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Harambee Africa International was founded in connection with the canonization of Josemaría Escrivá (http://www.opusdei.org/it-it/section/san-josemaria/), founder of Opus Dei, and promotes educational programs in Africa and for Africa such as development projects in Sub-Saharan Africa and communication and awareness-raising activities in the rest of the world designed to spread knowledge about African culture.

In our certainty that the future of the African continent lies, like a precious and prolific seed, in the hearts and minds of African children, we have chosen to concentrate our efforts and energy on those very same children, whose hearts beat and minds dream, preparing the ground for this seed to sprout as soon as it can and in all its vigor.

Josemaria Escrivà often said, it is with that human experience, that the saints understand better than anyone else, that two elements play a significant role on the future of a population- the family and education. And what better place for these two elements to naturally converge in order to form the grounds for this future than in a school?

This is why the school, which represents the crossroads for human development, seems to be the most suitable place to “cultivate” the fertile and receptive ground of the hearts and minds of young people in Africa. The school is where the three main protagonists of development all find themselves working together- the teacherswith their professionalism and devotion, the family (the foundation of society) and the children with their talents, thirst for knowledge and wonder as they explore new things.

Yet pronouncing the word ‘school’ is not enough. We need to shun the temptation of simply ‘doing’ and examine more deeply what the dignity of men and women calls for. We must not limit ourselves to merely considering the obvious material needs of underdevelopment, but take in account the nonmaterial needs that prefigure all else.

As such, we have coined the expression, don’t build schools, make them, meaning we do not need to build structures, but transmit pedagogical knowledge to African teachers in order to achieve the true goal of education- educate as the Latin word e-ducere refers to, or rather, “draw out” and put into act all the potential intelligence and resourcefulness that every child is capable of.

This is the motive behind our promoting projects that are targeted towards rendering the educational and social mission of schools in Africa effective and incisive, that is, in training teachers and supplying scholastic materials for rural schools, teaching cultivation techniques to young people, promoting the social and cultural growth of boys and girls, etc.

Those of us at Harambee, however, know that the most difficult task we face is not in Africa, but here, in the Western world. In finding “accomplices” and allies in those of you who have come to know us and the many others that, like us, are concerned and want to invest, not through material goods, but through that precious and intangible asset of intelligence and of educating Africa.

Not in that which can be seen and yet remains unchanging, but in that which remains invisible and yet represents the key to changing a whole population and continent.

Thanks also to committees present in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Ireland and the United States, Harambee organizes conferences, exhibits and events in order to disseminate more detailed and authentic information about Africa and to overcome the stereotypes made up by the media’s collective imagination and teach us to focus on the African people: men, women and children – each and every one – with a new vision.

Giovanni Mottini
President of the Harambee Cultural Committee