CANTERA Methodology and Values
Working holistically is working sustainably, as social and environmental injustices are intersecting problems. CANTERA recognizes that for a student to thrive academically, familiar violence must also decrease; for leaders to work for children's rights on a governmental level, they must also be respecting the children in their families and communities. People--not just structures--must be built to form a sustainable base for community change.
To eradicate violence against women, women and men must work together. CANTERA strives for equality of the sexes through gender workshops and equitable leadership in all its programs.
Popular Education is a horizontal teaching method which values all people's knowledge--regardless of title or diploma. By sharing experiences and analyzing them together, people critically analyze their reality and commit to grassroots efforts to transform themselves and their communities.
In the face of climate change, communities build resilience to unpredictable weather patterns by learning about agroecology agriculture practices and sharing them with their farming neighbors. To assure a sustainable supply of seeds, communities run Seed Banks, storing quality seeds from each harvest for the next planting season.
For change to be successful it must take place on every level: individual, family, community, education, and government. CANTERA participants work on all of these levels in their community to assure that grassroots efforts impulse top-down change. While working for non-violence, gender equity, and sustainability within their families, CANTERA leaders demand these rights in the public and governmental sectors.
Societal change is impossible without personal change. CANTERA encourages people to go through personal processes, breaking down stereotypes and un-learning violent behavior, as they work for change in their families and communities. These simultaneous processes complement and strengthen each other.
Sustainable Community Development
People who are empowered make a difference. With CANTERA, communities critically analyze their reality and dream of a better future for themselves and for their family, community, and country. Communities define steps to make these dreams come true, and commit to sharing the personal and professional skills CANTERA teaches them with others. This process builds people--not just structures--who transform themselves and the society they live in.
An integral part of all CANTERA programs, spirituality allows people to heal wounds of violence and poverty, practice self care and relaxation, and connected to the interconnectedness of all life. CANTERA respects all religions and belief systems and shares a variety of spirituality practices such as ritual dances (see video below).
CANTERA trusts that communities know what they most need. Local leaders work on a grassroots level to for justice. By participating in CANTERA workshops, they refine the tools they have to implement change.
Amidst high levels of family violence and violence against women, CANTERA promotes non-violence as a central component of all of its programming.
Whether in urban preschool classrooms or with rural farmers, in workshops with high school teens or young adults, in work with women or men, human rights and responsibilities are always emphasized. As people empower themselves through personal development and spirituality workshops, they recognize their human worth and are motivated to fight for human rights on behalf of themselves and their community.