While the bulk of Karuna Center’s work has taken place overseas, we are also committed to addressing the many divisions that separate and sometimes polarize communities within the United States.
Educational Justice in Holyoke, MA
Since fall 2012 we have been working to build a more inclusive community of learning for high school students in Holyoke, Massachusetts and develop a pilot program to support nonviolent conflict resolution in inner city schools. Many Holyoke youth face challenges related to poverty a lack of educational engagement, including high rates of teen pregnancy, gang involvement, and substance abuse. Students are often caught in cycles of conflict and alienated from their schools, a reality reflected in a suspension rate of 34% and a drop-out rate of 49%.
Among these challenges we see room for improvement. By working with the new Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School, opening this September, we aim to build upon the sense of community that many Holyoke residents already value within their familial and social networks to create a school climate that resolves conflict more constructively, empowers students to advocate for themselves and their education, encourages mutual respect and trusting relationships, and fosters success in all students—Hispanic youth in particular, who constitute a majority. From the start, we have involved youth, parents, teachers, staff, and community members in the program development process. These stakeholders’ participation is absolutely critical in helping us effectively transform cycles of conflict that create barriers to student success and model a new approach to inner-city education.
Other U.S. programs have included:
Karuna Center strives to share lessons learned from its international peacebuilding work through presentations, educational seminars and conferences, and speaking engagements. Please contact us for more information.
Our Work in the World
Click on the globe below to check out Our Programs and where the Karuna Center is working in the world.