Lines of action
Fe y Alegria came to life in Venezuela in the mid-1950s, when Fr Jose Maria Velaz began to visit the outlying neighborhoods of Caracas with university students. As he became closer to the people and saw how they lived, he felt personally the tragedy of their marginalization and understood the necessity of providing an education that tapped the internal resources of the most needy.
In 1955, Abraham Reyes, mason by trade, offered his dwelling in order to found the first school of Fe y Alegria, located in the slum neighborhood which is today called Barrio January 23rd, in Catia. That same year another school was opened in the same zone, and in 1956 in Petare, at the other end of the city, a school was opened in Barrio Union. Eventually, with the support of various religious congregations and committed laypeople, the school operations began to spread towards the outlying parts of other cities of the country. By 1963, besides ten schools in Caracas, there were also schools in Maracaibo, Maracay, Valencia, Puerto La Cruz, Cumana, Maturin, Puerto Cabello, Barquisimeto, Lagunilla, Carora, Punto Fijo and Puerto Ordaz. In 1964 began the process of expansion towards other countries of Latin America. The slogan of the movement in these first years was: “Fe y Alegria begins where the asphalt ends”.
Today Fe y Alegria functions in 14 countries of Latin America and in Spain. In Venezuela it currently has 1036 service units located in 894 different localities. These service units include 148 schools, a radio education network with 709 learning centers, and another 170 centers for diverse programs.
Lines of action
- Formal Education Centers: a network of schools located in marginal urban zones and rural and indigenous areas, with programs of pre-primary, primary and secondary education.
- Extension education through the Radio Education Institute of Fe y Alegria: literacy training; primary, secondary and special education; trade training and citizenship orientation.
- Training for young people excluded from the educational system: in Work Training Centers that combine trade training and formal education.
- Higher Education: in electricity, electronics, computer science, accounting, integral education and pre-school education (University Institute of Jesus the Worker); and a licentiate degree in education (by agreement with the Simon Rodriguez University).
- Ongoing teacher training and a publications program.
- Community Education: support for community groups organized for the formulation and execution of local projects for social and urban development.
- Support for public education: teacher training and “educational complexes”.
- Health: basic health care and nutrition in some of the centers.
- A decentralized administrative system, with autonomous management of schools and programs.
- The educational project as the central focus of school administration and quality education projects: the Necessary School and classroom projects.
- A constant spirit of pedagogical renewal in the teachers, creating alternative educational models and introducing many innovations.
- Participation and responsibility of the family in the education of their children.
- Effective attention through trade training centers to those excluded from the school system, and extensive attention to young people and adults by means of radio education.
- Opening of higher technological education, in the University Institute of Jesus the Worker.
- Promotion of strategic alliances among the social projects, the national government and the financing agencies.
- Creation of a model of working with the communities that integrates the processes of urban development and social development.
- Guaranteeing, in all the schools of Fe y Alegria, a quality education, by means of the Necessary School Program.
- Intensifying attention to the excluded people by broadening the offerings of the trade training centers, radio education and other alternative methods.
- Promoting education for productive work by expanding the technical, agricultural and forest science schools.
- Increasing the opportunity for higher technical and teacher education for the neediest sectors of the country in Caracas, Maracaibo, Barquisimeto, San Cristobal, Ciudad Guayana and other areas.
- Contributing to the improvement of the quality of public education, by the creation of educational complexes, support for teacher training and pedagogical publications.
- Developing a model of community education, by replicating the “Communities in Consortium” program.
- Attending integrally to the personal and professional dimensions of the teachers and other staff who work with the movement.