Rome (Italy) On 20, 22, and 23 July 2020 Sister Runita Borja, General Councilor for Youth Ministry, with the FMA Collaborators of the Sector, animated the video conferences with the referents of the Institutions of Higher Studies of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (ISS -FMA) on the theme: “The Covid-19 Pandemic is reshaping education. Challenges and possibilities to network for the ISS-FMA: in the Province, in the Nation, in the ‘nodes’ organized during the III World Meeting of 2019″.
The ISS-FMA are academic communities which, in fidelity to Don Bosco’s Preventive System, creatively lived by Mary Domenica Mazzarello, accompany students, promoting their integral development and helping them to become professionals and citizens capable of living solidarity, justice, peace, and care for the common home.
They constitute a network of 44 University Centers, Faculties, Universities, Teaching Schools, Higher Level, and Tertiary Education, entrusted to the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. They are present in 16 countries on four continents: America (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Haiti, Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Uruguay); Africa (Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Benin, and Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia); Asia (India, the Philippines, and Japan); Europe (Spain and Italy). Their online mission is to develop common projects, based on specific strategic priorities, in search of a greater contribution by the individual ISS in the various socio-geographic contexts.
The Youth Ministry Sector scheduled meetings with these objectives: to prepare for the post Covid-19, to face and take on its challenges as educating communities, to guarantee the right to education, especially for the most vulnerable categories; to develop guidelines for the accompaniment of the Provinces and networking, in the commitment to a current, creative, and innovative educational mission; organize to carry out the programming of the ISS-FMA network, created in the III ISS World Meeting in 2019 in Copacabana, for the Educative Pact and the special year of Laudato Sì.
The General Councilor for Youth Ministry, Sister Runita Borja, welcomed the participants – who were around 80 during the three sessions – with these words: “Our meeting desires to be a space for sharing, to recognize how God is present, and how we are called to respond with creativity, charity, and solidarity in keeping hope alive for families and for the younger generations, especially those who attend our educational institutions.”
Sr. Sarah Garcia, from the ‘Human Rights Office for IIMA of Geneva, then developed the theme: “Re-read the Preventive System according to the language of Human Rights“.
Then, each Institution presented its reality, communicating what they are doing to safeguard education during the pandemic and the scenarios they foresee on the horizon.