We want to hear from you! Tell us how you have been implementing the ethics education programs, your experience and how it has impacted your work, the children and youth who go through the program and the community around.

If you are interested to share your story, please contact us.

Santa’s Helpers is a group of five children aged 13 to 18, from Sombor, Serbia, who has been collecting gift packs and donating them to vulnerable children during Christmas and New Year’s for several years. However, during 2020 with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, something changed.

The children behind the project, all active at the Sombor Educational Center (SEC), were motivated to initiate change in their local community in terms of ending child poverty.

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Worried by the socio-economic impacts the COVID-19 pandemic was having on vulnerable children, four Peruvian children from the group ‘Expresarte’ longed to support their peers from at-risk backgrounds. They brainstormed on different solutions and finally came up with a combined approach to support education and reduce poverty. The project idea came directly from their own realities and from what they had witnessed during the pandemic.

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The group of children behind the project “Children of the Internet” from Santiago de Cuba gathered in a workshop in October 2020 to brainstorm ideas to address poverty in their communities. They formulated several ideas and finally decided to support children that were suffering disproportionately from the lack of educational materials especially digital gadgets and the internet in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They chose this idea due to the real need children were experiencing, which had been exacerbated by the pandemic and had drastically shifted learning from physical classrooms to digital spaces. By providing educational information that they could collect online, the children behind the project wanted to support others with limited technological access.

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The COVID-19 pandemic crisis has pushed millions of children out of school. For many of them, the only way to access education has been through the internet. Even though it is not accessible to everyone, online classes have become the only way for several children to interact with their peers, teachers, and family. But the online world also poses many dangers for children, particularly if they spend many hours connected without direct adult supervision.

To discuss the dangers affecting children in the online world, we interviewed Mr. Iftikhar Mubarik, from Lahore, Pakistan. A father of two, Mr. Mubarik is the Founder and Executive Director of Search for Justice, an organization working to further child rights and protection in Pakistan through awareness and sensitization, capacity building, children participation, organizational strengthening and policy advocacy.

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“Saada and Suleina are sisters living in a community where child marriages are still practiced. The two sisters are school-going teenagers but their parents decide to marry them off, in line with the community’s customs. The marriage plans and procedures are concluded, making Saada and Suleina wives to two men in the community. But that did not last long for Saada, thanks to her relentless will to be educated. She boldly defies her parents and the community, walking away from her marriage to pursue her education. She secures a scholarship guaranteeing her to continue her education away from her home. All this time, Saada has tried convincing her sister Suleina to follow suit but she declines, citing her adherence to community norms.

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The Children’s Parliament in India engaged more than 300 children from nine villages in discussions to brainstorm what could be done to address issues related to education, health care and livelihoods. It was the mass school closures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic that motivated the children to decide on solutions to support access to education. As a result of the school closures and education suddenly shifting to digital spaces, the children had discovered that most public-school students in the villages could not afford digital gadgets and access to the internet to continue attending classes online. This left them out of education and the school environment to the point that younger children even started forgetting the basics of the alphabet and numbers.

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Ms. Nageeba Hassan has been at the forefront of the implementation and training on the Learning to Live Together Programme in Uganda, reaching children, parents, and teachers through Restoring and Empowering Communities (REC), an organization that she co-founded in 2004.

A teacher by profession, she has expertise in the fields of counseling, positive parenting, meditation, negotiation, interreligious dialogue, and intercultural learning. Her hard work and passion have taken her to many countries, training teachers and educators on ethics education for children, and speaking about interfaith collaboration. Her persistency and drive have helped her make real changes in the lives of many children in Uganda, their families, and their communities.

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Since 2011, the Learning to Live Together (LTLT) Programme has been making headway in Bosnia and Herzegovina under the leadership of Ms. Ismeta Salihspahić, local GNRC Coordinator, and one of the main advocators of the Programme in the country. In the past couple of years, the Programme has reached more than 400 students annually, in six different schools, fostering solidarity and mutual understanding among children from different religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

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Since May 2019, teachers in the counties of Baringo and Elgeyo-Marakwet, in Kenya, have been systematically implementing the Learning to Live Together Programme among students from 30 schools, following the Teachers Activity Book developed for the implementation process.

This is the outcome of the 4-days Facilitator Training Workshop help in April 2019, for 64 teachers on the use of the LTLT Programme. The workshop was organized by World Vision Kenya, and KNATCOM, with the technical support of Arigatou International - Geneva.

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Ms. Mercedes Román has been a key driving force in the implementation and dissemination of the Learning to Live Together Programme in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) since before it’s conception. She was part of the first group of experts, gathered by Arigatou International in 1998, to work on the launch of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC), and has been working with Arigatou International ever since.

As GNRC Coordinator for Latin America, she conducted several test workshops in the region to try out what was then known as the Ethics Education Toolkit. After the launch of Learning to Live Together, she has conducted countless Facilitator Training Workshops in the region, as well as Europe.

Ms. Román has dedicated her life-work to serve the most vulnerable in our society, and to promote the rights of the child, to contribute to their full and sound development. Nowadays, she is the Senior Advisor for the GNRC in LAC and is also part of the group of experts working in the adaptation of the Learning to Live Together Programme to middle childhood years.

In this interview, she shares about her journey working with children and women in vulnerable situations, and how her family and religious background instilled in her a strong sense of justice, generosity and caring for the most needed members of society.

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