The Congress in Rome on ’Human Rights’ and the Preventive system (www.donbosco-humanrights.org) at the beginning of January brought together about 300 participants from around the world. Most of them were Salesians, but there was also a group of staff from several Don Bosco NGO’s and schools. The aim of the Congress was to start a process placing the theme of human rights centrally into the Don Bosco Movement – to look at the Preventive system through the looking glass of Human Rights.
The preventive system is the name given to the pedagogical system of Don Bosco. All Don Bosco organisations work with it. This pedagogiacal style is diametrically opposite and far more complex, to that which is known as the ’repressive style’ (where errors are corrected or punished).
Human rights are Universal values – it gives a global ethical basis for dealing with other human beings. Almost all Countries have signed up to the ‘Universal Declaration for Human Rights’. This means that if the articles are broken, others can intervene. Along side this, there is a strong dynamism coming from the Declaration. People feel moved personally when they are confronted with Human Rights violations, and often want to undertake actions in protest. For example, some volunteers do voluntary service with street children in protest against the conditions these youngsters live under.
Looked at this way, most Don Bosco organisations are already working on Human Rights…..but they do not always recognise this directly themselves. Looking at the Preventive System through the looking glass of Human Rights is more a conscious raising process than the start of something new. It will help us better focus on the needs of the young people we are already working with.
In October DBYN is organising its own Congress on Human Rights, the preventive system and Human Rights Education. Human Rights Education is a methodology whereby young people are encouraged to be aware of Human Rights, and how to actively participate in making sure they matter.
We are bringing together young people aged between 18 and 30 years old from all of our partner Countries (13!!). They are coming from general youth work organisations, but from specialist areas of youth care as well. The participants will have the opportunity to share their own experiences and opinions through a series of active workshops. Under the banner – Put your money where your mouth is – we will also offer the participants the opportunity to organise their own initiatives.
So dear readers, if you are interested in the challenges of Human Rights, you could take part in our Congress. Get in touch with the British Youth Work Office.
Until the next time……
Rein Meus is General Secretary of Don Bosco Youth Net