Mano a Mano Presenting at 2016 International Social Work Conference at Augsburg College

On May 5-6, 2016, Augsburg College is hosting an International Social Work Conference; this year’s theme is “Global Social Work Communities: Emerging Challenges, Interwoven Solutions.” The conference is intended to be an international exchange of social work practice throughout the world.

Mano a Mano co-founder Joan Velasquez will be presenting at the conference on Friday, May 6th along with Marilyn E. Vigil. Their session title is How Social Work Principles Inform Grassroots Community Development in Bolivia: a Case Study from Mano a Mano International Partners.

Learn more about the conference on the Augsburg College website.

Social Work and Mano a Mano’s Partnership Model

“The social work profession’s values and principles permeate and shape every aspect of Mano a Mano’s mission, development, and growth.” (Velasquez, Joan. Gaining Ground: A Blueprint to Community-Based International Development. Edina, MN: Beaver’s Pond Press, 2014. 22). Joan Velasquez received her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota School of Social Work in 1979 and was Ramsey County Human Services’ first director of research before starting Mano a Mano in 1994 with her husband Segundo Velasquez in 1994. Mano a Mano’s partnership-based model has been heavily shaped by social work from the start.

Gaining Ground: A Blueprint for Community-Based International Development

Mano a Mano published a book in 2014. We wrote this book because, over our 20+ years in existence, we have been approached by many people asking for advice on how they could start similar programs in other countries throughout the world. While we would never argue that everything we have done in Bolivia is replicable in any other country or situation, we feel that many of our core principles and philosophies illustrated in the book will be beneficial information for aspiring philanthropists; staff in government, nonprofit, and development organizations; people who donate or volunteer internationally; and people interested in global issues.

Gaining Ground is a chance for Mano a Mano to explain our partnership model that emphasizes participation and direct management from the communities themselves, which we feel is not as prevalent for many nonprofits or development organizations as it should be. Gaining Ground is a chance to share our model – heavily rooted in social work principles – with more people and also to raise funds for our projects. All proceeds from the book go directly to Mano a Mano.

You can purchase Gaining Ground here.

Joan and Segundo at the Midwest Book Awards in May 2015, with the Mano a Mano book Gaining Ground.

Joan and Segundo at the Midwest Book Awards in May 2015, with the Mano a Mano book Gaining Ground.

La Familia: An International Love Story Book Release on April 23rd, 2016

Coincidentally, a second book about Mano a Mano’s co-founders Joan and Segundo Velasquez is now complete! The official book release will take place at Mano a Mano’s Back to our Roots event on April 23rd, 2016 with Joan Velasquez and La Familia author Mary Martin (also a Ph.D. in Social Work).

Buy Tickets for the Book Release Event Here

Buy tickets for the book release event here. ($15 per ticket. The book release event is from 4.30-5.30p – right before our Back To Our Roots Festival Bolivia event – on Saturday, April 23rd at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center, MN. Tickets for the main event are $85 and can be purchased along with book release tickets or separately.)

La Familia: An International Love Story

La Familia: An International Love Story

From the Back Cover:

“One day in the fall of 1967, Segundo Velásquez watched a tiny, fair-skinned young woman struggle to carry a tin bucket, full of water, down a dirt road on the outskirts of Cochabamba, Bolivia. Like any other well-mannered young man, he caught up with the petite Minnesotan and, though she was a stranger, took her heavy bucket.

Segundo’s brief encounter with Joan Swanson White was the start of a deep and lasting connection, a chance meeting that grew into a complex, shared struggle to bring U.S. resources to bear on the profound needs of rural Bolivia.

In La Familia: An International Love Story, Mary Martin (above taking notes in Bolivia) provides a moving account of childhood challenges, intercultural pitfalls, and the ultimate creation of grassroots international partnership—Mano a Mano—at its best.

All proceeds from the sale of this book go directly to Mano a Mano.”

La Familia, back cover.

La Familia, back cover.