Ana Yris Guzmán is the co-founder and Executive President of the Educational Organisation based in Puerto Rico, Nuestra Escuela (Our School), founded in 2000. In addition to the centres in Puerto Rico.
Ana Yris is committed to the education of girls, boys and young people, she has focused her energies and knowledge on developing an educational services model that enhances the talent of young people who, for various reasons, have moved away from the traditional school. She is a specialist in academic and bio-psychosocial approach and has vast experience working on educational projects that, in addition to attending the formative aspect of children and young people, offer tools for personal development, leadership, healing, strengthening their affective dimension with their families and creating ventures.
Ana Yris has been part of the Aflatoun Network since 2010 and joined the Global Advisory Board in 2019.
Aflatoun is a liberating opportunity that, through working with children and young people, fulfils a fundamental mission: to reduce inequity. It does it in an innovative way, through active learning and collaborative partnerships. We act as a network that creates interconnecting experiences with those who, like us, are looking for more fair, participatory, but above all, loving and humanitarian education.
What will be your focus as a board member?
As a Board member, I am focused on strengthening networking actions, empowering children and young people, and making progress in the field of public education in the Americas region.
Why is social and financial education important?
On one hand, it offers the possibility of accessing financial education for those who live in conditions of poverty and marginalization. But also, it collaborates with the formation of more socially conscious leaders. The children who learn about humanitarian values today will be more responsible leaders to their community in the future. For us, reducing the gaps that generate injustices in society is the key to the world in which we want to live in.
How would you explain what you do to a 5-year-old?
I would take a small earth globe in my hands, put it in the child’s hands and ask him, or her, about what that is. I would talk about humanity. With plasticine, I would stick points on the map and explain about all the places where there are other boys and girls who are currently learning just as she, or he, does. They are learning about resources (I would ask the child questions about water, soil, minerals, people), they are learning about the exchange. Finally, I would ask the child if he, or she, feels part of that network and connected to the rest of the world. I would talk about solidarity and love for humanity.
What do you like most about Aflatoun?
There are many things that I love about Aflatoun. I believe that Aflatoun’s philosophy and curriculum content can gradually be integrated into educational systems in a large-scale way, which requires focusing our advocacy work on the public policy of different countries. Regarding the curriculum, the quality of the Aflatoun productions is of great support for us. Last but not least, the support of the entire Aflatoun team has become vibrant during the COVID-19 crisis.
What is something education NGOs have to deal with that you want to fix?
We at Nuestra Escuela work to close the cycle of sustainability at all levels. We believe that it is a challenge for organizations to have a sufficiently diverse and solid financing matrix which let them to builds alternative financing routes that include social and solidarity entrepreneurship.
Who is a hero of yours?
The Mirabal sisters, also known as Las Mirabal or Mariposas (Patria, Minerva and María Teresa Mirabal), were three Dominican sisters who fervently opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo. All three were murdered on November 25, 1960. Today the sisters are a symbol for women rights.
How do you see the future of Aflatoun International?
Understanding that this crisis caused by COVID-19 will pass, I believe that Aflatoun’s philosophy and curricular content can gradually be integrated into educational systems in a massive way, which requires focusing the advocacy work on the public policy of different countries. With an articulated plan, we can do it.