Popular Education Provides Economic Empowerment for Women in Transition


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TESA worked with the New England Learning Center for Women in Transition on a workshop for all of NELCWIT’s staff that would engage participants in the tenets of popular and participatory education, particularly as how it could be utilized by social change organizations both internally and externally.

Since 1976, NELCWIT has been working to build safety, justice, and dignity for all. Serving Franklin County and the North Quabbin region of western Massachusetts, we offer safety planning, advocacy, and support to anyone who has survived domestic or sexual abuse, and prevention education for our community, especially area youth.

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How TESA helped
In coordination with NELCWIT’s economic empowerment program, TESA developed a half-day workshop for all of the staff at NELCWIT that explored the tenets of popular and participatory education, and how it could be used both internally and externally.  As such, the workshop looked at the history of the pedagogy, with a specific focus on how it has been used by community based organizations and social change movements.  In turn, TESA worked with NELCWIT to discuss how the principles of participatory education could work for a program that works with women who are dealing with domestic and sexual abuse, and within the community where NELCWIT does prevention education and other related programs.  By the end of the workshop, NELCWIT staffed had laid the foundation for a new cross training program, a revamped interview process for new employees that would include elements of, and questions about popular education, and a plan for how to integrate popular education into their perpetrator education program. Being true to popular education, the workshop was a learning and teaching experience for everyone, with both TESA and the staff feeling “validated,” “energized,” and excited for how to continue to integrate popular education into our work.

What would you say to others about TESA?
“TESA’s workshop on popular education was interactive and engaging. As a Child & Family Advocate at a domestic violence and rape crisis center, it inspired me to continue to build more participatory practices into all of the work I do with teens and families. The workshop was also a good reminder of how important it is to ground my work in educational strategies that challenge power structures and view everyone as both a learner and a teacher.”

-Madeleine Gorman

A note from TESA
Partnering with an organization that is on the front lines of making community change by working with women who have survived rape, domestic abuse, and sexual violence was incredibly empowering and educational for the TESA members who facilitated this workshop.  Like the NELCWIT staff, this workshop validated the work we do, and why we focus on the pedagogy of popular and participatory education.  In short, working with NELCWIT was inspiring, energizing, and educational – we definitely hope to work with them again soon.

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