Street Children and Popular Education

BCA Xalapa Launches New Course

Street Children and Popular Education: A Participative Approach introduces students to the realities of some of the major social problems involving Mexico (and by extension, much of the developing world).

Using a combined strategy of theoretical and empirical study coordinated with in-the-field practical experiences with local vulnerable populations, BCA Mexico students have a unique opportunity to immediately and directly apply concepts learned in class. At the same time students actively contribute to the programs of a well-established and respected non-governmental organization working in Xalapa.

BCA designed the course to work closely with the NGO, Matraca, Asociación Civil (civil association), whose fundamental goal is the protection of the human rights of street children in the city of Xalapa and the state of Veracruz.  Matraca was founded over 20 years ago by Jesuit priests and lay persons from the Universidad Veracruzana to work with and protect this very vulnerable population.  In the ensuing years Matraca, now entirely in secular hands, has become one of the most important organizations within Xalapa’s civil society and is widely respected for its work.  In 2010 Matraca was awarded first place by the UNICEF in the category of Best Practices in working for the human rights of children and adolescents in Mexico.

Matraca is a fully-functioning non-governmental organization that has invited us to participate in their activities as student-participants.  It is important to understand that students should NOT consider their participation in Matraca as a kind of social service, but rather as an act of solidarity with the Matraca community.

“My experience at Matraca gave me a perspective on education that I would not have otherwise had the opportunity to see. Watching students from such different family backgrounds work, play, and face challenges together was incredibly eye-opening. Through my experience at Matraca, I really came to believe that education is more than just classroom learning, and a holistic education has to include components of learning about self, care of others, knowledge of one’s rights, and an understanding of where to go for help. I plan to take this approach into my future career as a teacher.”

Miriam Pallant, Haverford College

Course syllabus here

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