Editor: This article describes part of the project that is being financed by the "project money" that the Parish of Our Lady of La

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Paulo Reglus Neves Freire,
Ph.D (1921–1997) was best
known for his influential work,
“Pedagogy of the Oppressed,”
which is considered one of
the foundational texts of the
critical pedagogy movement.
Salette in Cordoba, Yofre Norte, Argentina is running.

Doctor Paulo Freire, a noted Brazilian educator and philosopher, a champion of empowerment and transformation, said: "We all know something, we all ignore something, so we always learn…” In another place he said: “The oppressed must be their own example in the struggle for their redemption.”

Literacy Meetings in Villa Esquiú and El Quebrachal

In the parishes of Our Lady of Valle in Villa Esquiú and Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Quebrachal in the "Something Different” Cooperative, there is a program for beginning catechists, provided for by the Parish Project with the support of the Team for Mental Health, under the support and supervision of the priests and parishioners. It has begun to establish “literacy spaces” for people in these communities.

For some time there has been a need for many youth and adults to be able to complete their primary level education. In particular this is a need for those women working and living in the poorer area of our cities, who have school children but themselves need to attend an adult school.

 

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Adult learners learning the basics of
reading and writing, accompanied
by some of their children
The catechists because of their work with children in preparation for the sacraments are considered very important to undertake this project. This project for adult literacy was proposed and described by the Director of Youth and Adult Education of the Ministry of National Education. With help from others they can invited to be a part of the National Literacy Program and a Primary Education "Encounter".

Thus two literacy centers were established in order to give those who participate in these places official certificates of completion. Silvina Esquiú and Paola Villa Quebrachal are the coordinators for these two groups.

Silvina shares: "The literacy project as we have known it here in Villa Esquiú is for me the setting in I can use my gift from God, the gift of teaching. And it is a great satisfaction for me to help others to feel better about themselves and be able to do live a better life. With this collaboration my soul is filled with joy and I am united more closely to Jesus.”

It was difficult organize daily work spaces, care for their pre-school children and providing travel to these the groups, but we overcame these challenges due to our strong desire to provides these services. "Gradually the desired program became a reality. We met, talked and finally formed these groups."

In Villa Esquiú seven women joined. They wanted to learn to read and write better. Four women stepped up who were willing to teach them, and at the same time desired to learn themselves from this experience.

In Quebrachal the program involved three women and two men. In this community these meetings are held at the end of the workday, at 8PM due to their own family and work responsibilities.

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Mother brings her younger
children to her classroom.
Between learning letters and words, between personal sharing and stories about their daily life, they learn about Bolivia, current events, while they sip their fifth cup of coffee and sometimes amid the joys and challenges of their children’s games (because some have to bring their younger children to class), we joyfully gather and learn together twice a week.

When I asked them about how and why they stopped their own schooling, tears flowed. They told me stories of their personal challenges and events in their tough childhood years. In all of this, they still wanted to learn to help themselves and their children in their younger years and felt their own need to learn more. They are proud and dedicated people, committed to attending these gatherings. Their testimonials are examples for everyone to hear.

Each story testifies to their unending hope for new possibilities, opportunities for a more dignified life and a better future. They clearly realize that their future is now in their own hands. They defend the rights of their children to a good education. Their children can see in them a thirst to learn more each day and welcome new horizons in life.

A Few Testimonials

I'm Natalia: "I wanted to tell you about my experience now that I'm studying to complete my primary education which I really need in my life today. I'm learning a lot and I want to thank all the people who helped me… They are so generous to us. I also want to tell people all others who have not finished their primary education that it is very important to do… Do not be afraid or ashamed because it’s never too late to complete these studies. I thank God for the people I’ve met and I’m very happy.”

I'm Ana
"Thanks to the teachers in our literacy program. They are helping us people who have had no opportunity to finish our primary studies. I thank our treachers, Silvina, Violet, Viviana and Sandra who are helping us make gradual progress in our studies. Every day I feel that I learn a little more. Since my early childhood I thought that I would never have the opportunity to learn to read and write. I know now that everyone who wants to can now do this, regardless of their age. Everyone can learn if they wish to do so.”

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Adults gather for class, determined to learn the
essentials in order to have a brighter future.