Spain: EPAPU Nelson Mandela

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The school EPAPU Nelson Mandela is located within the penitentiary of A Lama (Spain), which offers formal education for the inmates. During this academic year, despite the difficulties derived from the COVID-19 situation, our school has carried out several complementary activities linked to these stages of education. Amongst these, we would like to highlight our own exhibition and festival for the Día das Letras Galegas, which will be celebrated as always on the 17th May, a day when we commemorate our co-official language by honouring a literary author who had worked in Galician.

On this occasion, the person being honoured is the writer Xela Arias, and perhaps because she was a teacher like us or maybe due to a greater involvement by the teachers who are currently working in the school (we should remember the high turnover of teachers in these schools, which could be a subject for another newsletter), and also because the quality, resources and activities have been notably increased in relation to previous years.We started the project last January, creating a series of posters that explain the life and work of the author, as well as the sociocultural situation of Galicia during those years.

The students who took part in the project read passages of her works and produced artistic creations around them using different techniques (painting, pottery, thread painting, pyrography…). Afterwards, the teachers produced a guide of activities about Xela’s works and the creations of the students. This guide includes activities for all subjects and levels. Even though it is written in Galician, you can access it using the following link:

May 17th is also the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, raising awareness of LGTBI+ rights violations. Xela Arias is an iconic poetess liberal, feminist, ground-breaking,
close to contemporary sensibilities, who shows a critical attitude with clear gender awareness. This is the reason that took us to use the colours of the collective flag for the tops and bottoms of the posters.
We have also taken part in a European competition of bookmark creation around the figure of the author and another one will be launched in our own school.

Finally, we will celebrate a festival in the events hall of the school, where students will read tales and poems by Xela, perform musicalized verses written by her and will also present a play written in Galician. During this day, we will play and listen to Galician music at school.

Due to the pandemic situation that we are currently living, the exhibition of the posters will be sent to the different blocks of the prison, being also displayed on the premises of the school and at the entrance of the prison.

I write in Galician because I am here and Galicia still belongs to the defeated
– Xela Arias