#FromTheField: Rocío, experiences and stories “off the field”

Rocío Requena, Financial Manager of the Social Change School,  tells us about her past professional experience and her work on the field today:

I have indirectly witnessed over the years, from my “position” at the Social Change School, a lot of fascinating stories, written by our operators, former students, lecturers and colleagues, who abroad have gone through, very intense experiences, sometimes shocking, these individuals have significantly contributed,  to the life of people and communities where they operated.

Before my commitment to the Social Change School, I worked for many years as a lawyer. In order to tell my story, I would like  you to exercise your imagination with me, by enlarging the idea of “field”.  I would like you to accept that a “field” can also be behind the desk of a study, in front of a computer or in the streets of every European country, where for example we provide advice and legal assistance to people without homes, immigrants without proper documents, women who are violence victims, not just physical abuse. I saw an alarming number of people in need of legal protection but without the economic and cultural means to have it.

In my previous professional career, I meet creepy number of mothers in difficult situations. For the sake of narrating a situaton of an important example, we use a figurative name Marta. This woman jealously hid her situation,  and just came in“just for a suggestion” without informing anyone. She repeatedly returned and with bruises too. It took a while to convince her that there were various tools of protections that existed and that they were at her service.

She was so scared! Above all, to see her husband given exclusive custody of her children, as he threatened her many times. To unlock the situation, was the 7 years old daughter who one day asked her with an angry face “Mum, why are you not doing anything??!!”. After that she found the courage to go on and we started. It was not easy, stories like this are never, but we made it: today Marta is a free woman and she is no more scared. Personally, this story is one with a difference unlike the others.

I tried to manage the situations for a while, but soon faced reality: there were always more cases, usually without financial resources  and aid,  then I had to leave. Their weight of suffering and need of help was much bigger than I could handle.  The free patronage should have helped in addressing the situations with the most obvious solution. However, during my years of service as a lawyer, I came to terms with the fact that one cannot trust and rely on help, coming from the government. 

It was during that period of my search, I had the opportunity to discover different Associations who were dedicated to protecting not just legal but also the providing support for the people who needed it. I could observe the importance of training and professionalism that the staff  have in the NGOs . Emphasises solely were  placed on making a difference. At that point, my world changed. 

Today my ‘field’ is in the financial office of the School. My commitment is dual, keeping the accounts under control (which has always been a real battle) and to facilitate evry  student’s career path.

 I still contribute my quota from behind a desk-  by propelling the professional careers of many amazing people, who work  ‘on the field’ and tell us about their fantastic experiences.

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