Posted on 21 May, 2020
Brazilian pedagogue Paulo Freire said that “Education does not change the world, it changes the people who are going to change the world”, words that, surely, today more than ever acquire great meaning.
And it is that the situation we are going through has meant that in just over two months the world had to evolve, rethink, mobilize and streamline processes in which joint work, support, solidarity and empathy allowed to migrate to spaces that they take on new roles: homeschooling mediated by parents and caregivers; and a digital learning scheme to which we are all adapting.
The Pies Descalzos Foundation has been the support of hundreds of families and students of the Educational Institutions that it accompanies in Cartagena, Barranquilla and Quibdó after the change in their dynamics. They are vulnerable populations where technological teams and the internet are resources that, many times, they can only access by reaching a classroom, but we have worked with the directors and teachers of each territory, with the managers and allies under the guidelines of the ministries of education to devise alternatives that allow students to continue with their learning processes.
It has not been easy, but we have had a committed team of people who believe in the power of education and what can be achieved with it. The schedules for teachers and directors are no longer the same and as the teacher Helen Vega of the Fundación Pies Descalzos Educational Institution in Cartagena says: “I have understood after all these days that being a teacher is not just a profession, being a teacher is a decision full of love to which if we don’t put heart it doesn’t work”.
On the other hand, creating new communication channels and support strategies has made the Pies Descalzos Foundation continue to redouble its efforts and its presence, even beyond the missions set out, as it is today when we have realized that uniting to protect ourselves and protect ourselves to others it is part of that long road that we build day by day.
Step by Step
It is important to point out that no plan drawn up at this time is sufficient, however the Foundation is part of “Colombia takes care of Colombia” within the initiative “Education that Unites Us”, where public and private efforts aimed at improving management are added of the educational system; In turn, this work has added us to such important initiatives as “An Alliance that Unites Us” created to lessen the impact of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable populations, alleviating their food and health needs.
Our social networks have been indispensable platforms to maintain contact with teachers, parents and students; making their daily life and their constant work visible to adapt in the best way to this new reality that we live; and in turn, with those old or new donors and volunteers who have believed and continue to believe in our mission.
We have designed spaces for interaction and conversations with different topics that teachers see as necessary and urgent, including how to enjoy mathematics at home during confinement? How to evaluate the learning of your students in this contingency? and How to make our home a safe place for our boys and girls?; and likewise, we create useful information for everyone, because education is not just concepts and pedagogy, it is not just terms and theory; education is facilitating scenarios of personal and social growth that in the future help us to generate confidence for the achievement of more and more life projects, those projects that change realities and that, with total security, will help build a better world than today we have because even though we are going through a moment of uncertainty the only thing we can count on is that, each and every one of us, we will be reborn improved from this experience to continue walking together and turn the present of education into a better future.