and working class communities in South Africa, Africa and globally. Mike represented Congress Of South African Trade Union (COSATU) at IFWEA‘s first Youth Globalisation Awareness Programme (YGAP) in 2012.

IFWEA’s Programme Manager Saliem Patel wrote this poem as a tribute to Mike Louw:

Rodney Bickerstaffe, UK



“Not every union leader can say they were loved. But Rodney was loved by everyone.” Trades Union Congress (TUC) General Secretary Frances O’Grady.

Rodney Bickerstaffe died on 3rd October 2017. He served many years as President of the Global Network, a network of labour rights civil society organisations in Africa, Asia and Latin America, aimed at fostering alliances between trade unions and other civil society organisations towards building capacity around labour rights at a grassroots level. IFWEA’s affiliates co-ordinated all activities in these regions, and worked with Rodney through SOLIDAR to advocate an international response to advancing labour rights for the most marginalised of workers.

Under Rodney’s able guidance, we crafted an IFWEA approach to international work. With a gentle deftness born of decades of trade union leadership, Rodney always led by example. He showed us how to forge principled political alliances; how and when to keep our own counsel; how to conduct meetings filled with fractious participants with both firmness and good humour; how to always be caring and accommodating to those weaker than us; how to edge our way to the front with our banner to make the most of every photo opportunity at a demonstration, without barging arrogantly ahead; how to deconstruct events over beer and laughter while not neglecting to make notes for the future; how to choose the best vegetarian dishes in an English curry-house; and last but by no means least, how to take the mickey out of ourselves and everyone else at the least opportunity.

Rest in Peace Rodney. You will always be remembered and were much loved by the IFWEA people who worked with you.

Sahra Ryklief – General Secretary, on behalf of the Executive Committee.

Mel Doyle, UK



Mel Doyle, who has died aged 73 from a progressively degenerative illness, was deputy general secretary of the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) in the UK, from 1993 until his retirement in 2004.

WEA is dedicated to bringing adult education into the heart of communities, especially to people with disadvantages in life.  Doyle, joined as a research assistant in 1974, and was a driving force behind the creation of EURO-WEA which, for a period, acted as the European regional arm of the global International Federation of Workers’ Education Associations.

His contribution to trade union education stands as one of his major professional achievements.

Read more: Mel Doyle’s obituary in The Guardian