Posted On 2016-05-21 In Projects

Students reaching out: developing real solutions for real problems

URUGUAY, by Matías Cerviño •

Students of Pope Francis Providencia Institute participate in the Scholas Ocurrentes program motivated by the Pope.

In April, a group of students from the Providencia Institute began to participate in the Citizenship program of the international Scholas Ocurrentes Foundation motivated by Pope Francis to promote changes in education through the experience of cultural encounter, promoting an integrated and peaceful world. “In particular, this program seeks to foster citizen commitment and the participation of youths departing from the concrete problem of food. To look from the perspective of adolescents at the problem and from there to generate an impact on society,” commented Damián Restuccia, the psychologist of the Institute and the person responsible for accompanying the youths in this project.

The program foresees that the students will work jointly with youths from Spain, Mexico, Italy, Haiti and Paraguay. “We hold video conferences to communicate, we exchange ideas, we listen to what is happening in other countries, we are enriched by the ideas of the others,” commented Brian, a 3rd year student of the Institute. “Currently we are investigating Uruguayan legislation concerning food. We discover what the food problems in our country are in order to set up a proposal that can change the direction, and that it will even reach parliament,” commented Karen and Sebastián, also 3rd years of the Institute. “We are going to become famous!” Brian added.


Working globally, working together from the perspective of youths

The idea of the program is to jointly carry out a project with educational centers from the world’s different countries, and to seek solutions for the global food problem from the gaze of adolescents. The youths already passed through the first stage of knowing the subject and formulating a hypothesis, and at this time, they are investigating and generating resources. “Presently we are working hand in hand with a school in Spain, seeking and sharing information about the subject. The next stage is to go out to the streets and encounter real problems in order to then set up a project that responds to those problems,” commented Damián. At the end of this process, everyone’s reflections will be placed in common with all the educational centers that are working together, and a project as how to approach the subject will be set up. “The final step is for each group to present the project at the their country’s governing bodies,” Damián added.

Through this project, they will work on several transversal competencies in addition to the food problem: participation, self-esteem, responsibility, and playing the protagonist role in society. “Posing these subjects to the youths helps them to open up the view, to ask themselves about their own vocation, about who they want to be in the future…” Damián commented.

Through this project, the youths are participating in Pope Francis’ vision of the Church that reaches out to encounter reality and that commits to building up society.


Joining Providencia is easy

Providencia constantly seeks new ways to sustain this educational project that offers educational opportunities to children and youths in one of the most vulnerable neighborhoods of Montevideo. Today we want to invite the International Schoenstatt Family to collaborate in a very simple way, by paying attention. Providencia forms a part of a new platform for fundraising that recognizes that when a brand invests in publicity, it pays for the public’s attention as to who sees their commercial. Thus it is the public that is generating value and who should decide how this money is applied.

To collaborate with Providencia, enter the Projects of Humanity website (, choose one of the brands that you want to see on a video, and for every ten seconds of viewing it, donate $.01 to Providence. Those who wish to can register and continue to donate more.



Original: Spanish. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA – Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA

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