Archivos para 29 diciembre 2010

Haití: la fuerza de la esperanza


Desde hace varios años, los titulares de los medios de comunicación han tenido como centro  los desastres en Haití: los ciclones en 2004 y 2006, un terremoto en enero de 2010, seguido de una pandemia de cólera. El costo humano ha sido impresionante: alrededor de 250 000 muertes, cientos de miles de heridos y mutilados, más de 1 300 000 personas sin hogar.

Como de costumbre, los más débiles y los más pobres son las principales víctimas. Y en especial los niños y los jóvenes: más de 75 000 de ellos murieron en el terremoto, decenas de miles han perdido sus escuelas, sus casas e incluso sus familias.

Por supuesto, la comunidad internacional se ha esforzado en ayudar. A veces en el desorden y, a menudo de manera transitoria. Hablamos  cada vez menos y menos de Haití en los medios de comunicación, muchos gobiernos se olvidaron de sus promesas y 1 300 000 personas siguen viviendo en tiendas de campaña. El proceso de reconstrucción es muy lento …

Sin embargo, no se debe pensar en Haití como un país  desfavorecidos, privados de recursos y lleno de dificultades. El pueblo haitiano tiene una gran riqueza cultural. No hay que olvidar que es un pueblo que se liberó solo de la esclavitud en el siglo XIX independizándose del yugo de los colonos franceses al lograr vencer al ejército de Napoleón. Un episodio que los niños franceses, lamentablemente, no aprenden en la escuela. Haití fue la primera república independiente negra. Haití es un país sólo de agricultores, sino también un país de artistas, pintores, músicos, poetas y escritores. Pocos son los pueblos que han reaccionado con tanto coraje y energía después de una sucesión de desastres.

Esta vitalidad cultural y asociativa permitió, entre otros, la aparición de una asociación scout nacional, que es sin duda una de las mejores y  más dinámicas en América Latina con 40.000 miembros, establecida en todo el país y que goza de un gran respeto de la población,  porque los Scouts fueron los primeros en rescatar a las víctimas de los recientes desastres naturales. Están presentes en todas partes, bien organizados y siempre dispuesto a ayudar.

Desde febrero de 2010, pasé tres meses en Haití. En primer lugar, mi misión era ayudar a los Scouts en el diseño de un plan de cinco años para satisfacer las necesidades de los niños y jóvenes afectados por el terremoto. Este plan, financiado por una campaña de solidaridad dirigida por los Scouts y Guías de Francia y otras asociaciones Scouts en el mundo (España, Bélgica, Canadá, etc), consta de cinco objetivos principales:

  • Contribuir a mejorar las condiciones de vida de las víctimas, en particular proteger a niños y jóvenes  y la proposición de programas de educación no formal para aquellos que viven en campamentos para personas desplazadas;
  • Participar en el desarrollo de un sistema nacional de protección civil mediante la creación de un grupo de trabajadores de primeros auxilios, en todos los distritos, especialmente entrenados y equipados para intervenir en caso de desastres naturales;
  • Contribuir a enfrentar la pobreza, la exclusión social y prevenir el éxodo rural de los jóvenes mediante el desarrollo de un programa de integración social y profesional, especialmente dirigidos a los jóvenes afectados por el terremoto a través de una red de centros de la comunidad Scout creado en todos los distritos;
  • Contribuir a la mejora del sistema educativo nacional a través de una sinergia entre los programas escolares y programas de educación informal a fin de reducir el fracaso escolar y la tasa de deserción escolar.
  • Contribuir a diseñar y aplicar una política nacional de la juventud mediante el apoyo a la creación de un Consejo Nacional de la Juventud.

Luego, trabajé con los líderes de Haití y los voluntarios franceses, en el desarrollo de programas específicos para alcanzar estos objetivos y en la búsqueda de nuevos socios, capaces de fortalecer las competencias operativas de la Asociación Scout Nacional de Haití para la aplicación de estos programas.

Es así como la RET (Fondo de Educación para los Refugiados), una asociación con sede en Ginebra y especializada en programas de educación para jóvenes refugiados y personas desplazadas, se comprometió en la realización del objetivo 3. Gracias a los fondos otorgados por la Oficina de Coordinación de Asuntos Humanitarios de las Naciones Unidas (OCAH)  4.500 jóvenes, de 15 a 25 años de edad, se beneficiarán de un programa de integración social y profesional, desarrollado en conjunto entre RET y  la Asociación Nacional de Scouts de Haití en 14 centros repartidos a través de  todo el país.

La GREF (Groupement des Retraites éducateurs sin Fronteras), ONG francesa formada por educadores y maestros jubilados , ha contribuido a la aplicación de este programa mediante la formación de 58 instructores profesionales y alfabetizadores haitianos que trabajaran sobre el tema “empleabilidad”. Esto es proporcionar una formación profesional básica a 1200 jóvenes en la industria de la construcción para que puedan ser empleados en proyectos de reconstrucción que se inician en todo el país.

Tambien pude contribuir a la formación de 14 coordinadores/formadores, a cargo de dirigir y capacitar a 70 dirigentes para la implementación del componente “inclusión social”. El trabajo de reflexión y producción de datos de animación desarrollada durante dos años por  Indaba-Network, en particular sobre el ámbito de desarrollo personal y habilidades para la vida, ayudaron a hacer una contribución decisiva para la realización del programa de educación no formal que se ofrece a los jóvenes y que les permitirâ obtener un diploma de  ” jóvenes ciudadanos”.

Al final de un período de uno o dos años, la Asociación Scout Nacional de Haití habrá adquirido los conocimientos necesarios para poder ejercer por sí misma estas actividades en beneficio de los jóvenes en riesgo de exclusión social, probando en terreno el rol clave que la educación no formal puede desempeñar para fortalecer el sistema educativo de un país.

Este es el propósito de Indaba-Network apoyar el desarrollo y la implementación de este tipo de programas educativos.

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The right to be seen as a human being


By Michel Seyrat

The International Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted by the UN, in 1989, includes several articles on the right to avoid abuse by adults or other children. Knocks, insults, forced labor, sexual abuse, prostitution, abandonment and carelessness are nevertheless still the lot of many children in the world.

Fighting against this unforgivable violence is an essential commitment to which many bodies contribute, but the goal  still remains far away. The Indaba-Network can support all innovative projects in this domain.

To be born is to become a human being

Everything that takes place does so as if we had difficulty in getting rid of the notion that a child is still not a complete human being, as if his or her “physical incompleteness” decreases his or her humanity.  But humanity is not attached  to size, age, or level of knowledge!   Given this misunderstanding, the state of weakness or dependence of the child may lead to a relationship of power, of domination, which can be translated into his or her abuse at the hand of older children and/or adults.

Guilty child and abused child

Some indeed conceptualize education as essentially  the “training” of an imperfect, even perverse, being, whose bad tendencies need to be corrected. Not long ago, this conceptualization dominated in some institutions, even in schools which specialize in taking in children whom life has manhandled. Those who always consider a child as a culprit for  still not being grown-up believe that they have the duty to punish him for that!  From the guilty child to the abused child is just a step.

It is not a question of preaching an education with neither prohibition nor constraint, but to promote an education which recognizes the child as a human being whom we help to grow in humanity, who is to become a freer, more responsible individual—capable of recognizing the ‘rule of rules’ which consists of seeing always the other as a human brother.

King-child and slave-child

Some parents, thinking they are on the right path, invest so much in their child that they transform him into a ” king-child” –  a domestic tyrant!  We know that this is a very bad child rearing pattern because the child becomes a slave of his uncontrolled drives. He cannot wait before getting what he desires, and he cannot make an effort in order to reach it by himself. The habit of tyrannizing one’s circle of acquaintances risks being continued. Not teaching the child the meaning of living is a kind of deferred ill-treatment because he will always be, as my grandmother said, “never satisfied”. Conversely, to take advantage of the weakness and the dependence of the child, to force him to do things “which are not for children his age” or which he cannot want freely, constitutes a constraint which can be close to slavery: hard labor, blackmail, ragging, involvement incriminal acts, forced juvenile marriages, “ritual” mutilations, incest, etc.

Immature adults

“Closed” upbringings often lead to immature individuals who are adults physically but not psychologically. Looking for sexual relations with children, for example, is a sign of a psychological and emotional development which has not reached adulthood and which conceptualizes sexuality only in its infantile or adolescent fantasies. As the dominant status of the adult is often present, the “acting out” is facilitated.

But this kind of abuse is not the only one. There are subtler ways to deceive children, to make them the toys of one’s drives, of one’s immaturity, of one’s perversity.

Acting in favor of children is to declare in time and out of time that every child is firstly and fully a human being and that any attitude towards him/her has to be inspired by this fundamental law.

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The common sense of humanity


By Melissa Martins Casagrande

The journey of humanity is punctuated by inventions, co-operations and resistance initiatives as unique and at the same time as similar as human experience can be.  Certain books, movies and songs are timeless and universal. No matter who we ask, some stories and protagonists are always mentioned. They are classics!  Different opinions about what makes them classics might come up but every time a person hears a song or reads a book that is considered a classic they will associate it with a personal experience or something that hits ‘close to home’ –  regardless of where they are from and what their life story might be.

The scope and value of human rights cannot be compared to books, movies or songs but they are very much alike if we consider the impact they have on every person and their everyday lives. Human rights are the ‘common sense’ of humanity and shared efforts have been made throughout history to write down what rights are inherent to all humanity and should be respected by everyone, everywhere. There is much debate over human rights’ universality and the lack of compliance with the standards established in international declarations. The strength of human rights, however, resides in their glocality.

Human rights are usually recognized as law by international organizations or national governments. Their applicability, however, can only be enjoyed and respected locally, even if facilitated by global efforts. Human rights are proclaimed in general terms, so that every local community might interpret them according to their reality and the needs and uniqueness of every person might be acknowledged within them. That’s why in some ways human rights are just like classic books, movies or songs. They are transmitted as the same text, image or melody to everybody but everyone is reminded of something very unique and personal when reading, watching or listening to them.

The same thing happens when different people read and interpret human rights. They can be associated with the most diverse experiences and situations that each person or community faces. Everyone, as a person or a group, has different understandings of what human rights are and what they represent. This also brings different approaches to address the lack of compliance with human rights standards, be it resisting intimidation; seeking and spreading information about human rights violations; and many other creative ways to make our local communities and ultimately the world, a fairer place to live.

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To resist, to invent, to share


By Michel Seyrat

The history of mankind is punctuated by resistances, inventions and co-operations: resisting to powers, inventing new solutions, co-operating in implementing them. The periods of great changes, and we are living one of them, do not escape to that process.  This reality is reflected by the projects, reported in this issue of the magazine.

To Resist

Besides the global economy, monopolistic and more and more detached from social concerns, everywhere countless “resistants” are struggling for their life or survival. Small producers who are looking for outlets,  self-entrepreneurs who are starting their business from their own experience, activists who are fighting for implementing initiatives shared with others.

To Invent

But to be able to resist, people always need to invent new ways of working, to launch new initiatives, to be inspired by utopias. In 1844, in Rochedale, an industrial suburb of Manchester, twenty-eight weaver workers decide to put in common a pound each in order to create a cooperative store, the Rochedale Society of Equitable Pioneers. In order to address their poverty, they invented the principles of consumer cooperatives. Human societies still need Equitable Pioneers who, even if they do not play in the category of the all-powerful, are able to change the lives of their fellows. In a global world, local action invents innovative solutions.

To Share

“Woe to the man alone” proclaims the Bible. Acting together makes people more efficient and helps them become more human. Workers from Manchester stated they were “equitable”: free choice, equality, democratic decision-making, fair distribution are the necessary conditions of co-operation. Thanks to the current means of communication, co-operating without borders is possible ; distance is no longer an obstacle.  With a few clicks, people can communicate and any action can become global.

From sharing goods to sharing ideas

What is true in economic area is true also in the area of ideas and human rights. Goods are circulating more and more quickly, ideas as well.

Today we can hear simple men and women of all cultures and we see the beauty and correctness of their reasoning.  Indeed, as Descartes said, common sense is the best shared thing in the world. Against fanatics of all stripes, this fact is a hope to be shared.

To resist, to invent, to share: here are three action verbs for INDABA!

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Welcoming diversity


By Dominique Bénard

We are afraid by people who are different from us. Spontaneously we perceive them as a threat and we despise or mock them. That was the reason why the first theories about racism and eugenics appeared when, in 19th century, Europe was facing the diversity of cultures and civilizations. They were, in particular, developed by Joseph Arthur de Gobineau (Essai sur l’inégalité des races humaines – 1855) and Houston Stewart Chamberlain (Genesis of XIXth century – 1899). Chamberlain argued that the “upper race” described by Gobineau (‘Indo-european’ or ‘Aryan race’) was the ancestor of all ruling classes in Europe and Asia, that it never disappeared and remained in the pure state in Germany. Unfortunately, these delirious ideas inspired Adolf Hitler and led to the Holocauste of Jewish people, and the killing of thousand of gays, gipsies and disabled people.

The concept of human races is not scientific. Today, there is only one human species, homo sapiens sapiens, which appeared 100,000 years ago and spread all over the world. What characterizes the human species is its incredible adaptability to all environments from frozen tundras to Pacific islands, from sandy deserts to wet forests. Bantus or Inuits, Aborigines, Caucasians, Amerindians, Polynesians or Hans, whatever is their skins’ colour, their cultures, their languages, their beliefs, all people over the world belong to the same species and share the same genes and similar physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual resources.

We’ll have to put an end to racism and xenophobia.

Refusing diversity, being afraid by foreigners, despising who is different, all these attitudes have only one origin : ignorance. It’s enough that a youth group has the opportunity to share foreign people’s life for some days and in their hearts the fear of differences is replaced by a deep feeling of brotherhood and belonging to the same human family.

The degree of civilization and spirituality of a nation is measured by the way they welcome people who are different either because of their culture, their religion, their ethnic origin, their sexual orientation or because they are ill or disabled.

The world will really change when everywhere young generations will rise up against old prejudices and fears, ancestral barriers, fake historical evidences which divide people and keep alive hatred. This is why the gateway to the World Citizens programme, that Indaba-Network proposes,  is active travelling and discovering various people and cultures.

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