María de la Pava
Maria has more than 20 years experience of working with community groups, organisations and individuals, both in the UK, Colombia and Jamaica. She is co-founder of Caisa Maloka (centro de accion, investigación social, agroecologica) based in a small village in the mountains of South West Colombia. She moved to the UK in 2016 to support the development of the Braich Goch centre. She is currently studying Clinical Herbalism part time and is an avant believer in the healing powers of plants and uplifting ancestral knowledge held and practised by many communities in the global south. Her dream is to return to Colombia to learn from practising communities and to set up a herbal clinic that supports campesino communities to access and reconnect with this ancestral knowledge and practice.
Lita worked in community with adults and young people in London for eight years. She brought a youth group to stay at the Braich Goch in 2019 and loved it so much she asked to come back to volunteer, and ended up moving to Corris to join the team in Spring 2021. She is committed to the principles of Popular Education and learned about Participatory Action Research working at a women's cooperative in Brixton in 2015. Since then she has practiced PAR with adults and young people in many different settings in the UK and abroad. As well as working in community Lita has been a part of direct action movements for housing and migration. She is a founding member of The Hologram, an international network of people who are finding sustainable ways to support each other through the end of Capitalism.
Javier Sanchez-Rodriguez was born in the South Central Colombian Andes into a peasant family. He is a political activist and participatory action researcher. After the experience of having to migrate to the UK in his mid-teens, he studied theatre, dance, music and anthropology in London where he lived for 12 years. Co-founder of CAISAMALOKA – Social Action and Agro-ecological Research Centre Maloka in rural southwest Colombia. Also Co-founder and coordinator of Braich Goch-Red-Arm CIC, recently converted into the Anne Matthews Trust, in Mid Wales, a critical learning and resource centre. Javier has worked intensively with oppressed communities in Colombia, Jamaica, and several cities in the UK including: Hull, Leeds, Middlesbrough and London. Through the use popular and critical pedagogy methods and philosophies, Javier has supported the development of community led organisations of people from peasant, refugee and migrant backgrounds. He uses theatre, dance, music and participatory film as tools for celebration, enquiry and dissemination, engaging people in thinking critically about their immediate realities to generate collective action plans for positive social change.
Jeanette was born and grew up in East Lothian, Scotland. After studying Social Anthropology at Edinburgh University and working as a support worker with adults with learning differences and those experiencing homelessness, she pursued a career as a chef. Specialising in large scale catering, she was head chef and kitchen manager at a busy retreat centre before moving to Mid Wales. She got involved at the Braich Goch in 2020, helping to cook donation based takeaways for the local community during lockdown, and offering support with an events internship. Jeanette also trained as a basketmaker, and works as a freelancer offering workshops in weaving with wild materials, which she makes available to groups visiting the Braich Goch.
interns / Volunteers
Rolando was born in Somoto, Nicaragua. He studied law in the Universidad de Managua (UdeM) from 2014 to 2018. After graduating from law school he joined the protests against the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega who commanded his forces of repression to harass, jail, torture, and even kill the protesters. For that reason, Rolando exiled himself to Britain in 2019. From then on he applied his expertise in law to support and advise other asylum-seeking people and refugees by volunteering as a caseworker assistant at the Welsh Refugee Council (WRC) in Wrexham from 2019 to 2020. After a long hiatus due to Covid in 2020, in the spring of 2021 Rolando was referred by Lee Tiratira, North Wales chief coordinator at the Ethnic and Youth Support Team (EYST), to get involved as an intern at a Critical Learning Centre in Corris, Machynlleth where he has been trained in Participatory Action Research (PAR) techniques for community organising and self-sustainability.
Sarah is a former journalist and local newspaper editor who now manages the busy press office of a local council. She is experienced in developing and managing proactive PR campaigns, crisis communications and working with regional and national media.
The niece of Anne Matthews, she is passionate about supporting the vital work to provide a space to tackle inequality and injustice at Braich Goch.
She enjoys walking, a good book and lives in Suffolk with her husband and two little boys (plus three cats).
Osian studied BTEC National Diploma in Forestry and Conservation after leaving school. Then he worked for a Groundworks contractor for five years before starting his own contracting business at the age of 21. Twenty years later his business is still going and he is currently employing four men. He is also a musician in his spare time, playing acoustic guitar and composing songs in welsh.
Lucy has 20 years experience as a Community and Youth Worker in London, working alongside young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds, and with young people affected by youth violence.
She is a passionate advocate of Participatory Action Research as a process for exploring and addressing inequalities and injustice.
Lucy now lives in the town where she grew up in Cornwall, with her young family, and works with young people using Restorative Practice to strengthen communities and address conflict and harms to identity.
Hinda Mohamed is a British-Somali woman who has a mixed heritage 7 years old boy. She has been actively engaged as an activist since in her teens. She has participated in and set up numerous projects and organisations for people from refugee and migrant backgrounds, many of which focused on grassroots communities including participants who have experienced racial, economic, structural oppression and other forms of discrimination. Her experience working in community development and advocacy through creative arts, media and working in non-hierarchical structures extend over 19 years. She is founder of INTISAAR, non-profit charitable organisation working to advocate, campaign and raise awareness about mental health. She is Co-founder of Sahra Guled Foundation based in Somali. She is currently studying a Master in Global Public Health and her interest is Mental health and well-being spaces which is cultural appropriate, and her current job is tackling Health Inequalities. The principles of Participatory Action Research have guided her work, and she believes in people’s ability to work together, learn through experience, reflect on those experiences, plant enough seeds to change the world for the better for everyone regardless of where one was born.
Jasber has several years of experience designing, delivering and evaluating participatory action research projects on social and environmental justice at the local, national and international level. Jasber is currently a researcher and lecturer at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, where he co-convenes a masters level module on participatory action research. Jasber’s current research focuses on the ways in which the right to food, food sovereignty and environmental actions engages with race/caste-gender and more broadly, the politics of difference. He is also a trustee for Race on the Agenda, a national NGO which tackles racism and promotes equality, and an advisor the The Rights Collective.
Before joining academia, Jasber worked as a youth worker, community-based researcher and as an advocate with environmental and social justice NGOs. Whilst working at race equality organisation in South London, he has used civil, legal, and restorative justice approaches to provide solidarity and support to people who experienced racist harassment and violence. He has also initiated actions against far-right activities, developed participatory action research with Black Minority and Ethnic communities, co-founded a refugee youth group in Woolwich South London, and challenged the hostile environment that migrants face by working in a team to establish a migrant rights advice project. In south India, working with two NGOs, he documented and challenged how racism/casteism undermined food, gender and land rights.
Jasber enjoys being in nature, cycling around London, reading novels and non-fiction, listening to music, and is procrastinating but persisting with learning to read and write in Punjabi!