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.