Ecole Catholique Associée Sainte Josephine Bakhita

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Ecole Catholique Associée Sainte Josephine Bakhita was founded in 2005 to fight against marginalisation and build a culture of peace.

The ECA School Director. The ECA School Director.

The Am-timan Catholic Primary School was founded by the Catholic Church in 2005 to fight against marginalisation, counter racism and caste or clan discrimination, and build a culture of peace.

The school welcomes Catholic, Protestant and Muslim students, but above all the children of blacksmiths, who are often excluded from school - and face serious social exclusion problems - because they are designated as being of a lower caste than others, or even quasi-slaves.

Its main work focuses on teaching and peacebuilding and dispute resolution projects with its students, as well as maintaining a nursery to help with reforestation.

Student ambassadors in their mediation office. Student ambassadors in their mediation office.

Since the school's establishment, its directors have benefited from two main sets of training: one in 2010 in Am-timan, and the other in Mongo in 2012. Organised by the National Catholic Teaching Board, the training helped them develop their skills in training students to become peace mediators and ambassadors.

The school has built an office for these mediators, called the 'City of Peace'. Staffed by three student mediators during recreational hours, the other mediators can bring them disputes or disagreements which are then resolved together.

The school has become a model for others in the area. Its students are very well-behaved, and the student ambassadors and mediators have been able to help resolve other disputes in their families and neighbourhoods. It has 358 pupils who benefit directly from its training, and reaches more than 1,000 outside of its classrooms.

The school's big difficulty is that it only covers primary education. With no facilities for the student ambassadors to continue their work through secondary schooling, its good work risks being undone once the students have left.

The school has two main partners: the Apostolic Curate of Mongo, and the Catholic National Teaching Board.

Classes in progress at the ECA. Classes in progress at the ECA.


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