Interview with Ana Ruíz from Acción Familiar (May 2015)
Today, we have Ana Ruíz from Acción Familiar with us.
Hi Ana, thanks for coming in today. If it’s OK with you, we’ll get straight to the questions.
What exactly does Acción Familiar do?
We are a national, non-profit, non-governmental organisation of public interest and we deal with families using two lines of action:
- Direct action: training programs, counselling and volunteering services
- Research and study
I wanted to ask how you educate people. What exactly do you advise them on?
Well, there are various aspects, one of them being parental education.
We have a variety of programs for all the different stages of parenting. The first is for educating families as a whole, and later we work on improving general family life and leisure time.
In other words, there are multiple branches of the same subject. Firstly, parents are given a set of guidelines on how to raise their children, then people are free to ask questions, and depending on what they’re interested in and the parents’ profile… It can go one way or another.
It also depends a lot on their ages. For example, parents with teenagers talk a lot about drugs, how to stop their children from using them, things like that.
And what do they usually ask you?
Well, I haven’t personally been on the courses, but we often get difficult situations like “my son comes home and is really on edge, I’ve noticed a change in him” or “what can I do to stop my five-year-old daughter from misbehaving?” Things like that, guidelines that the parents can follow.
How long have you been with Acción Familiar and what is your favourite part of the job?
I will have been there 11 years in November. My favourite part is working as part of a team and knowing that we are helping people.
So what is your daily routine like? Tell us a little about it.
Well, first of all, I’m heavily involved in administration, whether it’s accounting, managing grants or auditing (which we are doing now, to help out the auditors); I do some HR work and hiring management, and help out with contracting.
What else…? I am in charge of justifying grants, the whole money side of things, and accountability to the Ministry and managing bodies. I also deal with partners, issuing their receipts, data protection…
Wow! How do you have time for all that?
You know what it’s like – we’re a small organisation, so at the end of the day, the admin department takes care of everything. I’m also in charge of the website.
Of course! I was going to ask you about that. And the translations, too?
Yes, the website is really simple. A close friend of mine who works in IT made it for us. If I ever have any questions, I ask him, but generally it’s really easy to manage. So we publish news and other content, and I usually do that.
Your job is pretty full-on, I bet you don’t get bored!
No, I really don’t!
What do you think your work or that of Acción Familiar has changed within society?
Lots of families come to us looking for legal guidance, family or psychological counselling and we see how this helps them overcome their problems.
You must work with people from other countries. Could you tell us about one time that you have come up against a language barrier?
We offer family training courses, some of which we’ve carried out in partnership with migrants’ associations. When it comes to filling out the evaluation questionnaires, the supervisors really struggle to explain to participants what they have to write.
We put on these workshops, which like I said earlier, are adapted to each participant’s individual profile. For example, we gave some on behalf of a migrants’ association called APLA. It was mostly young mothers who came along with their children or babies, and they had to breastfeed while the supervisor was trying to deliver the workshop!
Because their first language isn’t Spanish, sometimes they don’t fully understand what’s going on! So when we give them the satisfaction surveys, they don’t have a clue what to write.
So, the people from the centre itself, who are really nice, help to translate what they can of the questionnaires, but obviously… Sometimes the participants’ answers don’t make sense or they don’t know what to write. That’s the hardest part.
Of course. Do you remember how you found out about PerMondo?
We have been working together for years, but I think someone recommended you to us originally.
What would you say to the volunteer translators?
We are really thankful to them for the work that they do. It really helps us to promote our activities and projects and it’s because of their work that we can reach out to more people.
And finally, about the translations you’ve requested for your reports. What do you need them for exactly? Do you have to provide them in different languages? Or what do you do with them?
We usually put them on our website, but this year, we’re going to hold a breakfast and we’ve invited a number of journalists to promote the report. So, because we don’t know if there’s going to be international press there who may want to raise awareness on our activities, we want to be prepared. And, if we manage to get our message out there, that would great.
Apart from that, we’ve seen on Google Analytics (which lets us see where our page hits come from) that we get a lot of visitors from the USA, UK and other countries, so for that reason too, obviously.
The web page has not been translated, but the activity report has. That way, people can see what we do.
Very interesting. Well, if you need to translate the website at some point, we would be happy to help!
Perfect, thank you!
We could even do it in sections. If there are more important parts, explaining your activities, for example, we can get started on translating them. If there’s no rush, and if you have time one day, you can send me the texts in Word, I’ll have a look at them for you and we’ll get going from there. Then, you’ll have the website in English and it will reach more people.
That’s a great idea, thank you! I’ll speak to my bosses and I’m sure they’ll be over the moon…
Well Ana, thank you for your time!
And you, too!
Translation by: Joseph Barrett