Service learning through social engagement, stories of love in action

The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities-Asia Pacific (AJCU-AP) slated the 8th Service Learning Program (SLP) with the host, Sogang University Seoul, South Korea last August 6 to August 16, 2015.

Nineteen delegates and 6 faculties from 7 universities participated in the three-week program. It gathered the Jesuit schools in the Asia Pacific region including Ateneo de Manila University, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Ateneo de Cagayan, Xavier University and Ateneo de Davao University, Philippines; Sanata Dharma University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia; Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan; and the host, Sogang University.

With the theme, “Social Engagement based on Justice through serving and caring,” this year’s SLP encouraged the participants to pursue the ideals of justice in their daily lives.

The SLP pushed 3 objectives. First was to provide opportunity for the delegates to understand people who come from different backgrounds through raising the consciousness of social diversity. Second objective was to foster the human resources needed to achieve the agenda of Jesuit education. Third, to develop engaged citizens who will create models for engaging diversity, democracy, interdependence, inequalities, and social challenges.

Moreover, program paved the way for the participants to continuously strive for key issues on sustainable development through community service. The participants served the homeless at Seoul station, volunteered at the House of Angel, House of Hope Hospital and experienced love in action through the Kkottongnae Program.

Min Kyung Kim, a delegate from Sogang University said, volunteering in Kkottongnae was really hard but she was very impressed because all other delegates joined sincerely.

“The participants are also really interested in Korean culture, I feel I have the responsibility to introduce Korea to them,” Kim added.

Kahlil Denise Alcomendras, a delegate from Ateneo de Davao University shared, the SLP in Korea especially in Kkottongnae have been a wonderful experience. It opened her mind and her heart to the different kinds of poverty in the society— emotional, spiritual, economic, mental and physical.

“I realized through this experience that only by being with God could fill up the poverty and the emptiness in you,” she added.

“I hope that I could bring back all of the learnings, all of the love that I learned here in Kkottongnae so I could practice love and action back in the Philippines,” she said.

The SLP promotes a Jesuit brand of participative learning paradigm that propagates the service of the faith and the promotion of justice, appreciation of culture, and inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue.

Meanwhile, the AJCU–AP SLP 2016 will kick off on August 2 to August 20 with the theme: “Serving the City, Serving the People: Developing Youth’s Social Movement within Urban Communities.” It will be hosted by Sanata Dharma University.

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