• 07 December 2017

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    Posteado en : En primera persona

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    EUROsociAL+, looking for answers

    If one thing characterises EUROsociAL+, it is seeking answers to the questions posed by Latin America

    “When we had the answers, they changed the questions”, said Pelayo Castro referring to a graffito discovered by the Ecuadorian poet Jorge Enrique Adoum and made universal by the Uruguayan writer Mario Benedetti. This catch-phrase, quoted by the European Union Ambassador in Costa Rica at the opening of the EUROsociAL+ meeting in San José, laid the foundation for the three days of discussions and exchanges in the capital of Costa Rica.

     

    Because, if one thing characterises EUROsociAL+, it is seeking answers to the questions raised by Latin America. The answers are to be found in Europe and in Latin America, and in Costa Rica they were transformed into reality with significant commitments to fighting gender violence, social dialogue and regional development.

     

    Also, in this third stage of the Latin American social cohesion programme, we would like to be part of the answers. This means being more strategic, once again placing social issues on the European-Latin American cooperation agenda and contributing to ensuring that countries meet the Sustainable Development Goals. This is why we demanded even more strongly that actions be implemented to support public policies that have a real effect on reducing the inequality gap in the region.

     

    The initial meeting was not only inspiring because of the discussions, it also presaged an unforgettable cultural moment that occurred during the first annual meeting of the third stage of EUROsociAL. Creativity laboratories gave a voice to the different realities existing in the Latin American countries through children and young people at risk of exclusion, the struggle of the LGBT community, and the situation of those who are in detention, who, through poetry, painting and photography expressed their wish to be part of a society that offers them the same rights and the same opportunities as anyone else.

     

    It was a meeting filled with symbols, from the word Freedom, which was the name given to the Metropolitan Park where the meeting began, to the former prison known as “La Peni”, which has now become the Children’s Museum and which we visited on the occasion of Universal Children’s Day. The best way, therefore, to end these lines is the prologue written by Kennly Garza, subdirector of the Vilma Curling Comprehensive Care Centre, for the book of poems written by the inmates of this prison, entitled Luna compartida” (Shared Moon). In the prologue, entitled “Alquimistas de significados” (Alchemists of meaning), Kennly calls our attention to some of these allegories: A women’s prison is an uncomfortable, antagonistic place; the unsuspected arrival of cherubim brings on a smile. At the back, the whispers of five hundred writers disturb our conscience when we know we are part of these stories. A scene of losses and grievances, it is also an island of warrior women whose stories deserve to be told before the River Cañas claims its own. Until then, here is the tribute of their words, transparent and direct, warning that while there are women in prison writing about inequality, talking about freedom will never be easy or commonplace, it is an urgent debt that only applause does not endorse”.

     

    Enrique Martínez is the communications manager for the EUROsociAL+ programme

  • 10 April 2015

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    Posteado en : Opinion

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    In the first person… She started writing her name

    Her daughter had never written her name before. Now, at least, she makes an attempt. Kouser is a Tunisian teacher and has a daughter with an intellectual disability. Together they achieved this milestone after Kouser received a training course on teaching techniques for children with disabilities. Training developed within the framework of a cooperation project financed by the EU and managed by the FIIAPP.

    “We’ve seen another communication method which is very important: language with pictogrammes that lets children communicate on their own. Also adaptation activities, for example for materials: notebooks, furniture… It’s the first time I’ve received this type of training, and so it was tremendous. It’s opened up new horizons for me, and now we can offer our children an appropriate work method.

    We’ve also talked about the importance of inclusion into mainstream schooling and adaptation of the school curriculum. Before we only worked on integration in schools, that is, on providing a special education class for persons with disabilities in an ordinary school; but that’s not the same as inclusion, that’s segregation. Adaptation of the curriculum is very important for educating children with disabilities, whether physical or mental, because it gives each child a special system for learning.

    In my daughter’s case, she didn’t know the Arabic alphabet or the numbers. We had tried various methods, but none had worked. She was in school and was promoted to the next grade level automatically. After the exchange with the experts from the project, I thought of bringing my daughter here because I could see that this was very professional work. We started to work with her, and I discovered that my daughter was happy and that she also wanted to move the letters to spell out her name”.

    Kouser is a beneficiary of the project ‘Support for socio-economic integration of persons with disabilities’ in Tunisia. Over its two years of duration, it was managed by the FIIAPP and had a budget of two million euros. Hear other voices from the project on our radio programme ‘Public Cooperation Around the World’ (Radio 5, all news)

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  • 13 January 2015

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    Posteado en : En primera persona

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    In the first person… After regaining freedom

    Enjoy her daughter and breathe life into her own business. That's what Yesenia, 32 years of age, will do when she gets out of the largest women's prison in Chile. She is participating in a social and labour-market reintegration project coordinated by EUROsociAL, the European Union programme for social cohesion in Latin America. She tells us her story.

    “I’m in charge of a workshop with 35 women workers, and I review their work. It’s an internal control before the product reaches the street. It’s not easy. Around here, you learn to assume responsibilities, adapt to schedules and supervise people older than yourself… you learn to work and to communicate with them.

    When I get out of here, I want to enjoy being with my daughter and running a business. I know everything I need to know about businesses and how to talk to outside people because that’s something I’m accustomed to. It’s not going to be hard for me.”

    You can learn more about this project by listening to our radio program ‘Public cooperation around the world’ (Radio 5, all news). In little over three years, EUROsociALhas already implemented this project in 13 countries thanks to the work of its justice partners: France Expertise Internationale, the Conference of Ministers of Justice of the Ibero-American Countries  and the International Juvenile Justice Observatory.

    The author has sole responsibility for the opinions and comments expressed in this blog

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