[AJUDADA – YouTube video in Portuguese with English subtitles. To turn on subtitles, use the captions button, below centre right, while playing.]
I am going to AJUDADA, in Portalegre, Portugal, 14 – 16th June, 2013, with hopes it will be one of the most important events I’ve attended in many years. AJUDADA has the prospect of getting a critical mass of the population in Portalegre involved in a real beginning to a gift economy so that it makes a significant difference to their lives.
AJUDADA is an international gathering that will take place on the 14, 15 and 16 of June. Its participants will bring their visions and skills to Portalegre to plan viable solutions for development together with the local community. It will be an ‘international event, anchored in a local community.’ While not formally a Transition event, people from the Transition movement are central to its organisation.
I invite those of you who want a community-oriented, sustainable future to share news of it, support it, and maybe even come. If you can’t come, follow the Facebook page, and join the discussions. I am not one of the central organisers, but I have been helping, and I have a small part in the video, along with Charles Eisenstein.
The name, AJUDADA is an ancient Portuguese word used in rural areas of Portugal to describe a once common practice in which members of a community joined together to help one another in the different chores in the fields. It is being revived as an image of a ‘gift economy’ where everyone gives and everyone receives, as part of an ongoing community where people look after each other, in contrast to a market economy, where all are out for their own benefit. Anyone is able to give something to others and the expressions of that gift are as diverse as the people in a given community.
As many other towns in Portugal and all over the world, Portalegre is facing a severe economic and social crisis. On the one hand, the basic needs of many people are not being met and, on the other hand, those with the time and willingness to contribute to the community are not able to do it, including many people who are currently unemployed. No one is going to rescue Portalegre from the outside. But what is possible from the inside? Cast off by the global economic system, what might be possible locally? AJUDADA aims to catalyze the awakening of local sharing, local resiliency, and local creativity. If it is possible here, it is possible everywhere.
The video will give you a sense of the city of Portalegre, let you meet some of the organisers, and see some of their community meetings to plan the event. Here are some quotes from the video (with elapsed time) that will give you a sense of the event:
- “3 days to see the world with a new set of spectacles” Annalieke, (1:48)
- “The gift economy is people giving and receiving from each other, without money, in an organised fashion, with an ongoing relationship.” Gary, (2:55)
- “The critical thing is to get out of all sorts of mental traps, especially around money.” Gary, (3:50)
- “We live in difficult times, facing a system that does not work”, Filipa, (4:25)
- “A positive demonstration, powerful for its force of inspiration, that can spread afterwards.” Filipa (5:51)
- “An international event, anchored in a local community” Filipa (6:11)
- “Ajudada is an event where people are discovering their power… a new model for economic resilience, economic revival.” Charles (7:50)
- “A lot of international people are coming, not to help but to hold space for what is already there to blossom forth.” Charles, (8:22)
- “Trying to find solutions that would normally be satisfied with money.” Sonia, (12:08)
- “A feeling of belonging to a whole”, Sonia (14:22)
- “Who organises Ajudada? Includes a group of people from the Transition Initiative of Portalegre… but we can not say that it is a single person, or entity that is organising, it is all of us, the organisation has every day more people”. Annelieke, (15:31)
- “Ajudada is a transformation process that will make us all awake.” Gil, (16:36)
- “For the whole world!” Juan, (18:47)
Communications kit: http://www.ajudada.org/en/ajudada_kit_comunicacao_EN.pdf