When Minchenu Maduro enters the TEDxAmsterdamWomen stage ‘I Want to Break Free’ is playing. This is a prelude to her take on bridging the gap. Minchenu is a Dutch pedagogue, trainer, and motivational speaker. She offers workshops that focus on improving group dynamics. She is specialized in didactics, so she knows how to encourage others in their learning process – whether she’s working with a healthcare professional or a rebellious teenager. Or dangerous inmates.
Minchenu believes we are all behind bars. Some are literal and some are figurative. We all have different problems. Whether it’s heath issues or loneliness. “I believe that everyone should be able to take part in society.”
Minchenu is fascinated with the most extreme examples of exclusion. She helps the TOP600, men found guilty of high impact crimes, to reintegrate them and to help them function when they are released. Her focus is on personal development. “Research has shown that fewer inmates reoffend when you invest in their soft skills, such as empathy, trust, and motivation.”
Minchenu explains that she believes when you seriously harm another person, that you have lost touch with your humanity. “To get it back, you need real meaningful contact with humans.”
We all have our limitations. How can we look through these bars? “I believe, and that’s why there is a lot of hope, we are all like diamonds. Only another diamond can sharpen a diamond.” When you are able to really make a connection with another person, really see them and feel seen. That’s when you break through bars. “That is a true prison break.”