Able to build

Publish date 28-09-2022

by Mauro Palombo

Going to school can be understood in different ways. A monotonous obviousness for some, an unexpected prospect for others, generally the most anxious to grasp it with fruit.

Twenty years ago, in Hong Kong, we received an appeal from a nun friend for many years in Vietnam, that she wanted to be able to allow boys and girls from poor families to attend school; and to be able to do it in the best possible way, with the help of an after-school service, frequent accompaniment with families, and whatever else is necessary. The willingness of several friends to share made it possible to respond. From year to year, since then until today.
The Congregation of the FMA then expanded the scope to Myanmar and Cambodia; and many other interventions have been possible. Many school courses have been able to carry out, with serenity, finding an outlet in work. Especially in rural areas, classrooms, computer rooms, tailoring workshops to give work on the spot, have been created. New teachers were formed to then serve their communities of origin. Professional schools have been supported, and the initiatives in the area that they have germinated.

In these contexts, all the more so with the welcoming work of the sisters which reinforces the commitment of the little ones and that of families, it is not just a matter of training by receiving notions, albeit precious.
For the good of all, an educational path is created, with a wealth of values, to learn to be, to do, to choose: to build something meaningful, for oneself and for others. In responsibility, aware of their own value, and of that of solidarity participation in the life of the family and of the community.
Here too, the school as a key to inclusion.

Two years of pandemic immediately generated profound upheavals and great uncertainty. The equilibrium of the global system, rapidly growing into a profound interdependence, is as complex as it is fragile. The tiring opportunities that have arisen for ordinary people in so many parts of the world, who struggle to emerge from poverty, are fragile.

South Asia suffered a limited health emergency in 2020; much more serious than in 2021, and again in recent months. However, the economic one is heavier, for a country like Vietnam which has the peak of its manufacturing development in production for export. Which is struggling to recover, amid uncertainties in demand, and logistics to be put back into operation. It's no better for Cambodia tourism…

This weather has put a strain on the activities carried out with the boys; forcibly they have suffered setbacks in the imposed lockdowns. But, the school has resumed for some time, and, not without great difficulties, the initiatives have not ceased to be an instrument of solidarity in a situation that has become extreme for the most vulnerable, which are many. The boys and girls supported in the school were also protagonists. Setting up shelters for those who have lost everything, collecting and distributing aid for some kind of subsistence. It is the strong message that reaches us: in the time we live, words remain important, but they have no meaning without gestures of solidarity that communicate life.

Mauro Palombo
NP May 2022

Sermig Re.Te. Association for Development
IBAN: IT29 P030 6909
6061 0000 0001 481

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