My visit to Satunama, by Yoko Aria, JAPSE (Japan Association for Promotion of Social Education)

Visit to Satunama – a non-profit organisation working for people’s empowerment through facilitation, advocacy, and training

– We 16 members, from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Japan, Germany, Korea, Laos, New Zealand, visited the office of SATUMANA. It took an hour half by car from our hotel in downtown. Its building is an old big house with a lot of plants as like big garden.

SATUNAMA―experiences for empower the people to be leaders of every society

After explanation about the ambitious purpose of ASPBAE by Siriwardana, ASPBAE staff and self-introduction of each participant including three persons from SATNAMA, we started to hear the lecture about the outline of SATUNAMA from Mun Hanir, the head of it.

From this lecture, the origin of SATURAMA was founded by Unitarian Selfish Company from CANADA for supporting mothers suffered from Second World War in in this district in 1945. They started people-empowerment programs in 1970s and in 1998 they made wider structure of their activities and took their name ‘SATUNAM’ reflecting this advancement.

Through the questions from participants, we could learn about its challenging program ‘Civic Education for Future Indonesian Leaders, with the historical situation after 1998 with input from P. Harono Habi, an experienced member of SATUNAMA. We also learn the way of spreading their challenging educational ideas. They support the alumina of their class to start similar program at their districts for themselves.

We also learn about educational programs of SATRAMA now. Their long term classes take one month and their students are served their accommodation within and surround its office building. Students are selected through their experiences of activities. Although at the first stage student did not only take the class free but also were served the traffic fee, the student support conditions were gradually down and now they have to pay small money for class and without traffic support.

 Teachers training for educational reform in Myanmer

From our visiting members, we have two reports. One is about experiences of teachers training center in Myanmer. Hawng Tsai, Programme Officer of Thinking Classroom foundation (TCF) of Myanmar introduced vivid ongoing experiences of it. They started local meetings for teachers training, with gathering not only teacher but also parents and another. They will also national meetings in a bottom up structure from local meetings for targeting educational reform at the moment of democratizing society in Myanmer.

 Beyond passivity―some practical experiences in JAPAN

The other report from us is practical experiences of Development Education Association & Resource Center (DEAR) in JAPAN. Makiko Kondo, a core member of DEAR reported their practical experiences of their educational programs. One example is a case of some young mothers’ class. The other is the experience of some programs in districts where people terribly suffered from the big disaster in 2011. They tried to encourage mothers and residents to change the conditions for themselves beyond their passivity, about some restriction for a park in the former case and about the process of reconstruction in the latter case.

Although political situations are deferent from each of three countries and also among the countries of participants, in our discussions we could mention the vivid essence of each experience especially about educational practices and movements for democratic and political empowerment of people.

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