Scholas Occurrentes awarded human rights prize

Scholas Occurrentes, the educational movement established by Pope Francis, is awarded The University of Seville’s ‘Juan Antonio Carrillo Salcedo’ human rights prize.

By Vatican News

The University of Seville has awarded the ‘Juan Antonio Carrillo Salcedo’ human rights prize to Scholas Occurrentes, an educational movement established by Pope Francis.

The prize, which is awarded every two years, recognises individuals or institutions that have distinguished themselves in the defence of human rights, whether in the political, social or educational sphere.

The had been four previous winners: Queen Sofia of Spain, Federico Mayor Zaragoza, Marcelino Oreja and Adela Cortina.

Del Corral: Active on many fronts

José María del Corral, President of the Scholas Occurrentes Foundation, said that “Scholas defends the idea that a meaningful life is a human right that cannot be violated, and we work on many issues to achieve this.”

“We tackle challenges such as suicide prevention in many parts of the world,” he continued, “and worked during the pandemic with the mental health of young people and adolescents in more than 30 countries during the pandemic, as well as combatting problems such as gangs in Panama, the Camorra in Naples and child abuse in Portugal, Mexico and Spain.”

“Many of us talk about human rights, but few are willing to get their hands dirty,” del Corral said.

Scholas Occurrentes arrived in Spain in 2015 and since then has actively collaborated with the local churches and the Ministries of Education, Youth and Social Affairs, carrying out various activities in different regions of the country.

Educational experiences around the world

Since its inception, Scholas has created educational programmes that have brought together young people from Israel and Palestine, Cuba and the United States, from different cultures and religions.

The movement has created chairs in public and private universities, and built sports schools in Mozambique, Iraq and Latin America. Scholas youth work from Haiti to restore dignity through education.

In addition, from Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Washington, Scholas teachers try to help young people find meaning and help dialogue overcome hatred and confrontation.

“Every day,” reads a note from the movement,  “Scholas’ young teachers encounter the real problems of children and adolescents: the lack of mental health, the abysmal increase in suicides, insecurity, addiction and corruption, abuse, child exploitation, bullying and cyber-bullying, and so many other pains that need listening, creativity and community.”

“Scholas is convinced”, the statement continues, “that the education system can be changed, from the bottom up and with everyone’s commitment. It defends the human rights of young people through tangible actions, regardless of their faith or socio-economic level, because it believes that the important thing is encounter and that diversity is what unites us.”

“This award belongs to the young people who commit their time and passion every day to reach more and more young people in the world, and to Pope Francis for having given his trust to this sacred institution.”