From 16 to 18 May 2014 a Learning to Live Together Workshop took place in the North of the Dominican Republic (Cabrera, Maria Trinidad Sanchez Province). Eighteen adolescence (6 girls and 13 boys) from the communities of Cabrera participated in the workshop.
The workshop included a panel discussion with three religious and spiritual leaders of the community: Father Hipolito Cruz (Catholic Church), Pastor Juan Alberto Marínez (Bible Temple) and Josefina Barceló (Dominican Association of Reiki). The purpose of the panel discussion was to explain to the particiants the main differences between the three religions and beliefs and to answer to the many questions they had. Each leader presented the main concepts of their religion or faith in an atmosphere of harmony and respect. At the end of the session the young participants decided to organize, in the near future, interfaith meetings and visits to further learn about these religions.
Religious leaders were surprised about the work that the GNRC does with the young boys and girls of Cabrera and expressed their desire to actively engage in the project.
“You are doing a fantastic job, we must work together! My dream is to create a community center to work with the youth in Cabrera”, said Father Hipolito. “Working with young people is very important, we are happy to invite you to our communities” said Juan Alberto Marínez.
The workshop is part of an Ethics Education project that the GNRC is implementing in the North of the Dominican Republic, under the leadership of Josefina Barceló, president of the Dominican Association of Reiki and active member of the GNRC, and with the support of Marta Cabrera of El Bien.Com Marta Cabrera, also member of the GNRC.
The town of Cabrera has a population of about 36,000 inhabitants, with a significant percentage of children and adolescents. Some of the main problems that children and youth face in Cabrera are: dysfunctional families, high levels of alcoholism and low education of parents and teachers, cultural apathy, inadequate educational facilities for the recreation of children, lack of cultural and sports clubs for adolescents and youth.
The GNRC began implementing the Learning to Live Together Program in Cabrera in early 2013 with the aim of promoting a culture of peace and a positive and responsible citizenship, and of empowering children and young people to become agents of change in their communities.
One of the main achievements of the The Learning to Live Together Program implemented during 2013 and 2014 was the creation of a youth group called “Youth C +” (Cabrera, Clan, Change, Consciousness, Cooperative, Collaboration, Commitment), committed to becoming agents of change by reducing and eliminating the factors that negatively impact the youth in Cabrera and by developing community projects aimed at improving the environment, creating healthy and peaceful recreational activities and promoting social development and family integration.
Through the training program, the C + youth have become a benchmark for other youth groups in the area.
The workshop included four new partipants who may hereafter join the Youth C + group.
“I was fascinated, I felt very well, of course I want to return”, said a girl participant from the Naranjito community.
Five more workshops with adolescents, youth, families, community leaders and religious leaders will be held between May 2014 and November 2015.