20 November 2020

“God comes, and the sign of his presence is that of the weakness of a child, of the poverty of an outsider”.[1]

Dear Brothers, Partners and Members of the Lasallian Family,

Today is the United Nations’ World Children’s Day.  Today we join our sisters and brothers around the world to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare.

Aware that all persons are created in the image and likeness of God and faithful to the call of the Holy Spirit, the Institute places the defense of the rights of children as the focal point of its mission of human and Christian education.  The United Nations’ Declaration and Convention on the Rights of the Child inform the educational policy decisions of the Institute, Districts and Lasallian educational communities. We form students to safeguard these rights, to promote justice and peace, and to care for the integrity of creation.

Within our broad commitment to defending the rights of children and in the context of announcing the Good News to those who are poor, the right to education of female children is of crucial importance, especially in developing countries. I am grateful to the many Lasallian educators and Lasallian educational communities who daily provide girls with the values and skills necessary to live life to the fullest.

Last year, the Secretariat for Solidarity and Development promoted “The Road to Gender Equality Begins with Girls’ Education,” an advocacy letter that was endorsed by 35 Lasallian organizations from around the world.  The Secretariat continues to identify needs and to secure funding for projects that provide scholarships, housing, healthcare, gender-based violence prevention and assistance to victims, empowerment of women, and technical training in dozens of countries around the world.

I encourage you to keep searching for creative ways to ensure the educational rights of all children, especially girls. Let us join our voices and direct more of our actions to those girls and young women desirous of a life free from gender-based violence, inequity, harmful practices, HIV and AIDS.[2]  Let us ensure that our Lasallian educational communities continue to respond to the educational aspirations of poor children, and in a special way of poor girls.

Brother Robert Schieler, FSC
Superior General

[1] Campos, Miguel, FSC & Sauvage, Michel, FSC. Encountering God in the Depth of the Mind and Heart: John Baptist de La Salle’s The Explanation of the Method of Mental Prayer, p. 231.

[2] (cf. United Nations Report. International Day of the Girl Child, October 11).

We invite you to remember and use the illustrations on children’s rights that we have published in INTERCOM no. 152