Nina Langit-Garcia is based in the Philippines, and she joins the IFWEA Secretariat as an Educator/Online Education Assistant. We asked Nina how she came to be involved in workers’ education, and what she is looking forward to this year:
Tell us a bit about your background, and how you came to participate in the work you do now?
I grew up in the Philippines, and finished my Bachelor’s Degree in Community Development at the University of the Philippines. I came to be involved in workers’ education when some of my peers from university, who were already involved in workers’ education, invited me to be a part of the Labor Education and Research Network (LEARN). I’ve been involved since then.
What did you do with LEARN?
During my first few years with LEARN, I coordinated a project for the education and organising of workers’ cooperatives. We provided training and organising assistance to enterprise-based cooperatives and also cooperatives of workers in the informal economy. After that, I became the coordinator of LEARN’s Education Programme. This involved developing and implementing a curriculum-based leadership formation programme for labour unions and cooperatives with my colleagues.
What, to you, is important about workers’ education?
I think what is important about workers’ education is that it enables workers to become critical thinkers and enables them to take an active role in fighting against oppression in a capitalist society. I especially love how education enables workers to imagine the future that they want, and to relentlessly work towards the fulfilment of that future.
Is there an area that you particularly like to focus on?
Ever since my university days, I have been in love with education work/ adult education. I started my training learning about community-based education, and eventually workers’ education. I fully abide by the principle that as adult educators, we are merely facilitators; that we should trust that adults are intrinsically motivated to learn and act on the things they are passionate about, and our role is to merely help them through that.
What are the challenges you have found?
One of the challenges that I have found is that in an increasingly fragmented society, even with the illusion of interconnectivity, it is harder to educate and mobilise workers. From that, the actual challenge is to innovate new and creative social technologies to educate and mobilise workers.
Can you give us an example of a career highlight, where you were able to share/explain your work and methodologies?
One of the main highlights of my career was presenting the work that we did in organising transport cooperatives in an agenda-setting workshop organized by Rutgers University at the IFWEA General Conference last 2019. It was, for me, a huge feat that we were able to share the struggles and achievements of transport workers in the Philippines with colleagues who are also working towards organising informal workers in the transport sector all over the world.
What are you looking forward to this year, with IFWEA?
I am mostly looking forward to working with the amazing IFWEA team, learning more about our global network of workers’ education associations, meeting them, hearing their stories; honing my skills, and contributing to the workers’ movement through education!
To find out more about what activities and courses IFWEA is running in 2023, download our programme here.