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Capacitar and Wellness In Volunteering.

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Photo: Capacitar founder Pat Cane at a training session. Source Flickr.

One of Mark Cummings mentors was in town this week.  Here he reflects on Pat Cane and Capacitar.

A force of nature in her early 70’s and still charging around the world.  Pat cut her teeth in Central America in the bad days of the 1980’s.  She worked with communities affected by the violence in the dark years of the conflict in El Salvador.

To look after herself, mentally, emotionally and psychologically she began trying out various self-care practices, these she has developed over the years, drawing and building on practices from around the world.  She set up Capacitar which has grown into an international network in the Global North and South including here in Ireland.

Since 1988, Capacitar trainers have worked in over 40 countries, especially committed to people impacted by war, trauma, poverty, violence and disasters.  In my time in Trocaire we worked to integrate Capacitar into human rights programming as a way to support communities and human rights defenders manage and cope with the stresses they were often under.  We also used it in our teams as a way to help individuals and teams to work to center themselves and focus on the work in hand.

My two colleagues, Grainne and Janet are undergoing the 4 weekends of Capacitar training over the coming year.  We hope we can integrate some of these practices into our trainings for volunteers and development workers both pre-assignment and on return to Ireland.  Watch this space!


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