Welcome to our Erasmus Plus Blog for Sacred Heart Schools.
This Blog is designed to stimulate debate, get ideas, ask questions and maybe find some solutions to the immigration crisis currently affecting Europe.
Our four schools, St. Catherine’s College, Armagh, La Perverie, Nantes, Sacré-Coeur, Zaragoza and Mount Anville, Dublin have all witnessed migration in various forms.
As members of the European Union, our countries are now facing an immigration crisis of unparalleled significance which some consider to be the greatest human challenge since the Second World War.
During our initial meeting in Armagh, we agreed to post video updates, add links to interesting news stories, chat and debate issues in a bid to become more open-minded about the challenges and opportunities afforded by immigration.
We were also trained in film-making skills so that we can create short films on the subject of immigration to be shown in the Market place Theatre in Armagh in Spring 2017.
We will use this forum for information and dialogue in a bid to become better informed about the choices that we can make. As a body of students and teachers perhaps we can inspire others to become more involved in bringing about a movement for change within our own schools and communities.
Why are we doing this project?
The key rationale behind this project is to raise awareness about immigration into and within the European Union. The EU has since World War 2 seen the largest migration across its boarders. EU Statistics demonstrate that during 2012, there were an estimated 1.7 million immigrants to the EU-27 from countries outside the EU-27. In addition, 1.7 million people previously residing in one of the EU Member States migrated to another Member State. This has placed considerable strain on resources across the European Union. Conflict in North Africa and in the Middle East has also lead to the European Union being seen as the only safe haven for those fleeing from conflict and persecution.
Our project aims to inform our students as to why this migration is taking place, to examine the impact it is having on host countries, to highlight the difficulties faced by migrants as they search for new homes, to ask why it is that so many people see Europe as their only choice. We aim to engage our students’ in a project where they will examine the impact of immigration on their own schools’ and areas in which they live.
This project is being carried out internationally as each of our countries has experienced migration to different degrees and with different impacts on each host country. The EU is playing a major role in providing safe haven for new entrants and the dissolving of EU Borders has seen significant numbers of economic migrants traveling in search of work. In many instances host countries and migrants have encountered difficulties and most recently Pope Francis commented that Europe has lost its soul. At a recent visit to the European Council in Strasbourg Pope Francis commented that he believed that Europe was “losing it’s soul” and went on to describe Europe as a “grandmother, no longer fertile and vibrant”. The challenge for the European Union has been to deal with the vast loads of immigrants who are clinging to boats in the Mediterranean. Pope Francis suggested that a “United Response” was required within the European Union and went on to suggest that there was currently a lack of cooperation and mutual understanding within the European Union with regards to immigration. Pope Francis suggested that;
“The absence of mutual support within the European Union runs the risk of encouraging… solutions which fail to take into account the human dignity of immigrants, and thus contribute to slave labour and continuing social tensions.”
The European Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values, which are set out in Article I-2, are common to every country of the European Union. Moreover, the societies of the Member States are characterised by pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men.
As Catholic schools formed under the guiding principles of the ‘Society of the Sacred Heart’ we have a strong ethos of social justice. As Catholic Educators we feel that it is our responsibility to encourage within our pupil bodies the understanding, tolerance and mutual respect which will allow our young people to become members of the European Union who see the Union as not an ageing Grandmother but as a young, vibrant, exciting collection of like mined states with an open door policy to the sick, poor and those fleeing persecution. By working on a project that examines immigration within each of our countries we feel that we can work to fulfill the objectives of our schools’ and the underlining principles of the European Union.
“In a world badly in need of wisdom, a global vision and a capacity to rise beyond individualism, we must seek to give young people real confidence. They need to acquire the good judgement that knows the real reasons for their worth. They want a better world and many of them have the idealism to do something about it. The Sacred Heart educator aims to walk with them, helping them to begin to acquire not only the knowledge and skills but also the staying power and unselfishness that over a lifetime turns dreams into reality, however great, however modest.” (Forward Heritage & Horizon, 2010)