Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Two Kinds of Community Organizing

Kim Groen,
Bethel University

(1) Two speakers that had worked previously at CGE shared their personal past histories. They were very painful not only to hear, but to have known they had experienced and survived.

Presently both women are largely involved in Base Christian Communities that practice liberal theology. The BCC strongly focuses on acts of services, and how to aid the communities in which the resident reside. Each woman shared how they received education, participated in marches, cleaned neighborhoods, and advocated for transportation through their BCC. In a way, BCC is akin to community organization projects that many social workers partake in.

Listening to Speakers

(2) We visited a school that was created fifteen years ago out of the need and interest for the community to have a kindergarten and preschool for the children, as many parents did not want to send their children to a public school (or, school at all).

Since the school started, they now have expanded up to grade three, and hope to add a new grade every summer up until grade six. Four students are now in Universidad (University) since the school has been implemented. Before, few kids made it past third grade.

My host Mom works at this school and I had the opportunity to spend a few hours there in the morning before the rest of the students came. Many Mexican schools do not provide breakfast, but this school in particular does as many students would otherwise not have a balanced, nutritious meal.

Another way that the school is unique, is that it emphasizes the whole person. The school educates the students not only in classes such as Math, English as a second language, Spanish, science, etc. but tried to instill morals and values, emphasizing how to share, care, and get along with others.

This week has been valuable as social workers, because we have seen and learned how individuals have come together to form groups and organize in response to community needs. It’s important to talk to the people within the community to learn what the individuals´ needs are, and then use that information to organize.

Health Care System in Mexico

Kim Groen Bethel University

One guest speaker spoke about the health care system in Mexico, and problems faced by many Mexicans.

We learned about the hierarchy of the hospitals in Mexico. From previous conversations with UNAM students we had learned that the problem with Mexico’s health care system was opposite of the USA in that they had insurance for everybody, but not a quality of services, and this was reflected in the presentation.

What stood out most in the presentation to me was that in Mexico there is an emphasis on the person, in that there are services that seek to understand what is going on in an individual´s life, and how that may contribute to their symptoms. There is a strong push for traditional medicine as well as practice.

The speaker emphasized the importance of seeking feedback from the individuals in which programs are geared toward, because often great programs are designed but unused because it doed not take into account the individuals whom the program was intended for.