in modern times . . . Dublin hears how to change the world.
By Sharon Browne
Fatima Freire, daughter of the famous Brazilian educator Paulo Freire,
was in Dublin in the summer of 2001 and her message remains as relevant
now as then. She was among the guest speakers at a global gathering of
Training for Transformation organisations from 27 countries which was
held as part of the Millennium Nourishment Day hosted by Partners._ Partners
is the Irish project that has been running Training for Transformation
(TFT) workshops for 20 years, in order to provide community development
training using Paulo Freire's theory of adult education._ Speaking of
her father's work, Fatima Freire stated: “It is a legacy that is both
difficult and rich at the same time. I see it as a source of energy and
empowerment for the world in the process of enabling transformation. What
I learned from my father was to never stop being curious and to never
stop questioning. I can remember at school, the child who used to sit
next to me never had a lunch. I would go home and ask my parents why.
Little by little my father explained and helped me to understand the political
problems of our country."
Paulo Freire believed that schools train us to merely adapt to our world
as it is presented to us. Schooling he said was about domestication rather
than transformation. Traditional education deposits knowledge into the
empty heads of participants and kills their creativity, leading to apathy.
His work was about getting people to recognise that together they have
the power to be active agents of positive change.
At home in Brazil, Ms.
Freire carries her father's message by training teachers in his methods.
She says that the key issues that concern her own community are the huge
divide between rich and poor, the lack of democracy, the social problems
that arise from widespread alcoholism, and the exploitation of young children
Also speaking at the event were the two authors of the Training for Transformation
Handbooks that have been used in communities all over the world for over
30 years. Anne Hope spoke of the work Paulo Freire had done with Steve
Biko in South Africa at the height of Black Consciousness in 1972.
Timmel told the gathering of her work over the last ten years as a lobbyist
in Washington D.C. with church groups. When asked how Freire's principles
can be used to tackle issues in the context of an ever increasing culture
of contentment and consumerism her advice was to broaden the base of groups
that we all work with and to think strategically.
SEIZE THE MOMENT
“There are moments for openings and then there are moments when things
are not open. You have to seize that moment. In the 1990's, 76% of US
citizens said the health care system was not working for them. There was
heat in that. It was an opportunity to motivate people on that issue.
We felt that was one institution we could crack.” Timmel says that the
challenge for us in the developed world is to use Freire's principles
to work towards economic literacy, so that the people can make informed
ethical choices and lobby their governments to do the same.
For more information about Training for Transformation contact
Partners at 24 Northbrook Road, Dublin 6.
Tel. 01-6673440. www.trainingfortransformation.ie