PARAGUAY, Maria Fischer with material from the bulletin of Fundación en Alianza •
It is a work of mercy: Instruct the ignorant. In the catechesis of the general audience on 23 November, the first one after the closing of the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis said:
“How many children suffer from lack of education? It is a condition of grave injustice which undermines the very dignity of the person. Without education, one easily falls prey to exploitation and various social disadvantages.
The Church, over the course of centuries, has felt the need to be committed to the area of education, since her mission of evangelization carries with it the responsibility of restoring dignity to the poorest. From the first instance of a “school” founded here in Rome in the second century by Saint Justin — so that Christians might better know Sacred Scripture — to Saint Joseph Calasanctius — who opened the first public schools in Europe that offered free education —, we have a long list of saints who, in various eras, brought education to the most disadvantaged, knowing that through this path they would be able to overcome poverty and discrimination. How many Christians, lay people, consecrated brothers and sisters, priests have given their own lives to teaching, to the education of children and young people. This is great: I invite you to give them a big round of applause! [The faithful applaud.] These pioneers in education fully understood this work of mercy, and created a way of life in order to transform society itself. With ordinary work and few facilities, they were able to restore dignity to many people! And the education that they gave was often also work-oriented. Let us think about Saint John Bosco, who prepared young boys from the street to work, with the oratory and then with schools, offices. From this arose many different professional schools, which enabled them to work while being educated in human and Christian values. Education, therefore, is truly a unique form of evangelization.” (Pope Francis, General Audience, Paul VI Hall, 23 November 2016).
A project of synergy
“To instruct the ignorant. That is, those who are uniformed. The word ignorant is too strong, but it means teaching those who do not know something,” just as Pope Francis explained it, is the mission of two projects that were born in Paraguay, from the creative force of the Covenant of Love: Fundación en Alianza, dedicated to the production of high quality school books and training for teachers, and Dequeni, dedicated to providing an education and work training for children from families with limited resources.
Fundación en Alianza and Dequeni held the Closing of Year 1 of the Porâve Project with a presentation of certificates to forty teachers and directors of Arroyos y Esteros’ six public schools, who work daily with 703 students in Early Education, First and Second Cycle of Basic School Education.
Porâve is a Fundación en Alianza project involving socio-educational intervention, which was born for the purpose of improving the quality of education in reading and writing, making comprehensive training and monitoring teachers and directors a priority. This year, the teachers participated in eight workshops where they reflected on their educational practices, and they shared strategies to promote reading writing and critical thinking in the classroom. The directors had seven training workshops in leadership and educational development. Moreover, educational textbooks and materials were given to the teachers and students.
In 2016, Fundación en Alianza worked with ACEs (Cooperative School Association) and the children’s committees in the different schools. Thus, an articulate work with the active participation of the entire educational community is proposed.
The event was held in the Arroyos y Esteros City Hall, with the mayor’s presence, the Administrative Supervisor of the District Cordillera and the Pedagogical Supervisor of the area, as well as parents representing the ACEs and young students.
Original: Spanish. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA