Fe y Alegría is a popular education movement that works with underprivileged and excluded sectors in Latin America, Europe, and Africa to promote comprehensive development and participation in order to achieve social transformation and improve lives. Fe y Alegria’s work is carried out through a network of schools, job training centers, formation institutes, research centers, and radio stations. It originated in Venezuela in 1955 and has now spread to 22 countries.
In Venezuela, schools across the country face immense challenges to stay open, provide food and school supplies, and often lack electricity and running water. Sadly, as a result, approximately three million of Venezuela’s eight million school-age children have dropped out of school.
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Despite the adverse conditions in Venezuela, Fe y Alegría remains committed to its mission of enabling children from marginalized communities to reach their full potential, with the hope that they, in turn, are equipped to transform their communities and their own reality.
José María Vélaz S.J. Founder of Fe y Alegría.
Fe y Alegría is a heart that began to beat in 1955, in the populous neighborhood that we know today as 23 de Enero, in Caracas. Thanks to the initiative of Father José María Vélaz and a group of young people university students who were sensitized to the social reality of the most impoverished communities, the work began through the act of generosity of Abrahán Reyes, a worker who, together with his wife, offered their house as the site of the first school.
Today in Venezuela Fe y Alegría has 177 formal education schools serving 107,035 people. Another 2,033 participate in job training centers, 13,599 study through the IRFA Fe y Alegría radio education system, and 2,411 young people and adults study in its 5 university institutes. Despite the difficulties of these times, the teachers and workers of Fe y Alegría continue to serve the population that needs it most, under the premise of Father Vélaz that “the education of the poor does not have to be a poor education” www.feyalegria.edu.ve
This is Fe y Alegría’s most extensive program. In the educational centers of Fe y Alegría, a comprehensive educational proposal is developed for children and young people from the most impoverished sectors. It has 176 schools at the different levels of education: elementary school, middle school, high school, and postsecondary, as well as special education and bilingual intercultural education.
Fe y Alegría promotes the training of young people between the ages of 15 and 25 who are neither employed nor studying to learn a trade in order to encourage them to return to school through courses that combine work with personal development. Fe y Alegría Training is a program that was born in March 1998 and has 71 centers nationwide.
Fe y Alegría university centers are an option of Popular Higher Education for life and are meeting places for university professional training with an emphasis on human formation, based on human and Christian values and academic excellence. It privileges the neediest people and communities of the population in order to support them in the recognition and development of their values and potentialities in full use of their freedom. It has offices in Maracaibo, Barquisimeto, Guanarito and Caracas.
Founded in 1975, it is present in 21 states and develops literacy programs and activities, first and second stage basic education, and technical secondary education in the youth education modality. They currently offer blended and distance education to young people and adults over 15 years of age from primary to technical secondary education with the specialties of Administrative Services (Accounting and Information Technology) and Graphic Technology. It also serves the population with special and intercultural bilingual characteristics.
This is the center of the service of the programs, which stimulates, guides and accompanies educational processes, to generate pedagogical theory around Popular Educational Models in the formal and non-formal sphere. It was founded in Maracaibo in 1991 and took the name of Father Joaquín López López, founder and director of Fe y Alegría in El Salvador, who was savagely murdered along with five other Jesuit colleagues and two service women, on November 16, 1989.