Pulsera Project Education Values
These four ideas are the foundations for our educational outlook and what we most want to convey in our materials. All of our educational materials reinforce at least one of the following values:
When you approach a situation understanding your own limitations and lack of knowledge, you have a much more open mind.
The most important information is often the information you don’t have. The goal is always to do the best you can with the resources at your disposal, but to also be comfortable assessing your actions and recognizing your missteps.
Approaching new cultures and worldviews with an open mind will necessarily challenge our perceptions and make us feel a certain amount of discomfort, and this is good - we need to be comfortable feeling uncomfortable.
“I don't believe in charity. I believe in solidarity. Charity is so vertical. It goes from the top to the bottom. Solidarity is horizontal. It respects the other person.” - Eduardo Galeano.
This thought is foremost in our minds when we communicate what we do in Central America. We want students to see their pulsera sales as an exchange of ideas, information, art, and financial resources, not just some fundraiser. The Eight Degrees of Giving help inform this concept.
Giving from a position of empathy for someone that ‘has less than you’ is actually more about your own satisfaction than the improvement of someone else, whereas a partnership fosters mutual growth and understanding.
3.) New Understandings of Poverty
Our culture often teaches that poverty is dehumanizing, economic, and that poor people are responsible for their situation. We want to introduce and reinforce several key concepts:
1.) Economic poverty is taxing, but not dehumanizing, and there are several forms of poverty - spiritual, emotional, social, some of which are prevalent in affluent countries.
2.) Economic poverty is not due to lack of work ethic, but a lack of opportunity, markets, or training. Impoverished people in underdeveloped countries work extremely hard, and often have to forego education in their younger years to begin working, thus perpetuating the cycle.
3.) There are historical factors, mostly stemming from colonialism, imperialism, and corporate exploitation, that have led the world to develop into its current state of inequity.
We want to foster critical thinking and constantly challenge our preconceived notions while also learning about and appreciating our cognitive shortcomings.
These include different forms of bias, all of which affect our ability to properly challenge our own thinking and approach old problems from new perspectives.
Worse yet, not challenging these biases and narratives perpetuate the cycles of poverty, violence, and general environmental degradation threatening the planet. One goal in self-reflection is to try to understand the causes and forces that determine how we self-reflect, understanding why we think or feel the way we do.