Here at Genesis Joy, we do believe that ending extreme exclusion, the core problem of urban slums, requires engaged citizens and increased civic engagement levels. Therefore, we are working to place greater emphasis on service learning and human rights education through a supplementary curriculum called SLUMS-ED (Students Leaders Understanding My Sphere-Education).

The program is a child-centered, discussion based, andragogy (adult learning model) centered around service learning. Why an adult learning model? SLUMS takes into consideration the development of slum youth and how they “grow up” faster living in the harsh realities of the slums (exposure to violence, drug abuse, sex) and also gain various skills (negotiation and problem solving) by being pushed to the brink of survival (earning income for their families or taking care of their siblings as orphans). As a result, we are aiming to bridge the disconnect with their development and their classroom learning; today’s classrooms are “oppressive” as standardized testing and rote learning have stripped students of the ability to explore and create. Under this lens, our service learning curriculum encourages students each month to ask, dream, investigate, create, and reflect — to become active citizens and problem solvers in their community. The themes each month are varied, ranging from human rights, self identity and community, trust, and community advocacy.

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