We can always do better

By @KChabaldas - #YourTurnChallenge - #day3

It’s almost 1am in the morning here in Ceuta and I’m just starting to write this post, but I feel with a need to ship and complete this one appropriately more than ever before. The commitment to completing the challenge is of course present. But in addition, a particular coincidence happened last night as I was “challenging” myself.

Winnie’s day2 question from yesterday got me thinking on having a meaningful impact, focusing on a more local perspective, and I even highlighted some Ceuta’s many charms by adding beautiful scenic pictures on yesterday’s post. With my mind on this challenge there was precisely a TV report show exclusively about stories happening in Ceuta and surrounding areas from the North of Morocco, broadcasted at prime time for the whole country. Coincidence? I would say so, but I have also met a good number of people who don’t believe in mere coincidences as such.

The report was a serious one, about a part Ceuta that many of us locals often forget about or even ignore. It’s about a highly deprived neighbourhood called “El Principe”, just minutes away from the border with Morocco. It’s known to be an area with social problems, lack of accessibility, deficient housing, extreme unemployment and many youngsters experiencing academic failure from a young age. In addition, El Principe increasingly faces important demographic challenges and higher population densities, a majority of them being of Muslim ethnic group. Personally, I see El Principe just as I could see other deprived areas in different cities like Madrid, Barcelona or London, for example. These neighbourhoods, around different cities, tend to be in bad shape, having people suffering difficulties and often experience rising crime rates. Nevertheless I must also say that on the occasional daytime when I’ve had to drive through the neighbourhood I haven’t felt unsafe, as most of the people are (of course) peaceful despite their difficulties.

ElPrincipe, Ceuta

Photo source: www.laciudadviva.org

The differentiating fact here is Ceuta being a Spanish enclave next to Morocco, just minutes away from “El Principe” which is an area with a lot of youngsters tend to feel very frustrated, unhappy and neglected by their government and even by other fellow citizens. All these conditions combined make this specific profile group of young people more vulnerable to extremists. It has been known that around 10 youngsters (there are over 8.000 people living in the neighbourhood) have been seduced by radicals to join wars.

The report focused primarily on what is behind some of the personal stories within the neighbourhood, and tried to show a perspective on why this is happening. To me the TV report is already a success because it has made some people think about such a severe global problem that we unfortunately still face in the 21st century.

Something that’s important to me

The day after such a TV report was leader of Spanish prime time with over 3.2 million viewers (plus many more online), I have to say that making a significant approach to solve these issues is important to me. Of course, it’s still the biggest challenge we face. An experienced writer in the field and a war journalist featured in the TV report among others, suggesting to focus on going deep to what the root causes of this issue could be. So as to we really ask ourselves:

  • Why is this happening? What has led to such a failure?
  • What can possibly happen on so many minds brought up in European countries that are capable of such things?
  • Probably, the western world (i.e. we) must have done something wrong too (for instance, the lack of importance given to these problems and to their situation)

A much needed approach would be looking at the education system worldwide. In Spain for example we are familiar with “the lost generation” (la generación perdida), which I happen to be a part of. A bunch of young people who are highly qualified, very well prepared, many have lived abroad but after we graduate it’s hard to find a place and a stable position in life as we so imagined (and we were pretty much “promised” by everyone).

If finding decently paid jobs and having a good work-life balance was not feasible for most of us, then why did we study in the way we did? Clearly the world that the education system is designed for no longer exists for us. So why carry on repeating the same mistakes? Why don’t we change the education methods and systems so that youngsters can find their place in life?

If now we are to “make” our own jobs, why don’t we each develop our creative potential in a different way? Why are we still following the traditional methods? A few weeks back I found out about Jose Antonio Marina while watching him interviewed in another popular TV show. A great creator and thinker who is sure that the country needs to head towards this direction with emphasis on aspects as familiar these days as creativity, emotional intelligence, empathy, shared knowledge, ethics and philosophy among others.

He has also founded universidaddepadres.es – probably the first online university exclusively for parents. It’s aimed at developing each kid’s individual talent and creative potential from his initial early days. I think it’s a fantastic step to start changing the education system to meet the needs that really matter these days. After all, education starts from your own home and such a tool will surely contribute to make big changes.

In my opinion, OuiShare’s quest for a fairer, more sustainable, well balanced and truly collaborative society is also a great voice to consider for global challenges. Perhaps extremely idealistic since as we mentioned before, it largely comes to attitudes of each individual. However, I see a lot of correlation with the much needed changes in the current, perhaps obsolete education system. A mix of both would be worth considering.

Finally, I would also like to acknowledge the historical contributions by thinkers and creative people, as well as the special impact that independent journalists (particularly war reporters in this case), high quality bloggers and social entrepreneurs must play in such a fast paced and rapidly changing world. We could surely learn from each other and do much better, why not give it a try?


This post has been submitted as #day3 of the #YourTurnChallenge – an experiment promoted by @winniekao and @ThisIsSethsBlog

Huge number of contributions by bloggers from all over the world: http://yourturnchallenge.tumblr.com/

My day3 contribution: http://yourturnchallenge.tumblr.com/post/108795494990/we-can-always-do-better

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