Virlanie hosts an international training for street workers

Virlanie hosts an international training for street workers

Twenty-four participants from 6 Asian countries (Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Nepal, and East Timor) and 2 European countries (Spain and Portugal) gathered in Solace Hotel, Makati City Philippines for the Training of Trainers on Social Street Work. The training is under the ASYA (Advocacy for Street based Youth work and Networking Action) project, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

Social Street Work Methodology

During the 5-day training, the participants exchanged best practices among each other. The ultimate goal of the training is to replicate it to each participating country so more street workers would learn the social street work methodology. The social street work methodology is an approach using a strong ethical drive formed of respect and tolerance for the most excluded populations. According to the International Guide on the methodology of street work throughout the world, to which the training is based on, “The underlying idea in social street work is not to take a person away from the streets or their surroundings “at all costs”, especially if it consists of compartmentalising them in a new social context where they will feel uncomfortable. Whatever the context, be it a child, a young person or an adult, the work of accompaniment means building self-esteem, developing personal skills, independently from the degree of exclusion, and enabling participation in social life.”

Five-day Training

The first day of the training is filled with fun introductions among the participants. It started with a short opening ceremony, with welcoming remarks coming from Virlanie Founder, Dominique Lemay. After the ceremony, the participants enjoyed a “getting-to-know” activity where they were asked to roam around and ask questions to other participants. They were also organized into small groups and were asked to talk about their perceptions of the street and perform their group perception through role play. Second part of the group activity was performing their perceptions of “ideal street”. One group highlighted that an ideal street for them is where everybody has equal access to opportunities.

The second day involved another group activity where they created posters of values, objectives and target beneficiaries of social street work. Their afternoon activity is composed of another poster making where they shared and drew their various interventions of social street work.

The third day of the training was a tour of street-based organizations in the Philippines, combined with some tourist spots of Metro Manila. The first stop was at Virlanie, where they went to its 3 homes, headquarters, dental clinic, and Magellan Learning Center. After this, they went to Intramuros, oldest part of Old Manila, the walled city. The participants then, went to Virlanie’s Mobile Unit where they bonded with children in street situations and participated in the street education sessions. Soon after, they went to Child Hope Philippines (another street-based organization) and then went to another tourist spot, Rizal Park, Manila’s iconic central park of open lawns, ornamental gardens, ponds, paved walks and wooded areas, dotted with monuments to a whole pantheon of Filipino heroes. They jumped to Manila Bay to witness the breathtaking sunset. They wrapped the day off with a delicious dinner prepared in Bahay Tuluyan, another Filipino street-based organization.

Back to training proper, the fourth training day was a simulation of the trainings where the presenting group became the trainer while the others were the trainees.

During the last day of the training, each participant shared his/her most memorable experience and reflection of the training. The closing ceremony also happened where each was recognized and given a certificate of completion. Sum, one of the participants, shared “It was a nice experience especially when we visited the streets. I felt that my job matters, and I was inspired to do better.” Sum is a fresh graduate and works as a social worker in Hong Kong Playground Association.

See this video summarizing the training:

The training is made possible through Virlanie’s partnerships with Dynamo International, the International Network of Social Street Workers based in Brussels, Belgium, the Street Work Training Institute based in Lisbon, Portugal and the Asociacion Navarra Nuevo Futuro in Pamplona, Spain.