It’s always nice to learn something new and recently I learnt how to say ‘friendship’ in the Wolof language of Senegal. The word is ‘jarit’ and Jarit is a Valencian association whose purpose is to bridge the gap between different peoples and different cultures.
Teachers can take advantage of the pedagogical material produced by Jarit for use in the classroom.
The organisation is based in Valencia’s most multi-cultural neighbourhood, Russafa, which is in fact an Arabic word meaning ‘garden’, which in itself shows that Valencia is a city that has always been populated by different cultures, including the Romans, who gave it its name.
They work both in Valencia and in Africa, specifically Morocco, Algeria and Senegal. In Morocco they have set up youth groups and first aid posts and are planning a youth hostel, whereas in Algeria they have helped local people to organise their rubbish collection and recycling to avoid health problems, and in Senegal they have organised the provision of micro credits, which allow local people to set up businesses such as restaurants, workshops and hairdressers so that they are not forced to immigrate for lack of opportunities in their own towns and villages.
They began their work in 2004, responding to the emergency created by an earthquake in Algeria, providing much needed clothes, water pumps and medicines, and are now expanding their sensual tours to areas such as Murcia, Barcelona and Madrid.
They have also worked on projects involving prisoners in the Valencian prison of Picassent.
Xavi Part discovered Africa when working as a film maker and photographer and is now one of the promoters of Jarit’s activities along with Emili Sanchez. He told Valencia International that the group of 120 or so collaborators of various nationalities is trying to create sensibility, especially among the young, making them understand that the immigrants coming to their cities are not so very different from themselves.
They also try to help those immigrants who have decided to come to adapt, providing training in necessities such as language, legal knowledge and work skills at their three sites in Russafa.