December 10, 2015
Global right to education and the Fe y Alegría education model headline events
Fe y Alegría, an international popular education non-governmental organization, was presented on December 2nd and 3rd as a Jesuit response to the global challenge of the right to education. The events, hosted by the Jesuit Conference of the United States and Canada, highlighted Fe y Alegría’s six decades of experience providing quality, inclusive education to the most vulnerable communities in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa.
“One of the most impressive things about the Fe y Alegria model is their capacity to actively involve the entire community in the education process,” said Fr. William Kelley, S.J., Secretary for Social and International Ministries and President of MAGIS Americas. “Parents are involved, fiercely defending and supporting their children’s education.
Fr. Kelley, who attended both events in Washington, D.C. and New York City—the latter of which was hosted by the Northeast Conference of the Society of Jesus—went on to say that Fe y Alegría communities are different in that “children and families are the main protagonists in their own development.”
The events also served as the official launch of Fe y Alegría’s new U.S.-based initiative, Friends of Fe y Alegría in the United States. Fr. Daniel Villanueva S.J., Executive Director of Entreculturas-Fe y Alegría Spain, leads the new venture, which is a collaboration between Magis Americas and the International Federation of Fe y Alegría (FIFyA).
Friends of Fe y Alegría in the United States aims to create strategic alliances with U.S.-based institutions and Latino communities, as well as raise awareness about the importance of defending the right to a quality education.
“Our goal is that individuals and institutions in the U.S. can say ‘I am part of a network that is changing the world through the power of education’,” said Fr. Villanueva.
Lucía Rodriguez, FIFyA Public Advocacy Coordinator, kicked off both events by highlighting the need to provide quality education globally. Citing the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals—released earlier this year in New York—Rodriguez called for individual action and responsibility to ensure the 59 million children out of school worldwide receive a quality education.
Following Rodriguez, Carlos Vargas, Executive Director of Fe y Alegría Ecuador, provided a case study of how Fe y Alegría is locally defending the right to quality education by highlighting various new collaborations the organization is implementing with the Ecuadoran Ministry of Education to offer inclusive education programs for traditionally marginalized populations.
Fe y Alegría was first started by the Jesuit priest José Maria Vélaz on the outskirts of Caracas, Venezuela in 1955. Fe y Alegría currently works in 23 countries, providing education programs to over 1.5 million individuals. The Office of the International Federation is based in Bogotá, Colombia.
For more information on Fe y Alegría and its new U.S. initiative, please visit www.feyalegria.us.