Ignacio Suñol SJ: "Fe y Alegría is possible in Africa"

Question. - Tell us three significant progresses were made by the International Federation of Fe y Alegría in 2011.

Answer. - If I have to say three progresses of 2011, I will pay attention to the followings: in 2011, the III Strategic Plan of the International Federation of Fe y Alegría has been consolidated. It has been set up the objectives of this plan, mainly, in the quality, not only in the quality in education but in the quality in the administration; in other words, "to do the right things and do it right". And, in a federative level, it has been the year of communication. We wanted to improve the external and internal communication. It has been better the contact between the interlocutors. The fundraising is another important matter in this year 2011.

Q. - You just come back Africa and visit Fe y Alegría in Chad. What do you mean "they understood what Fe y Alegría is there"?

A. - The visit has been very satisfactory. I have had the opportunity of doing a very real visit. I went to the area to see the projects every day. There I could see what Fe y Alegría is because of the enthusiastic and dynamic pedagogical team works and they do their tasks very well. They are very worried about the train- the -training. Other point is that the processes are in connection to the educative structures of the country, in that way the State gives qualify persons to work with the teams of Fe y Alegría. You can observe the participation of the community. The citizens help in building of schools or designing plans. These key factors make the ways of being in Fe y Alegría.

Q. - How many schools are there in Chad?

A. - Since 2007, there are 17 active schools in the area of Mongo. Moreover, we work in the Bitkine area with other pedagogic team in 8 schools. We are talking about a total of 25 schools where 6,000 students are being teaching.



Q. - Do the community respect the gender equality in the schools of Chad?

A. - In Chad, schools of Fe y Alegría have 50% girls and 50% boys. It is a society too sensitive about this matter.

Q. - I guess that a dream is to extend Fe y Alegría in other countries of Africa...

A. - In my opinion, the important thing is to develop other kinds of actions in different parts of the country. Fe y Alegría in Chad must be an example.

Q. - How is the relationship with the Chad authorities?

A. - I think that we have always had a good relationship.

Q. - From Entreculturas, we have in mind to Haiti. Could you tell us how you have seen the process of Fe y Alegría in Haiti from your privileged experience? And what lights' hope do you see?

A. - I went to Haiti in 2010. When the earthquarter happened, Fe y Alegría already had some significant proposes for Haiti. After the earthquarter, it is very important the education. It is similar to Chad, there is an offer to grow in education. In this sense, Haiti needs to measure your forces and do not forget the quality.

Q. - How are people living the European Crisis in Latin America?

A. - As for financial support, we are going to suffer due to the situation in Europe. We will need to search other financial scenes and ways.

Q. - What are the challenges of the International Federation for 2012?

A. -We have to continue and to try to advance with the program and projects in course and from last year in a positive way.

According to Ignacio Suñol SJ, the introduction process of Fe y Alegría should be slow and an "African Fe y Alegría". It should be different to the Latin Fe y Alegría because the context is very different.

Ignacio Suñol SJ gave a speech in Entreculturas head office about the last International Congress of Fe y Alegría. In 2011, the congress was carried out under the motto "Identity and Spirituality at the service of the mission". The environment has changed during last years. Most Constitutions of countries, where Fe y Alegría is helping, have changed and introduced secular spaces. Moreover, the religious pluralism is a number higher every time. And as consequence, Fe y Alegría feels the ground began to shaking and the possibility of an identity crisis comes up in this movement.

"It never exists an identity crisis", affirm Ignacio, "Fe y Alegría has the necessary identity to keep a good fundamentals of action". This congress concluded with five essential ideas:


  • To active the Nº 7 Program which is based in Human-Christian values.
  • To motivate Fe y Alegría people.
  • To educate for ecumenical conversations with other religions and religious views of the world
  • To work our identity in all levels.
  • To know how to live in this plural World. To adapt us to ethical manners of coexistence which are expressed in Constitutions. To increase the rapprochement between Ministries of Education and States.

Next XLIII International Congress will take place in Bolivia from 6 to 9 of November under the motto "Inclusive Education and the challenges". It will go into this topic in depth to know the different ways of exclusion and discrimination in our society: the challenges of Fe y Alegría are there.