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Posts Tagged ‘social justice’

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Want to study in Venezuela and learn some Spanish? Since you can’t find everything on the internet, we recommend traveling to Venezuela. We promise you won’t find an opportunity like this one anywhere else.

Global Exchange provides a unique opportunity to English-speaking students to get to know Venezuela in a beautiful town located at the foot of Andes.  Mérida is a popular tourist destination and home to the Universidad de Los Andes.

The fall and spring semester academic programs are designed to increase students’ knowledge of contemporary Venezuelan society. The goal is to create links and build bridges between advocates of social justice in the global North and like-minded people in Latin America. Global’s motto is “building people to people ties”, and you’ll leave Venezuela with lots of new friends.

The 12-week program is built around intensive Spanish language training, essential for anyone serious about getting to know the people of the patria querida. Courses focus on Venezuelan history, culture, and politics. You can earn 15 undergraduate or graduate credits while engaging with contemporary and alternative development issues inside and outside the classroom.

Frequent exchanges with community leaders involved in social change on the ground make this a truly one-of-a-kind experience. The people at Global Exchange have worked within the communities of Mérida for many years. They know the terrain, and can’t wait to show you around!

Here’s the link to learn more.

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Women make history every day, and the women of Venezuela are doing so by cultivating a community-based economic model. They are embarking on new paths to autonomy within an historic social movement that is improving the lives of millions through “social missiones” that deliver new opportunities.

Government-funded programs such as Madres del Barrio (or “Mothers of the Neighborhood”) promote  social inclusion and community action. Madres del Barrio gives women the tools to succeed personally as well as economically by offering education, training, and interest-free loans. These tools have been invaluable for women, many of whom had never before worked outside the home.

The Guardian Weekly showcases the personal story of one Caracas woman whose participation in Madres del Barrio led her to found the successful Guarayrapana Textile Cooperative. Yovita Vera had this to say about her experience:

It takes a lot of willpower to keep the cooperative working, but we couldn’t have done it without the support from Madres del Barrio. I feel like this government has finally given women the status they deserve. In the barrios, most of the families are headed by women with little or no support from men, so it makes sense for them to be in control of the finances.

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, Madres del Barrio deserves a round of applause!

Check out this video about Madres del Barrio in Spanish.

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The World Social Forum (WSF) concluded yesterday in Belém, Brazil. Over 130,000 grassroots activists and members of civil society groups from all over the globe gather each year to present alternatives to the concurrent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The WSF, which is based in a concept of social justice, hosted discussions on topics ranging from the global economic crisis to environmental preservation to Indigenous issues and even vegetarianism. Socially conscious people met to “coordinate strategies and build partnerships,” share in cultural events, and make their voices heard by the many leaders in attendance.

One participant said:

We’re pointing out things that the developed nations don’t want to see. This is a scream of hope from the bottom, to say that we’re here and we want to change things.

-Luiz Miguel Fernandez Vega, 28, León, Mexico

Several resolutions were adopted  to remedy current crises and advance the cause of social justice. These include:

– Nationalization of banks
– No reduction of salaries at enterprises hit by the economic crisis
– Energy and food sovereignty for the poor
– Withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq and Afghanistan
– Sovereignty and autonomy for Indigenous peoples
– The right to land, decent work, education, and health for all
– Democratization of media and knowledge

The ambitious aims of the WSF seem to be coming into sharper focus as the world changes and old political and economic paradigms are shifting. Many participants came away from the Forum with a renewed sense of hope that “another world is possible,” and that they can help make it happen.

To read more, check out these articles from AFP, IPS, and the Washington Post

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