Dr. Maria Paquita-Bonnet, also known as Dr. Kit, is a professor in the Programme for Business Administration Graduate. The service-learning approach was the most appropriate means she found to develop his passion for working with convicted people. Throughout this program, she had the chance to visit the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) with his students and learn firsthand about the difficult conditions of the convicts.
According to Dr. Kit, the first hours of her visit completely changed her perspective, leading her to encourage more people to understand the problem, find ways to help in the rehabilitation of the convicts, and provide restorative justice for them and their families. Since then, she has worked over five school terms with 198 students to provide convicts with services in the way of different workshops and seminars on personal effectiveness, spiritual formation, value formation, health and well-being, mental health, computer literacy, teaching and learning methodologies for teachers in correctional facilities
In addition to encouraging students and teachers to help this vulnerable sector, the programme also provides real assistance to communities. The professor of Economics, Dr. Mitzie Irene Conchada, has integrated the SL into the theoretical classes and has taken the students to do fieldwork to help them develop the community profiles. Her students could witness the situation of poverty in the country, but they were also able to help community leaders and local organizations to analyze the needs of their members in order to develop and improve the local programs. The Center for Social Concern and Action (COSCA) believes that this is the time to boost an era when empathy and engagement not only are required in cutting-edge social actions, but also an ongoing effort to help address social issues on a larger scale.
Since 2011, the Strategic Plan of De La Salle University promotes the inclusion of service-learning in at least one academic program per School. Based on initiative, students know that any course they have chosen can turn into an opportunity to help society, especially the most vulnerable groups. Thus the SL encourages the University students and professors to take part in courses that contribute to social change and professional development.
THE PROJECT IN NUMBERS
UNISERVITATE is a global and networked programme that is established through a process of permanent development and the integration of new actors and institutions from a series of regional hubs strategically distributed around the world.