Reconnecting with the team in the Portuguese countryside

Every remote team understands the value of coming together in person to strengthen the bonds that form the backbone of their collective work. For me, as one of the newest members of the Systemic Justice team, our retreat last month in October was a special one. 

It was the first time I met most of my colleagues in person, and was surprised to learn that many of them were a lot taller than I had expected! It was like reuniting with old friends, even though we had never met in person before.

Our retreat in the picturesque countryside of Portugal was not just an opportunity to reconnect but also a time to reflect, learn, and grow as a team. Our founder Nani, in her recent blog post, discussed the importance of centring people, joy, and growth in how we work. Our retreat in Portugal was built upon these foundations.

The communications team, which I’m a part of, led workshops to help reflect how our team’s work relates to the rest of the NGO. These discussions helped everyone explore the work we do in our own words and highlighted the importance of each team’s contributions to achieving our collective goals.

We also had sessions to collectively explore the foundational values on which Systemic Justice is built, discussed whether our organisational culture is reflecting them, and strategised how we can ensure that happens.

We had time for both group and one-on-one socialising, allowing us to create deeper connections. We had a wine tasting, dinner in the charming seaside town, plenty of game nights, and even a chill yoga class led by Leni, our Head of Communications – something for everyone!

Some of us tapped into our creative sides with watercolour painting and took time to make cards for each other, demonstrating appreciation and gratitude for the unique qualities each member brings to our team.

Here are some beautiful creations by Mariam Rechchad, our Legal Projects Coordinator:

As we returned to our remote workspaces across Europe, the experiences we shared in Portugal continued to unite us, reminding us that we are not just colleagues but a close-knit community fighting against injustice.

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