La Aldea is very beautiful. Boys and girls like it because it keeps them active and creative. The book and the stories of La Aldea are acted out by animals that live together in a space that, in real life, could be our neighborhood, the municipality, the department, Colombia or the world. The stories represent what we are living now. In addition, the text is very transversal, since practically all areas can be worked through.
Alirio Reyes Beltrán, coordinator of the San José del Trigal Educational Institution (Cúcuta)
Click: What is the best thing about La Aldea?
Mayra Reyes: The training processes with La Aldea are very fun, but the most important thing is that they are designed so that we can implement them with our students.
The activities and resources are very good. Not only visual and auditory skills are developed, but the emotional part is also worked on. In addition there is a very clear connection, because it is what we live both as teachers and students. That is what meaningful learning is. Additionally, the areas are related since topics that allow this connection are addressed. In this way, it is easier for boys and girls to learn, understand and relate to it.
C: Do you plan to implement La Aldea in the Buena Esperanza Technical Institution?
MR: We are going to implement La Aldea in 2022. The teachers at my campus, who are from 3rd, 4th and 5th grades, are going to meet to work together with our students, and build a great project. This is how they proposed it to us in the training sessions and we know that other institutions have done it and it has given them very good results.
C: The book of La Aldea speaks of a return to being present, of a world in transition. Is this common thread still valid?
MR: Although the book talks about the return to presence in a world that is in transition, now that we are definitely back in the classroom, the activities are still valid. Last year less than half of the students entered, now they will enter with full enrollment. So now all the boys and girls will be able to get involved and we will be able to share all the experiences of La Aldea. I imagine that they will feel identified with the characters, just as we teachers identify with the situations and characters.
Interview with Mayra Alejandra Reyes
Good Hope Technical Institute (Cúcuta)
Teacher of natural sciences and social sciences
The formation process of La Aldea in Pondores, the Old Territorial Training and Reincorporation Space in La Guajira, has been carried out since 2020 by three migrant sisters and educational leaders: Betsabé, Yineth and Madeleine. In the last visit made by Click and UNICEF in December 2021, three more participants joined the sessions: Moises, 14, and two young people, 18 and 19 years old.
Specifically, five sessions were developed in which the first four stories of La Aldea were addressed: Stories for a world in transition. Additionally, an introduction was made for those who did not know the stories and a space was created to talk about pedagogy and socio-emotional learning; none of the participants had previously had training in pedagogy or didactics. But there was an additional surprise on our last visit to Pondores: 8 boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 10 joined the sessions. Although it was unplanned, the methodology was adapted so that they could be part of the process.
Our journey through Pondores was loaded with activities to expand emotional vocabulary, the exploration of emotions and art, life projects, social cartography and recognition of characters from La Aldea; as well as reflections on the infant brain, early childhood learning needs, conscious didactics, extracurricular learning places and the importance of the community in the educational process.
The participants expressed appreciation because they consider it essential to open extracurricular educational spaces, especially in this scenario in which boys and girls spend a lot of time alone because their caregivers have to go out to work all day in the fields. Added to this are a large number of out-of-school children and an early childhood that does not receive any type of care due to the inactivity of the Child Development Center (CDI) and the Care and Attention Unit (UCA). In addition to the show of gratitude, fears were expressed in relation to their work; these leaders by vocation worry that they are not doing their school reinforcement work well. Not having the opportunity to study a professional or technical career in Colombia, they seek more support in terms of development and strengthening of teaching skills. An additional problem: the lack of income associated with work, income necessary to support their children and families, which represents a risk for the continuity and sustainability of educational processes.
Girls and boys alone in houses with dangerous snakes that threaten their lives and health; lack of suitable and safe facilities; few recreational areas and little connectivity… These are just some of the challenges for a forgotten corner that is not prepared for a quality education. Despite this, women like Betsabé and her sisters stand for education and work daily to strengthen the participation of young people in processes of social change and in supporting children. The goal: to generate alliances that make it possible to bolster educational processes like La Aldea, and especially the accompaniment processes for guaranteeing quality education and the integral development of boys and girls in the community.
One of the objectives of the Truth Commission is to promote and contribute to the recognition of the armed conflict victims in Colombia, and recognize them as citizens whose rights were violated. This recognition exercise seeks to evolve into truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition. However, there is an fundamental and substantial point in this search: navigating through the facts, learning the story as it happened, and, above all, approaching the victims’ stories. The Truth Commission has carried out important recognition processes that precisely evidence the events that occurred in the context of the conflict. Out of those processes, 12 graphic novels were born: fictional stories that are based on testimonies and interventions of victims, perpetrators, accompanying organizations and institutions that participated in the so-called Encounters for Truth.
Click+Clack developed 6 of those novels during a complex, interesting, reflective, and creative process. For the creative team behind this project, the novels meant a chance to hear those voices that narrate testimonies laden with pain and truth. “We took the testimonies and all the material that the Commission gave us and turned it into stories that convey the most human part of the narratives, without leaving aside what each victim has to say about the conflict and the implications it had in their lives. All those things that are not evident to those who have not suffered the conflict directly,” says Diana Ospina Obando, author of the 6 novels. Today, those novels that translate the ravages of war into sensitive but relatable narrations become a necessary input to open relevant conversations about our history both at home and in the classroom.