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9 April 2015 | 10:32

News from the popular education centres in Argentina

© The Sisters of San José Cunéo – Puerto Piray 2014

In Argentina, BICE’s project for street children develops thanks to a close collaboration between the centres of popular education and public schools in the zones affected. Carmen Serrano, responsible for BICE’s Latin American Network, reveals the latest results from the project.  

What are the results from the project of informal education for street children in 2014?

Carmen Serrano: Since 2011, with our partner the Sisters of San José Cuneo, we welcome children from disadvantaged areas in the town of Puerto Piray (Argentina) in six centres of popular education.

In 2014, 300 children have been welcomed each day for informal educational activities. Furthermore, more than 150 families have been followed up and cared for: positive parenting workshops, nutritional, lifestyle and health advice…

The fourth year of this project has been notable for a greater and more effective collaboration with regard to services for children between public schools, where children are and should receive an education, and popular education centres (CEP French abbreviation) who welcome them for games, workshops, homework help, snacks…

The CEPs are therefore no longer isolated at the outskirts of the town. At this point, it is undeniable that formal and informal education complement each other perfectly which is proof of real success. Multidisciplinary teams carry out close monitoring of children who need it most.

How is that organised daily?

Carmen Serrano : A psychologist, a doctor and a social worker follow the most complicated cases. Monthly meetings with management staff of popular education centres, teachers and the school principal enable them to discuss the child and his/her family.

For each child in great difficulty, for example those who live in the streets, follow-up is personalized. It is equally global seeing as the multidisciplinary approach, implemented in 2011, incorporates every part of the child without forgetting nevertheless that the child is a member of a family and community.

What are the project’s objectives for 2015?

Carmen Serrano : The major objective for the coming months is to strengthen networking. Coordination meetings between the popular education centres, school educators and the medico-social team needs to be intensified. This period of work needs to be systematized so that children facing major difficulties can benefit from even more effective follow-up care.

Moreover, CEPs are currently setting up activities which generate income in order to strengthen the durability of activities for children. For example, preparing jam and creating wooden objects which are then sold by the mothers and their children. This type of manual work can constitute a small source of funding for these popular education centres.