How the Christian Brothers at La Salle University impact in the community
Christian Brothers at La Salle University was found in 1680 by Jean Baptist De La Salle who was the Patron Saint of Teachers. After seeing what children of the artisans and the poor families were suffering, De La Salle formed a school masters that was dedicated to teaching and Christian education. In 24th June 1681, with the desire and dedication to promote education among children from poor families, De La Salle housed the first teachers who could helped him achieve his dreams in his own home where he stayed with them. In order to reach the wider community, he moved, together with his teachers, out of his house in order to stay together in the community. Consequently, they found the Institute of the Brothers of the Christians Schools, which is popularly known as Christian Brothers. Therefore, the primary aim of the institute was to offer education for poor children whose parents could not afford quality education in different parts of the world. The institute now educates about 1 million students in 82 countries every year, touching lives of poor children in different parts of the world. However, currently, the role of Christian Brothers in the community has expanded, as it now engages in socio-economic activities and programs. Based on the need to help more poor students, the Christian Brothers at De La Salle University and other universities such as Lewis University have come out strongly to impact the community in positive ways as discussed in this paper.
Overview of Christian Brothers
Christian Brothers is a global network of teachers and scholars who are guided by the Roman Catholic mission of serving others through education that embraces all humanities regardless of their race, social status, or gender (Paul 3). The operations of Christian Brothers are mainly based on what the founder of the institute, De La Salle, stood for that is: service to the community. Currently, the membership of Christian Brothers has gone beyond 5,000 and it operates in about 82 countries in different parts of the world.
Many people mistake Christian Brothers to be Catholic priests. Nevertheless, this is not true because they do not have sacramental responsibilities and they do not also take holy orders. De La Salle made sure that the Brothers to not take the responsibility of a priest in order to give them opportunity and enough time to only focus on the ministry of teaching. On many cases, the brothers live on campuses with students. This gives them the opportunity to freely interact with students and change their lives in a positive way. Even though some of the Christian Brothers put on traditional attires that are almost similar to that of Catholic priests, others are less formal and they wear the normal dresses. In many cases, they are referred to by their first name, which is a sign of familial respect and affection.
For many Brothers, teaching and working in schools is not enough (La Salle University 1). As a result, they work directly with the communities where they offer direct services to the poor and helping needy children such as street urchins. At the same time, they help in facilitating livelihood projects that are aimed at improving lives of community members. Therefore, Christian Brothers, apart from teaching in various schools globally, they offer a number other important services to the community.
Impact of Christian Brothers to the Community
The main impact of Christian Brother in the community is the increased education among poor children in the areas and countries that they operate. The main concern among Brothers is the education needs of the poor people who are not in a position to pay the rising cost of education (La Salle University 1). Just like the founder of the institute realized before initiating Christian Brothers, there are a significant number of children from poor families who are not going to schools, and even those who enroll in various education centers in the world receive poor quality of education. Therefore, Brothers are actively taking parts in offering quality education to needy children and students in schools in 82 countries in the world. Unlike other teachers, Brothers not only teach students but also make them learn practical skills that they can use in the real life situations. In addition, they are also acting as mentors to students. Brothers are teaching about 900,000 students in about 80 countries in the world. Therefore, Brothers have helped children from poor families to acquire holistic quality education that they can apply in the future to evade poverty and to live a holistic life. More students in various communities are able to get quality education due to the relentless effort being made by Christian Brothers.
Christian Brothers has also helped in establishing and building new learning institutions in various communities globally (Armin 2). For instance, in 1905, the institute established St. Yon School that enrolled thousands of students from poor background. Lack of enough number of learning institutions is one of the main reasons why poor children are not able to access quality education. The available schools are not able to accommodate all children in the community. However, the Christian Brothers have helped in solving the problem by building new schools in areas where there are shortage of learning institutions. For instance, in the France alone, the Christian Brothers has established 68 primary schools, 92 middle schools, and 53 general high schools. The institute has established schools in both developed and developing countries in different parts of the world. It has not only build primary and high school, but also colleges and other higher learning institutions. Just like their Brothers at De La Salle University, those at Lewis University have also worked hand in hand with other institutes to establish new learning institution to bridge the shortage. Hence, Christian Brothers has established many learning schools in various communities, which is now enabling many students from poor families to access education.
The Christian Brothers also offer scholarship to needy students. A significant number of low-income students have benefited from college and university scholarships that are offered by the institution. Apart from scholarship, they also offer grants to needy students in different parts of the world who are faced by financial challenges of paying for their college and university fees. Consequently, through higher education scholarship programs, the Christian Brothers has managed to reverse the cycle of poverty that is affecting many people, especially in developing countries in African, Asia, and Latin America. Brothers at Lewis University are also working with the university to offer scholarship to some of the needy students coming from poor households. As a result, needy students have been able to get college and university education due to scholarship offered by the Christian Brothers.
Offering scholarship is not only helping needy students, but also their families and the community at large. By offering scholarship, Christian Brothers is helping poor families to save money, which they can use to invest in various economic activities, leading to a reduction in the level of poverty. At the same time, scholarship can help in reducing the ant-social activities such as robbery and prostitution that is common among young uneducated people. Therefore, the scholarship also helps in creating a safe and healthy community.
In addition, it is helping in reducing shortage of teachers in various schools. Many schools in developing countries are experiencing acute shortage of teachers, which is affecting the quality of education (Christian Brother University 2). Nevertheless, the problem has been solved in some parts of the world as Brothers are coming in to bridge the gap in the shortage of teachers. They help by teaching in various learning institutions. Apart from offering education to needy students, Brothers also ensure that students who are through with their college or university education get absorbed in the job market. For instance, they collaborate with various organizations to offer internship opportunities to needy students who have completed their college education. Besides, they also search for employment opportunities for sponsored students. As a result, the Christian Brothers ensures economic and social sustainability in the communities by offering quality education and employment opportunities to needy students.
It is not only Christian Brothers at De La Salle University that is dedicated to enhancing education among the poor children in different parts of the world, but also its affiliate university, Lewis University is doing the same. Brothers from Lewis University are working together with other 84,000 male and female are teaching in different parts of the world (Lewis University 1). Brothers from De La Salle and those from Lewis University are working together to promote education in different parts of the world.
Therefore, the main impact of the Christian Brothers in the community is the increase in the number of poor students that have been able to gain quality education. It is through quality education that the society is able to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. Education also gives students from poor families an opportunity to climb the social ladder, especially through acquiring gainful employment. Hence, by increasing education opportunities for the poor, Christian Brothers is significantly impacting the communities in which they operate. Education is one of the most important social institutions in any community.
Apart from offering high quality education services to the communities, Christian Brothers at De La Salle and Lewis universities are also engaged in advocacy that is aimed at changing the fate the poor in the world. It recognizes the fact that the level of poverty has increased in different parts of the world due to the structured marginalization that ensures that the poor remain in poverty forever (La Salle University 1). Therefore, it is advocating for the poor who have become voiceless or lack power to make their concerns heard by the relevant authorities. Consequently, Christian Brothers, in conjunction with Presentation Brothers, came up with an NGO called Edmund Rice International (ERI) that is aimed at ensuring that international communities such as the UN address problems facing poor people globally. The effort by the ERI to reduce poverty has yielded some results, as the UN is now coming up with the policies that are aimed at reducing the marginalization of the poor in all corners of the world. Therefore, the Christian Brothers is fighting for the plight of the poor, which can help in reducing the level of poverty in the community, and improve the standard of living.
Brothers from De La Salle and Lewis universities are also advocating for the protection of the fundamental human rights. Currently, one of the institution’s highest priorities is to create a safe and secure environment, particularly for children and young people in different parts of the world. It has recognized the fact that children and young people are the most vulnerable segment of the global population, and they need special care and nurturing (La Salle University 2). Consequently, it is working closely with public institutions, private organizations, and people of good will in order to ensure that the right of children and young adults are protected by communities, national governments, and organizations. It is using its Centers of Activities that are located in different parts of the world to ensure full protection of the rights of children and youth. At the same time, it is working directly by young people to teach them about their rights and to ensure that their rights are not violated in any way. Besides, the institute established Congregational Leadership Team in every country that it operates to safeguard rights of children and young people, including assisting in the formulation of policies that can be used to protect basic human rights. Hence, the Christian Brothers has helped in the protection of human rights, especially those of children and young people in the society.
In addition, the institute is advocating against the abuse of power by the political leaders globally (Armin 2). Brothers are active in condemning the widespread abuse of power by political leaders that has also contributed to the widespread of poverty and violation of human rights. For instance, it has condemned the abuse of political powers in Irish that has failed to protect the rights of children. There are still dictators in the world who recruit children to fight for them or be part of their armies. Child labor is also still rampant in different parts of the world. However, these happen due to poor leadership and the abuse of power by political leaders who do little to protect rights of children. By advocating for good leadership, Christian Brothers helps the communities to get leadership who can protect human dignity and rights. It also ensures that leaders serve the whole community and not their selfish interests. In order for the community and the whole world to prosper, there must be good leadership that is sensitive to the interest of the people.
Finally, the Christian Brothers is condemning the anti-social behaviors of members of a community. Guided by the teachings of the Bibles and values and principles of Catholic Church, Brothers teach against social ills such as prostitution and crimes, especially among young people (Inyanwachi 12). They are encouraging young people to shun anti-social behaviors and embrace moral behaviors. As a result, it is the institution that helps in the restoration of values and norms in a community, as it helps in socializing young people to shun deviant acts. It goes further to provide homes and shelter to deliquescent young people and guide them towards embracing moral behaviors. Therefore, Christian Brothers helps in changing the deviant and immoral behaviors of young people, making them to embrace societal norms and values.
The Christian Brothers at De La Salle and Lewis has significant impact in the community, especially when it comes to the provision of education to needy students in different parts of the world. The cost of education is rising in both developed and developing countries, making it hard for children from poor families to access quality education. However, the Christian Brothers has helped in solving the problem by collaborating with individuals, learning institutions, and the governments in different parts of the world. Apart from education, it has also ensured that the rights of the vulnerable people like children and young people are protected. Besides, the institution has assisted in enhancing morality in areas where it operates. The Christian Brothers is impacting the community in different ways, and it has helped in changing lives of many people.
Armin, Luistro. “De La Salle Brothers.” La Salle University, (2012). http://www.dlsu.edu.ph/brothers/. Accessed 18 April 2017
Christian Brother University. “The Christian Brothers,” CBU, (2010). https://www.cbu.edu/the-christian-brothers. Accessed 18 April 2017.
Inyanwachi, Edward. “A content analysis of church documents relative to the role of Catholic schools and universities in Nigeria in the process of inculturation.”The University of San Francisco, vol. 1, no. 1, 2007, pp. 1-298.
La Salle University. “La Salle University’s Brother Gerald Fitzgerald Receives
Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.” La Salle University, 20 May, (2002), http://www.lasalle.edu/univcomm/2002/brgerry.htm. Accessed 18 April 2017.
La Salle University. “The De La Salle Christian Brothers” La Salle University, (2002). http://www.lasalle.edu/missionoffice/index.php?page=brothers&group=history. Accessed 18 April 2017.
Lewis University. “De La Salle Christian Brothers at Lewis University.” Lewis University, (2016). Retrieved from http://www.lewisu.edu/welcome/brothers.htm. Accessed 21 April 2017.
Paul, Joseph. “Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.” The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 8, no. 2, 2003, pp. 1-12.
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