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Writing a letter

Writing to reveal and value one’s path of commitment or emancipation

Writing a letter : a simple yet powerful technique for to take a step back from an experience. You can use it at different times :

Objectives and meaning of the approach :
Whatever the moment, the objective is to take a step back :
 Before an experience : this can be a letter to yourself, to note down your feelings at the time, which you can take out when you want,
 During an experience : this can be a letter to yourself or to share about the stage you are going through,
 After an experience : this can be a letter to yourself or to be shared to re-read the experience, measure the path you have taken, evaluate what has changed in you (your motivations, your questions, your critical sense, your perceptions, etc.) and pass on to others.

"Taking the time to express our feelings, to put into words the perceived changes in our own journey is a powerful moment. It requires us to look back, to take the time to remember where we started, who we were before we started and to be aware of the changes we have experienced along the way. "Marie - Volunteer

Simple procedure :
 You can organise a writing workshop with a group. In this case, a pre-writing reflection can be conducted with the group in order to highlight certain key and common elements of a journey of emancipation or commitment (e.g. : each person shares 3 elements, which strengthened my will to commit myself and act, which allowed me to better understand inequalities and relationships of domination, which made me think about the meaning of our actions).

 The writing workshop can also be conducted individually, without the need to confront the experiences of others.

The principle is simple : write a letter to yourself or to an external person concerned and/or interested in your experience.

For example, as part of the support provided to FDH international solidarity volunteers, a distance writing workshop was organised. The instructions were : "Write a letter to an FDH member to explain how your volunteering has influenced your life trajectory ? "

The letter must be written in a limited time (24 hours or 1 hour if the workshop is in person) so as not to seek perfection but to stay on the first feelings. We express what we feel at a given moment, the moment of writing the letter. Writing 1 page is largely sufficient. No ambition or competition in this exercise.

For people who are not at ease with reading or writing, there are very accessible solutions :
 Set up a tutorial where a person who knows how to write will organise an interview and put the words of the interviewee on paper.
 Record the words of the person being interviewed on a tape and turn the letter into an oral speech.

"It is a less technical way of looking back on experience than writing a report, completing an evaluation or looking back on new technical skills or new skills developed. It is a very personal process, where we talk more about our motivations, our perception of the world around us, our awareness, our commitment. "Marie.

Examples of valorisation :
 They can be published (or podcast) or read in public at a feedback/closing event.
 You can also promote these letters to new learners who may wish to follow a similar approach (as a teaching tool during a training course).
 In the course of a course, between two phases or even in a period of demotivation, this can also help to restore confidence and thus give a new impetus.