Education can be transformative, and the Brazilian educator and philosopher Paulo Freire has long been an inspiration to Concern America as we walk with communities that are building a better world from within. He was also an inspiration to two women working in various regions of Africa beginning in the 1960s who translated his approach to community development into popular education materials that were published in a series whose dog-eared copies are found on every Concern project and in our home office: Training for Transformation: A Handbook for Community Workers.
“There’s no such thing as neutral education. Education either functions as an instrument to bring about conformity or freedom.”
Anne Hope and Sally Timmel’s books have inspired community workers and programs around the world, and their work continues formally through the South African-based organization TFT In Practice. This series also drew a team from our home office to Dublin, Ireland in 1999 to be trained in the methodology by a TFT-affiliated organization based there. We were so inspired by the workshop that our team returned home to create our own TFT workshop called Developing a Heart that Yearns for Justice, a three-day seminar that we held here in the home office for 15 years.
We recently learned that TFT co-author Sally Timmel actually lives here in southern California! Seen here with a photo of the late Anne Hope, a small group of us visited with Sally in March and spent two moving hours hearing her stories about Anne Hope, the creation of the books, their inspirational community-centered work, and of completing another volume as they celebrate their 50th anniversary, just like Concern America!