Retreat Spotlight: Damayan

Retreat Spotlight: Damayan

Damayan is an organization that works to empower migrant workers – including trafficking survivors –  to fight for their labor, health, gender, and other human rights. Laboring long hours under harsh conditions and often without recourse, migrant workers – including essential workers constitute much of the workforce for the service sector in New York City and surrounding areas. Some of these workers have been brought into their jobs by labor trafficking, which entails some form of force, fraud, or coercion, and are not free in their life or work.  The pandemic further aggravated the vulnerable position of many migrant workers, who were heavily exposed and drastically under-protected and unsupported during the public health crisis, posing significant challenges to those who were trying to organize burnout and a range of mental health challenges.

Damayan’s retreat at The Uplands served as the culmination of an evaluation of a leadership development program, where preliminary conclusions were shared and validated by a cross-section of the organization’s Board, staff and worker leaders. It was also a space to plan for the remainder of 2023, as well as to deepen team-building and political education amongst members of the staff, board and worker leaders.

Once the group arrived and settled in, they explored the land and became oriented to the space. A dinner inspired by Filipino cuisine was followed by a welcome and introductions, before participants enjoyed a sound bath and a night’s sleep. 

The following day began with a short yoga/stretching class and breakfast. The day’s work commenced with a team-building activity followed by a workshop on the socioeconomic situation in the United States and New York City and the conditions facing low-wage and migrant workers. The remainder of the day was dedicated to participants sharing their personal migration stories, which were concluded with an Uplands-led self-regulation and visualization practice. A guest speaker from The Philippines joined the group in the evening over zoom to discuss the conditions facing workers in that country and opportunities to prevent forced migration and promote social justice. The evening was capped with a round of karaoke utilizing a new sound-system installed in the yoga studio.

The final day began with a guided Wellness Walk, followed by planning for the remainder of 2023 and beyond. The Damayan team departed having accomplished an impressive program which grounded them in a well-informed analysis of the situations where they are working, a sense of how their own lived experiences connect with the organization’s mission and a map to advance the work going forward. The Uplands was honored to host such a committed, insightful and courageous group, and celebrates their work to uplift the dignity of some of New York’s most critical, and under-recognized, workers.

SHARE THIS POST

More like this

Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss, is a New Jersey based nonprofit that offers free grief support for children,…

SHARE THIS POST

We capped out our 2023 season with a retreat of The Leadership Alliance with their first cohort of non-profit executives…

SHARE THIS POST

In the past year, The Uplands has been privileged to host and support a diverse set of changemakers: grantmakers promoting…

SHARE THIS POST

© 2024 THE UPLANDS CENTER, A NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANIZATION | PRIVACY POLICY

Website designed and developed by BCS Interactive