BAHÁ’Í WORLD CENTRE — In the latest podcast episode from the News Service, we hear from several Counsellors discussing insights on Bahá’í moral and spiritual education initiatives in communities around the globe.
This episode is part of a series of podcasts recorded during a conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors at the Bahá’í World Centre, bringing together Counsellors Ritia Bakineti from Kiribati, Hamed Javaheri from Zambia, Maina Mkandawire from Malawi, Judicaël Mokolé from the Central African Republic, and Daniel Pierce Olam from Australia.
The Counsellors’ conversation highlighted that although there are different Bahá’í educational initiatives, they all share an overarching goal. “We see education as fulfilling a certain purpose,” said Mr. Javaheri, “to [build] capacity to… contribute to the transformation of society. The arena in which this happens is in service.”
The concept of service to society is featured prominently in Bahá’í efforts to provide academic education through what are referred to as community schools. These schools, which are initiated by Bahá’í communities and often supported by Bahá’í-inspired organizations, nurture a thirst for academic excellence in students and orient them toward service to their fellow citizens.
In recent decades, networks of community schools have emerged in different countries, particularly in rural areas and places where educational opportunities for young people have historically been limited.
Over time, as these initiatives take root, communities experience advances at the level of culture. Mrs. Mkandawire tells a story about a community where the pressures on young women from traditional customs of early marriage are fading away as families are coming to recognize the importance of education for all children. “That thirst for knowledge is growing,” she says, adding that for the first time in this village some young women have now enrolled in university.