Rome (Agenzia Fides) - "Some of our students serve their fellow citizens as first rescuers. Others are helping the elderly who are confined to the home by delivering groceries. Some universities, such as in Mexico and the United States, are printing protective face masks with three-dimensional printers. The premises of the closed schools have temporarily become reception centers for the homeless and spaces for health services". This is what brother Jorge Gallardo, Vicar General of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (also called Lasallians) reports in a conversation with Agenzia Fides, talking about the awareness campaign '#LaSalleCovid19', carried out in 80 countries to respond to the health emergency caused by the coronavirus. Created in collaboration with the De La Salle International Solidarity Foundation, this initiative aims to promote solidarity, closeness and help the most vulnerable, and to raise funds to respond to the most immediate needs of the most fragile realities.
"Although this pandemic has caused almost all governments to temporarily close schools - explains Brother Jorge - most of our educational centers continue to carry out, where possible, not only the educational offer through virtual classrooms and digital platforms, but it is working for the distribution of food and hygiene-sanitary products and the creation of face masks and safe shelters". In fact, there are many projects that the Lasallians are carrying out all over the world to assist their community: "in the 16 educational communities of Lasallians in the Philippines, for example - says the vicar - the" Kada-uno" initiative, that is, each one provides for the construction of six safe havens for health workers, seven for the homeless, one for overseas Filipino workers who are in quarantine, and then the production of face masks, the supply of medical instruments and equipment in various hospitals nationwide. In India, in the state of Tamil Nadu, we have activated the distribution of food and medicines in all the schools in the area. A health care service is also provided. Even in Cambodia, the brothers and nuns give help to people in need in the local community, providing food and basic necessities".
"Despite the difficult period we are facing, the economic and social impact that this situation is having on many families - notes brother Gallardo - we are satisfied to see how the use of digital platforms, virtual classrooms and, in general, IT systems and social networks, have allowed us to continue our work as educators whether it is to mediate knowledge, to guide family relationships, to offer messages of hope or to facilitate any type of useful resource for daily life. All this - he continues - allows us to see, once again, the virtues of educators: creativity, endurance, generosity, communication skills, but above all passion for children and young people. On the challenges that concern the future of Lasallian educational works, Gallardo has no doubts: "we must move quickly towards an organizational culture that favors work between parents and teachers, partnerships with non-profit organizations, local governments and other religious congregations so that no student - he concludes - is excluded". (ES) (Agenzia Fides, 6/6/2020)