SISTER JEANNETTE LOUIS-PIERRE: MAKING GOD’S GOODNESS KNOWN TO THE PEOPLE OF LA SAVANE, HAITI

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Sr. Jeannette and the women

Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur first went from the United States to La Savane, Haiti, in 2009, at the request of Monseigneur Alix VERRIER, Bishop of the Diocese of les Cayes. La Savane is one of the 32 slums in the Les Cayes Province, with a population of about 25,000 inhabitants. This was according to a study done in 2009 by a team of interdisciplinary researchers. Haiti is described as the poorest country in the Northern Hemisphere. The country also faces constant challenges with natural disasters, such tropical storms, lightning, floods, earthquakes, and tsunamis. These factors exacerbate the already deplorable economic and social conditions of the population. Women in La Savane, as in many parts of Haiti are the worst affected by the economic and social conditions in the country. Many of these women are single mothers, and with little or no education, most of them cannot provide for the basic needs of their children. As a result, many children as young as six, roam the streets begging or scavenging for food from dumpsites. This situation, unfortunately, exposes the children to situations of exploitation and abuse.

Sister Jeannette Pierre-Louis, SNDdeN has continued to respond to the needs of the

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Women in a culinary art class

 

women and children of La Savane, since 2009. She administers the Notre Dame Family Education Center where about 120 women are enrolled in the basic literacy program, culinary and pastry art, sewing, embroidery and floral art. With the skills these women acquire from the center, they are able to start their own small businesses through which they generate some income to feed their families and pay tuition for their children. Many of the women now make uniforms for their children, and clothes for themselves and other families members. About 50 children, aged, 6 to 12 are also currently enrolled in the Notre Dame Family Education Center. The children learn basic reading, writing, and Math. In addition to learning to read and write, the children also engage in sporting and other extra-curricular activities. They receive one free meal a day from the center as well.

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Children having their meal

Thanks to Sister Jeannette’s determination, and support from the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Notre Dame Associates, Notre Dame Americorp Volunteers, and donors, most of the children at the Notre Dame Family Education Center who probably would never have had an opportunity in life for a formal education, can now read and write. Quite characteristic for a Sister of Notre Dame, Sr. Jeannette believes that “every child has a right to education because education is key to a brighter future.” Sr. Jeannette continues to proclaim God’s loving care   and goodness to the people of La Savane, Haiti.

 

Watch Video of Sister Jeannette Pierre-Louis in La Savane, Haiti: https://bit.ly/2PvI4fc

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2018 INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL: “WITH HER: A SKILLED GIRL FORCE

3International Day of the Girl is celebrated on 11th October every year. The aim is to empower girls and to highlight some of the challenges faced by girls around the world. Advocacy groups for the advancement of girls’ human rights under the auspices, Day of the Girl Summit, has in the past years organized 11 Days of Action (advocacy campaign) to highlight some of the challenges faced by girls and to promote girls’ human rights. The 11 Days of Action campaign begins on 1st October and culminates in the celebration of the International Day of the Girl. Different NGOs or coalition of NGOs choose to sponsor the event for each day of the campaign, focusing on a particular theme/s to promote girls’ empowerment. This year, SNDatUN co-sponsored the event of 2nd October, in collaboration with the Society of the Sacred Heart at the UN and Loretto at the UN. We hosted a twitter chat with a focus on; “The power of education for non-violence and gender equality.”

Below were some of the arguments we raised in our TWITTER CHAT:

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International Day of the Girl, UN Photo

  • “Without an education, a girl has limited options, can be kept in a cycle of poverty and will struggle to earn an income.” ​
  • “We need educated girls to take future leadership in our social, political and economic spheres to achieve gender balance, to help bring new perspectives, and create new ”
  • “Only 22% of the world’s parliamentarians are women. We have 14 female heads of state in the world and women account for only 4.4% of Fortune 500 CEOs.”
  • “Educated women invest over 90% of their earnings back into their communities compared to only 40% of men.”
  • ‘Education has a central part to play in challenging the negative social norms that drive gender-based violence’
  • A culture of non-violence contributes keeps girls in school and greatly diminishes the chances of them being used as a weapon of war (raped) or trafficked as slaves to armed groups.
  • Girls continue to be one of the most discriminated against groups in the world simply because they are young and female. Worldwide, up to 50% of sexual assaults are committed against girls under 16.
  • A culture of non-violence helps girls to live with a sense of personal safety on the way to and from school, as well as in school.

 

Learn more:  

International Day of the Girl: https://bit.ly/1OpUEHQ

Day of the Girl Summit 2018: 11 Days of Action: https://bit.ly/2OOHWu1  Students of Notre Dame Girls Academy, Amoyo, Nigeria, speak on Girls’ education: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1IJOBHnk-HvRk2x_pAKu-dpgLYMzLZyPX/view

SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME DE NAMUR WORKING: TOWARDS THE EMPOWERMENT OF RURAL WOMEN IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

4By Isabelle Izika and Marie-Josephine Ibanda, SNDdeN: The contribution of women to the socio-economic development of their communities, especially in developing countries, is a well-established fact.  As the former UN Secretary General Ban-ki-Moon pointed out, this contribution is based on an education that frees and empowers women. However, in some parts of the world, for example, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), this reality remains but a slogan for women living in rural areas. Thanks to the missionary efforts of Sisters of Notre Dame de

Sr. Marie-Josephine and members of GSEC      Namur (SNDdeN), and that of other Religious Congregations who have dedicated over a century to educating women and girls, preparing them to take their necessary roles in society as agents of development.  The first educated women in the DRC were products of schools administered by Catholic Religious Women. Until this day, in the rural province of Kwango, best schools, where girls can receive quality education and formation, are those run by Religious Congregations, including Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

Unfortunately, despite their level of education or professional training, women from this 5region of the DRC are still under-represented in the public sector, except in the teaching and healthcare professions, which are often not well paid. As a result, many women who do not feel attracted to either the teaching or healthcare profession end up in the informal sector (often subsistence agriculture). The income these women generate is barely sufficient for the enormous financial responsibilities they undertake in their families.  According to a recent survey conducted by SNDdeN among students in in many of the schools they administered in the DRC, nearly 90% of the students, especially girls, are financially supported by their mothers. This reality is barely acknowledged and valued.

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Member of GSEC receiving her savings

In an effort to offer some relief to the ever-increasing financial constraints many of these women face daily, and also to create a forum where they can come together for mutual support on other life issues, SNDdeN in the parishes of Pelende and Kitenda began an initiative known as “Groupe de Solidarité, d’Epargne et de Crédit (GSEC)” (Group of Solidarity, Saving and Credit). The women organize themselves in groups of 25 people at most. Each group elects a directing committee composed of a president, a secretary, a cashier-treasurer and three tellers. They have regular encounters according to the internal rules defined by the group. During these encounters, each person brings her saving into the solidarity cash box according to the sum fixed by the group. After several encounters, each woman at a given time asks for a credit to begin an activity that will generate income. This credit will be given with an interest rate and a date for repayment fixed by the group. The solidarity cash box allows them to intervene in extreme cases of illness or death in the family. It also provides means for paying their children’s school fees promptly.

 

In addition to financial activities, the women who are members of the GSEC get informed and inform each other about other subjects such as; hygiene, reproductive health, good manners, food security, and many more.

 

NOTRE DAME VIRTUAL SCHOOL: SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME de NAMUR EDUCATING FOR LIFE

pic-1Sister Kristin Hokanson, Principal, Notre Dame Virtual School: The Notre Dame Virtual School, which was founded in 2001, was inspired by St. Julie’s quote: “In the schools teach whatever is necessary for life.”  In today’s world, a solid understanding of technology and how to use technological resources is absolutely necessary for life.   The virtual school continues to update its mission by educating students and Sisters with the latest trends in technology. NDVS uses technology to further the Mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in new and diverse ways in their schools. A special focus of the virtual school is Digital Citizenship, and NDVS uses the resources of the International Society of Technology in Education to implement the Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship organized by the principles of respect, educate, and protect.

Each week, NDVS sends a mailing to schools with a wide variety of resources on technology, prayer and liturgy, and Catholic social teaching.  A prominent focus this year is the Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the United Nations.  Each month a Global Goal is selected as a focus, and resources are available on Notre Dame Online.

NDVS networks the Notre Dame Schools through a variety of ways which includewordpress-1 videoconferencing, coordinating web exchanges, using social media, professional development and participating in Notre Dame sponsored conferences.  Through this networking, schools and sponsored ministries share with each other the ways in which they live the Notre Dame charism, and a virtual community is created.                            2016 GPS Participants

wordpress-2Notre Dame Virtual School has assisted Notre Dame Academy (NDA) in Worcester, Massachusetts with the coordination of two special programs: the Global Perspective Studies (GPS) program and the Digital Citizenship programs. Through the World Language Department, GPS offers NDA students an opportunity to expand their knowledge of world cultures. The aspects of this program are: world language study, connection with other Notre Dame schools foreign and domestic, cultural contact, curriculum integration, service, travel, and a summative portfolio/reflection. Students who fulfill the requirements of the program receive a certificate upon graduation, which is noted on the final transcript.

NDA’s Digital Citizenship Program is required of all first-year students and teaches the worldpress-3nine elements of digital citizenship: Access, Commerce, Communication, Etiquette, Law, Rights and Responsibilities, Health and Wellness, and Security.  Students learn detailed issues in technology that are important for them to be global citizens.  At the completion of the program, students earn a Digital Citizenship Certificate, demonstrating competency in the appropriate and responsible use of technology.  Some students also go on to earn their Digital Citizenship Driver’s License, which indicates an advanced level of knowledge about these important issues.

Through both of these program, NDA Worcester and NDVS prepare students to become more aware of the challenges of our constantly evolving world.

 

 

NOTRE DAME EDUCATION CENTER, LAWRENCE, MA: SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF IMMIGRANTS

By Sister Eileen Burns, Executive Director, NDEC-L: In 1996, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur established Notre Dame Education Center-Lawrence (NDEC-L) on the former St. Mary’s High School site. Today 7 Sisters minister at NDEC-L with 6 more on our corporation and board of directors.

At the Center, Low-income, under educated adults are empowered to improve and enrich

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Sr. Kathleen Murphy with students

their lives and the lives of their families in an environment that is welcoming, respectful and dignified. Through access to quality direct services, collaboration, and advocacy for positive change, NDEC provides goal-oriented education, skills
training, language and literacy development, enrichment opportunities and support services.

 

newsletter-5NDEC assists and supports adult learners to achieve their next steps and reach their full potential as productive, contributing workers in the community and in society. Over the last 20 years, NDEC-L has provided nearly 7,000 adults, mostly immigrants, with English language classes, job skills training, high school equivalency test preparation, citizenship classes, and assistance to become U.S. citizens. Center programs make a difference in the lives of new immigrants and Lawrence residents by providing adult learners with the life skills needed to support better employment, a stable and consistent family life, and a commitment to the neighborhood community.

FOR GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING, EDUCATION AND TREATMENT ARE ESSENTIAL

NdianefoRoseBy Rose Ndianefo, SNDdeN: Notre Dame Medical Centre in Amoyo, Nigeria, provides antenatal care and delivery and child welfare services, including the following: counseling on the benefit of exclusive breast feeding; education on proper nutrition for pregnant women and children under the age of five; nutritional supplements for pregnant women and children; health education on malaria and Hepatitis B prevention, tests, and immunization programme for infants; vaccination of children and adults against Hepatitis B and meningitis; treatment for diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, urinary tract infection, malaria, typhoid fever, and many more as the situation arises. Staffed by doctors, nurses, midwives, Community Health Extension Workers, and laboratory technicians, the Centre serves about 230 women, 200 infants and children under the age of five, and 350 teenagers and adults, including orphaned and vulnerable children.

GLOBAL CONSULTATION ON EDUCATION: INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE

16-00019f_Website-banners-300x100During a 2014 online consultation regarding Sustainable Development Goals, the number one priority across all 9,000,000 respondents was a good education. Now, in preparation for a UN Conference in South Korea at the end of May, another global consultation has begun. Contribute your ideas about education for global citizenship: www.worldwewant2030.org (choose your language) and access the draft action agenda for the Conference: bit.ly/20NNz8C