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To know and participate in situations of marginalisation

11/03/2005: Spain

For the past four years, all the students in the senior class of Colegio Marista de Málaga (Spain) have taken part in an activity called Plan for Social Education. In effect, some 150 young people aged 16 or 17 have come to know and participate in situations where people are marginalised, abandoned, in great need… within their own city.
In November, the students separate into small groups of three or four. When they finish the experience in May, they have devoted between twenty-five and thirty hours to this social work.
Currently, there are thirty-four groups helping in sixteen centres. Each group is accompanied by an adult: a priest, a teacher, a volunteer, a brother… The tasks of the group include helping people with physical and psychological handicaps, people who are blind, people who suffer from autism, people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, people who have suffered a stroke and older people who are living alone; likewise, they give study help to children from broken families or who are failing in their studies.

At the end of the day’s work, the students have to write their journal entries on what they have experienced that day: what they found difficult, where they found satisfaction, how they felt at the end of the work, etc. Afterwards, this journal is evaluated by the teacher and promoter of this initiative.
At the end of the course, the majority of students rate this experience as a very positive one. Many recognise that it has helped them to become aware of situations of which they were unaware until this time. For others, this course has influenced their choice of university study and future career. Some of the students decide that they wish to continue in this line of work in the future.
The “Fundación Codespa” has given an award named “El planeta de los jóvenes solidarios” for two consecutive years to this initiative developed in Colegio Marista de Málaga. This social work activity has also appeared in the various forms of communication media of Málaga a number of times.

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