IIMA’s contribution to the Publication: “EDUCATION AS A DRIVER TO INTEGRAL GROWTH AND PEACE – Ethical Reflection on the Right to Education”

The publication Education as a Driver to Integral Growth and Peace was presented by the Holy See together with the Caritas in Veritate Foundation during a side event held on November 19, 2019, in the Palais des Nations, Geneva on the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the Conventions on the Rights of the Child.

Intended as an opportunity to reflect on quality education at the global level, the publication aims to share good practices in educational settings to face the challenges of the contemporary world, integrating an ethical perspective with the right to education and giving a voice to the thousands of Catholics committed to achieving inclusive and quality education.

The work has within it the contribution of the International Institute of Mary Help of Christians (IIMA) with six articles from case studies:

Patio 13″ My Book of Life, Copacabana, Colombia. By Sr. Sara Cecilia Sierra Jaramillo together with Dr. Hartwig Weber

The first article deals with the Patio 13 Project: My Book of Life, aimed at helping single mothers from the most disadvantaged strata of society.

The project participants, both pregnant and single mothers, are invited to create a personal and intimate biography of their lives, describing their current situation, their city, their feelings. During the preparation phase, the girls are supported by the students of the Maria Ausiliatrice Scuola Normale Superiore. The project is structured in four modules: “Who am I?”, “I will be a mother,” “My life project,” “Change is Possible.”

During these four phases, the girls manage to overcome the difficulties of their lives above all because reflecting on these issues and writing a biography forces them to think about the future and helps them to define their existence by giving it a deeper meaning. The students involved in the project acquire elements of pedagogy, ethnography, medicine, psychology and sociology. The knowledge of the phenomenon of social marginalization deepens their awareness of this type of problem and contributes to their formation.

Theater as a means of dialogue, Tuol Kork, Cambodia

In Cambodia, the dialogue between parents and children is almost absent due to historical and cultural issues. The common belief is that parents, due to their greater experience, are wiser and can decide for the future of their children. This dynamic is very evident in arranged marriages in which young people after marriage often end up “running away” with the person they really love, thus abandoning the family roof. The Salesian School of Tuol Kork has thus decided to use the theater to try to open a window of dialogue between parents and children by staging shows by which they can show the pros and cons of the Cambodian social model. The ending is left open, trying not to make final judgments about the situations put on to allow for intergenerational dialogue.

Good practice in primary education: Therapeutic pedagogy and teacher training, Centro de Enseñanza Superior en Humanidades Ciencias de la Educación (CES), Don Bosco, Spain. By Sr. Ma. José Arenal Jorquera with Ana Horcajo Castillo

The article deals with the training of future teachers responsible for children with disabilities or special needs, to aim for quality education for the integral development of the person. During the project, students who want to become teachers of therapeutic pedagogy, participate in the project “Become Teachers for a Day” to get in touch with people with disabilities and work on their flexibility and empathy.  Throughout the process, disabled children are considered important members of society who become teachers and protagonists of change to build a better society. Children with disabilities, therefore, become teachers and help therapeutic pedagogy students to approach the role that the teacher should have in that context.

How Catholic education and Salesian spirituality have enabled women to escape poverty and achieve their dreams, Philippines. By Sr. Teresita C. Padron  

Female students come from families with a difficult economic situation and aspire to a better life with the help of appropriate education. Their goal is to complete their education and succeed in the world of work so that they can support their families. To this end, innovative measures have been used, including the Dual Training System, a system of internships, which prepares students for the world of work. During the training period, which can last from 5 to 10 months, the trainees receive a daily allowance equal to 75% of the minimum wage. Between 90% and 100% of the beneficiaries of the program are then hired by the companies once the internship has been completed, in some cases even before the graduation. To meet the needs of female students, the Study now – Pay later method has also been adapted so that they can pay only a minimum of the fee established during the period of study and finish paying their studies once they have been hired. from companies.

The advantages of inclusive education: Sneha Bhavan (House of love), India. By  Shaji Fernandez and Sr. Veronica Pukho

The school only accepts vulnerable children from specific backgrounds (drug-addicted mothers, HIV-infected parents, abandoned or orphaned children, working children or street children). For its students, Sneha Bhavan creates an exceptional environment that is supportive and stimulating so that they can acquire the skills to integrate into society. Children do not learn in seclusion but find themselves free to interact and grow together with other members of society. Thanks to this alternative educational method, it has been possible to contain the high drop-out rate, especially among children belonging to the most disadvantaged classes in India.

Lerato Education Center, South Africa. By Sr. Helen Hartnett

The Lerato Education Center, in South Africa, aims to provide support for children from slums, who due to poverty and lack of documents, fail to find a place in state schools. The center welcomes more than 500 children from 3 to 11 years old, offering them the necessary education and two meals a day, breakfast and lunch. In addition to pre-school education and primary education, the center also offers after-school activities during which children can continue to use school equipment or play soccer on school premises, as well as take advantage of the library and computer room.

The project also provides support guaranteeing medical visits and advisory offices for HIV/AIDS.

Entirely financed through private contributions, the center is strongly supported by the leadership of the Salesian Sisters who have committed themselves to support it over the past 20 years.

The final objective of the publication “Education As A Driver To Integral Growth And Peace” is to demonstrate, from the perspective of the Church’s long experience in education, that to maximize the contribution of education it is necessary to create more opportunities throughout the world, especially in conflict situations and for people living on the margins of society. Education is not only a catalyst for humanity and sustainable development, but it is also an effective means of promoting global peace and preventing many crisis situations.


Please, find the publication here: “Education as a Driver to Integral Growth and Peace”