I begin by recalling Pope Francis’ invitation in his opening Message to the Global Compact on Education proposing dialogue on the way we are building the future of our planet, on the need to invest in everyone talents and on him quoting the African proverb: “It takes an entire village to educate a child”. And building this village is a condition to educate.
According to the document, to achieve these global goals, the common journey of the education village needs to take important steps, such as:
Placing the person at the center of each educational process; Listening to the younger generations; Promoting women – encouraging the full participation of girls and young women in education; Making the family responsible – as the first and indispensable educating subject; Opening to welcome the most vulnerable and marginalized; Renewing economy and politics; Taking care of our Common Home.
Pope Francis concludes by saying: “Together, let us seek to find solutions, begin without fear processes of transformation and look to the future with hope. I invite everyone to be the protagonist of this alliance, assuming the personal and community commitment to cultivate, together, the dream of a solidary humanism, which corresponds to man’s expectations and God’s plan”.
In Uganda the primary role of women is still to procreate and provide food and meet the needs of the family. But in doing our missionary work among refugees, small and significant steps are being taken, both in catechesis with children and young people, in groups of women and now, specifically, in the Preschool that we inaugurated in the Holy Family Community, in the Pagirinya Settlement.
It was a long period of construction, monitoring and overcoming all kind of challenges that arose during the process. Now you can contemplate a new space, full of children enjoying the large and ventilated classrooms, a playground where they can spend some of their energies in a playful way, running happily and receiving a healthier and more consistent diet.
Every day, teachers prepare their classes after the children leave, with all determination and motivation, using the material available. With experience and creativity, they learned how to use everything to foster learning. Faced with this, everything we have faced during the construction period becomes small and insignificant.
Our missionary focus at the school now is to make this space not only “a place where one learns to read and write, but one that favors the formation of true Christians and good citizens committed to the Church and society”, as our dear Mother Cabrini used to say. Educating the hearts of these children according to human and Christian values as a foundation for the edification of the person in their relationship with the world around them.
There is a long way to go if we are to take the steps of the Global Compact on Education. Placing the child at the center of the process and transforming it into an agent of transformation requires time, patience, zeal and a lot of love. This takes place in attentively listening to their needs, in the inspiring dynamics of the role of women and the responsibility of the family in the educational process. All steps that need to be taken with awareness and commitment.
Sr. Glória Caixeta, msc
Pagirinya Refugee Settlement is a refugee camp in Eastern Adjumani District in Northern Uganda. Opened in July 2016, Pagirinya settlement hosts more than 32,000 refugees displaced from South Sudan.
The MSCs arrived in Uganda in April 2019, working with the refugees’ communities in Pagirinya, and with the local community in Dzaipi, Adjumani District.