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“I feel empowered!”: Empowerment Workshop in Korea

By Jungjoo Park Gang 

Empowerment Workshop was held on April 24-25. It was a two-day workshop, lasting 17 hours.

In total, 17 people including 2 facilitators(Ddalgi and Jungjoo) participated in this Empowerment Workshop. The participants from Gwang-ju, Pyeong-taek, Gun-san and Ick-san are peace and justice activists, facilitators for human rights and peace education, and one laid off worker of a big automobile company in Korea. For many of us, it is still quite challenging to notice and release emotions in our body. In our society, we are trained to hide our feelings and not to show our vulnerability to others. So, making sounds and moving our body to discharge emotions is not easy at all. But after trying to do it, people felt lighter and different. They appreciated the skills.

Also, some participants were kind of perplexed that we try to tell stories of violence to others on the first day of workshop. Again, after we all finished sharing one event of experiencing violence in our life, we all felt less controlled by the stories of violence. Actually, it is normal for us to face violence directly and indirectly in our daily life although it is unfortunate and unnecessary. What if we can be prepared to face a story of violence with confidence and skills such as a storytelling guide? This time many participants really appreciated the skill and the Storytelling Guide. They said they could get out from the past pain when they intentionally spoke the sentences and realize that it was over at the time. It helps them feel like they are not there anymore and present in this time and place. On the 2nd day, all of the activities also went well. These are the reflections and feedback from the participants. I would like to share them with you all. Learning brings us together and helps us build a community and imagine cultures of peace is possible.

  • I was not forced to answer.
  • I could expand my mind as I listened to others.
  • Games brought me a lot of fun.
  • It was a time for me to think about myself.
  • I did not feel any tension or pressure. Instead, I felt very relaxed.
  • It was good for me to have time to journal rather than just keep sharing.
  • It is good to learn how to respect myself and others, and then try to build a community with cooperation.
  • And in the course of this, I discovered myself and gained strength to be able to cooperate.
  • It was good to have both moments to share reflection and also journal.
  • It was good to have hand writing posters surrounding us.
  • I really appreciate the title of this workshops has a Korean name. It is easy! The names of other peace training have english name.
  • I realized a change for a better and positive thing even in hard times can happen as if there is nothing useless in the world. Every time I was thinking about this during the workshop. And I also could feel safe enough maybe because of the role, good companion. Lastly it was really good nobody felt excluded all the time.
  • Feeling safe in this time and place was such a good experience.
  • The activities seem challenging but they show us very simple and clear guides.
  • Sharing the materials(handout for participant) prior to the workshop.
  • I learned peace in the ways of facilitating.
  • The food is really good!
  • The atmosphere that the participants created together was warm and open.
  • Sharing each other’s ideas on each Transforming Power Guide is impressive.
  • I learned how to listen to others and felt I improved my ability of empathy, and also it was good to know everyone has TP in each of us.
  • Sharing each other’s experience was good.
  • Feeling relaxed. It was good to have a time to journal after we are done with an activity.
  • It was good to practice discharging emotions with people that I know little. It was impressive all participants really concentrated on it.
  • I hope many people could join this training. I also think about violence in our daily life.
  • That was then, it is now. It was a time for me to focus on myself, my life and relationship in present time.
  • I feel thankful to learn that how the words and actions of myself and others affect my life.