By Sahar Hussein, LASC Education Officer 2019-2020

As part as my work in the Latin American Solidarity Centre (LASC) I have been teaching about development issues in Latin American around Ireland to more than 550 Irish secondary students in their Spanish class in the last nine months. This as part of a now three years project funded by WorldWise Global Schools to develop and deliver the project under the umbrella of the Global Citizenship project and the Global Goals.

The project provides an incredible opportunity for those young students who are learning Spanish in their schools, to get a different and more diverse approach to the language learning process mixed with the reality of the development issues that many Latin American people face every day in their countries. Based on the values of global justice, solidarity and equality, these workshops bring to Irish students much more than just language learning. They help also with their language and culture awareness that is considered on their curriculum, and that will encourage them to open their minds and to see the diverse realities of the world we live in.

This academic year 2019-2020, we have done workshops as said to more than 550 students and 30 teachers. Not only in Dublin but also in different counties, such as Wicklow, Offaly, Westmeath, Cork, and Galway.

Spanish is spoken in most of the Latin American countries, prompting our interest in including this project in the Spanish classroom in Irish schools. Ireland as a European country is much closer to Spain, so it is to be expected that the learning of the language can relate more easily to the Mediterranean country. However, Spanish is spoken as official language in 20 countries including Spain.

It is of utter importance for students to know as well about those other 19 nations where people speak the Spanish. It is even more significant since the Latin American region is a developing one, thus the issues they have there are very different that the ones here in Europe. Considering this, this project becomes vital for Irish students to understand better and to get to know more the unequal world we live in and to realise what can be done from here to help others. On the workshops I have shown them how even small actions can make a different impact in other people’s lives, even to those living as far as South and Central America.

For me this has been an incredible opportunity too, as a Chilean immigrant living in Ireland, to travel around the country talking to young students about my own culture and about what I am more passionate about, global justice, gender equality, environmental issues & sustainability, and most important about the impact that our daily decisions have on people and places all around the globe.

Talking about what is happening in Latin America has so much to do with this idea of the global citizenship and how all we do has repercussions in other people’s lives. This is the main focus of the education project in LASC, to raise awareness of these realities among post-primary students in Ireland, so this can also have an impact not only to those students who have participated in the workshops, but also to their peers in the school, their teachers and their families. The central idea of this is to move those young people to share what they have learnt with others, to take actions to help the environment and people with less privileges than the ones we have.