9 January, 2019
A solidarity High School in Torrejón de Ardoz

By: Eugenia Nieto, Head of English Department at IES Veredillas

Las Veredillas is a Secondary Education Centre that is located in Torrejón de Ardoz (Madrid).

Our educational project promotes quality education based on democratic values, solidarity, tolerance, and mutual respect.

In order for these attitudes to take root in our students, we try to help them become aware of the needs and interests of the world that surrounds them both locally, nationally and internationally.

For this purpose we have participated as volunteers two consecutive years in campaigns organized by the Social Promotion Foundation. The first year we helped Syrian refugees in Za’atari and the second year we collaborated with a project aimed at facilitating access to water in territories of Gaza and the West Bank.

We think that activities of this type awaken in the students the desire to better understand the global reality in which they live adopting a critical and reflective attitude. At the same time, it makes them feel the responsibility to contribute – to the extent of their possibilities – to make that reality better. Many discover, for example, that they are more consumer than they thought and that they have more than they need.

According to the head of the Department of after-school, ‘the market is an opportunity for students to learn to value things, seeing that at home they have objects that for them no longer have a useful life and yet can be of much use to others’.

A professor of biology commented that in countries like Germany this type of initiatives is much more widespread. “In Spain,” he says, “there is almost a cult of private property and a mentality that products are worthless if they are not completely new.”

We think that the interrelation of all sectors of the educational community is also favored since teachers, parents, students and non-teaching staff are involved and dedicate their time and energy in a cooperative manner.

A corner of the market with some teachers and mothers of students

The Solidarity Market had its origin in ‘The Day of the Institute’, which is what we call the school festival we celebrated in the month of April. Each department organizes a series of activities for this day: competitions, championships, football matches, games, theater, and musical performances. In the English department, we wanted to do something different and decided to set up a charity sale with all kinds of objects: collections of stories, comics, novels, history books, atlases, DVDs, decorative objects, ornaments, accessories and a long list of other objects.

A group of volunteers prepares for sale this material donated by the entire educational community. For this, they dedicate hours of their free time to select and classify it.

There are also other tasks, for example, pick up the bags that are brought and take them to a safe place or go through the classes encouraging everyone (in word and with posters) to bring things to sell and money to buy!

The previous phase of awareness-raising is, above all, under the responsibility of the AMPA (the Association of mothers and fathers of students). It recalls the goal of the campaign and the importance of everyone participating. The concierge and cleaning staff are the ones who help us most in the collection of the material. Last year one of the janitors was responsible for placing some posters at the entrance to raise awareness among students about the importance of facilitating access to water for those who lack this essential resource.

This year we have proposed to make the diffusion beforehand in order to have a greater echo among the families, especially those new to the institute and to be able to count on the help of former students, who are already many because the institute celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2006.

We would like to raise more funds and encourage other schools in Torrejón to also organize activities of this type. We want to continue being a solidarity institute committed to solidarity!

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