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Kapwa Practice: Connecting through exchange

Pillars of Our Shared Work #11

In August, we had the first of a two-part pillars section focusing on the Work Exchange program at Six Degrees. This month we are pleased to have Jo SiMalaya Alcampo, our new Work Exchange and Office Coordinator, to be a guest author.

Kapwa Practice: Connecting through exchange

Contributor: Jo SiMalaya Alcampo

My heartfelt greetings to the Six Degrees Community!

Thank you for welcoming me as the new Work Exchange Program Coordinator. I look forward to learning and sharing about the pillars of our shared work.

My community work has informed my understanding of the transformative and healing power of collectively shared work.

I offer a teaching from Filipinx Liberation Psychology that I have learned through my work with the Kapwa Collective - a mutual support group of Filipinx-Canadian artists, critical thinkers, and healers. Our way of being in the world is centred on the core value of “kapwa”.

Virgilio G. Enriquez, the founder of Sikolohiyang Pilipino (indigenous based Filipino Psychology) proposed a concept of personhood centered on this core value.

Kapwa is a Tagalog term widely used when addressing another with the intention of establishing a connection. It reflects a viewpoint that beholds the essential humanity recognizable in everyone, therefore linking (including) people rather than separating (excluding) them from each other.1

At Six Degrees, I have witnessed work exchange participants welcoming clients with kindness and compassion, constructing shelves with perseverance and impressive problem solving skills, folding sheets with fond memories of family, and refilling water holders with healing intent. These are just a few of the actions that create a “reciprocal being between self and other” that I believe is as a form of kapwa practice. 2

I am honoured to be part of this team who share their energy, skills, and healing presence. Their commitment to making a connection with others and expanding this energy to the community is what makes our Work Exchange Program one of the strongest pillars of our shared work at Six Degrees.

In the spirit of engaged economics, work exchange participants receive a one-hour community acupuncture treatment in exchange for a weekly four-hour work shift.

Check out our website to learn more about our Work Exchange Program!

Sources: 1 Guia, Katrin De. Kapwa: The Self in the Other: Worldviews and Lifestyles of Filipino Culture-bearers. Pasig City, Philippines: Published and Exclusively Distributed by Anvil Pub., 2005. Print.

2 Mendoza, S. Lily, and Jim Perkinson. "Filipino “Kapwa” in Global Dialogue:A Different Politics of Being-With the “Other”." Intercultural Communication Studies: Asian Approaches to Human Communication XII.4 (2003): Abstract. Web. 28 Sept. 2016.

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