On May 26th, Maria Rosa Tapia, the coordinator of the Uniservitate Global Programme, started her tour of the Asian regional hub.
The Assam Don Bosco University (ADBU), located in the northeast region of India, was the venue for the meeting and greeted the team of De La Salle University, the Uniservitate regional hub in Asia, represented by Marietta Guanzon and Jayson Moredo.
The purpose of the visit was to strengthen links, share training and learning sessions and get to know the projects and experiences promoted in the institution.
Image: Morning assembly
The first day was perfect for a warm welcome to the entire Uniservitate team by Fr. Joseph Nellanatt (Pro Vice Chancellor), Dr. Riju Sharma (Director of Humanities and Social Sciences), and faculty and students in the atrium of the Tapesia Campus for the morning assembly
Then next on the agenda included a meeting with teachers and students to share a presentation on the implementation of the Uniservitate programme and the different service-learning experiences followed up in the institution.
In the afternoon, María Rosa Tapia gave a conference on “Service-Learning: Educational Innovation and Social Transformation,” where 45 authorities and educators participated. This activity was part of the series “20 Training Sessions in 20 Cities” to celebrate the 20th anniversary of CLAYSS, the service-learning centre that coordinates the Uniservitate global programme.
On the second day, under the theme “Solidarity & Sustainability. Building Resilient Communities through Service-Learning”, the official launch of the Service-Learning programs was held to celebrate the initiatives of the host University in front of a large audience and representatives of the invited organizations, including: UNICEF; Directorate of Health Services, Government of Assam; Director of National Service Scheme; The Union-Delhi and the regional team of Uniservitate. Four publications from the SL projects were also presented during the meeting:
- the research report conducted by the ADBU with The Union and Directorate of Health Services form the Government of Assam on tobacco use in the department. As a result of this project, the Tapesia Campus was officially declared “Tobacco Free”.
- the Grassroots Comics, produced by ADBU students to promote communication for development through comics, with the particular support of the Uniservitate programme.
- the book of traditional recipes from Northeast India to promote a balanced and nutritious diet as part of ADBU’s project with UNICEF.
- the National Service Scheme’s report on the activities in which students can participate and the story accompanied by a video of the actions carried out by ADBU students.
The activities organized for the following days comprised visits to the community to know the projects at their implementation sites and valuable meetings with the students and community partners engaged with different service-learning initiatives.
The visit to “The Mushroom Project” and “Safe Drinking Water Project.” accompanied by Dr. Riju Sharma, Alinisha Boro (SL Coordinator), Dr. Tanya (Head of the Department of Education) and Dr. Boni and Ranjita (SL Faculty Supervisors from the Department) allowed the Uniservitate team to know the educational centers where ADBU students develop their SL practices: Kamarkuchi School and Goriaghuli Anganwadi Center. In the latter center, two other SL projects are being developed to provide drinking water and to develop a community orchard.
The meetings also counted with a space to celebrate the wide cultural diversity of the region, with the active participation of ADBU students and members of the community in a lively program that included dance, music and various artistic performances.
Image: Azara Campus, ADBU
The last day was devoted to touring the Azara and Kharguli campuses to continue sharing experiences and knowledge in interactive and participatory sessions with faculty members and students about the topic: “Approaches and Challenges of Service-Learning: Building Community Partnerships”.
Image: María Rosa Tapia and Rev. Fr. Stephen Mavely, Vice Chancellor of ABDU
Finally, Rev. Fr. Stephen Mavely, Vice Chancellor of Assam Don Bosco University and Dr. Riju Sharma welcomed María Rosa Tapia and shared their views on the development of the Uniservitate Programme to promote the institutionalization of SL at their institution. In addition, they left a heartfelt message for us on how adversity can become a valuable learning experience to better oneself.
The warm welcoming of the entire ADBU educational community to the Uniservitate team made this a memorable encounter to continue strengthening the links between the participants of the programme and to move forward together in the construction of a more fraternal and supportive society.
Thank you ADBU!