“ANIMA” – Education resources for remote schools in Nepal

In early December, a dream came true for Fr. Roy Sebastian and his team at the Nepal Jesuit Social Institute (NJSI) in Kathmandu: The ANIMA Institute was born. Though the acronym may evoke thoughts about the dynamism of the Holy Spirit, for the Jesuits of Nepal ANIMA is not a spiritual centre, but rather a multimedia production center: the “Adolfo Nicolás Institute of Media Activities.

This is how Roy Sebastian presents the origins and the raison d’être of ANIMA - clearly in line with the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society.

“We are starting the project of Remote School Education Improvement Program, as continuation of earthquake intervention moving from emergency to development. This will also be the forerunner of Fe y Alegria Nepal. The project has started with the selection of 20 Government schools that are very remote in Nepal and has very poor education quality. We will introduce a smart education hub in those schools, give them a digital display, and necessary connections for digital education accessories. For them, we will prepare high quality education materials, in academic subjects, and other areas of formation for the students, teachers and parents. All this will be in Nepali language. We will offer all this to the schools as complements to the government curriculum. We will monitor and train the school staff in advanced methodology of education in rural sector.

2020-12-15_anima_studio

Here the ANIMA (Adolfo Nicolás Institute for Media Activities) will be the resource development centre, where the classes will be recorded, animation and smart education material will be produced, and live streaming and training program will be set up, all in view of improving the education in the rural sector. So ANIMA has started as a department of resource development in NJSI (the word “Institute” is used in order to get the acronym ANIMA - to give a dynamic nature to the name, though it is really a department in the NJSI and not a separate entity). ANIMA is the first of this kind in the diocese of Nepal, so it has already become the centre of communication activities for the entire diocese as well. ANIMA is equipped with the necessary audio and video recording and editing equipment. It also has portability of instruments so that the recording can be done in locations other than the studio.”

We asked Fr. Sebastian why the project was named after the former General of the Society of Jesus and he explained: After finishing his four-year assignment in the Communications Office of the General Curia under the Generalate of Father Nicolas’, Fr. Sebastian was approached by Regional Assistant Lisbert D’Souza, and told that it was a custom for Father General to give a gift to those who have served in the Curia as they returned to their home Province. Roy asked if it he could forgo a personal gift if instead Fr. General could gift the Nepal Region with cameras and basic audio-visual equipment. Within two days, the Curia had earmarked 5,000 euro for the work.

2020-12-15_anima_inauguration

Father Nicolas’ generous gift was the seed of the NJSI communications department, and remembered when the name “ANIMA” was chosen. The AV center itself was delayed four years as Roy Sebastian was tasked with a variety of projects during the Jesuits’ earthquake relief efforts, but the delay allowed other donations to be added to the fund, including a substantial contribution from the Xavier Network.

What is the lesson - or Christmas gift - that Roy Sebastian can offer reflecting on this experience? After quoting Paulo Coelho, the Brazilian poet, who wrote, “If you have a strong dream, the whole universe conspires to fulfill it,” Fr. Roy said, “It has been true in my life in many occasions, but with one condition: that the dream should be for the universal goodness and not for selfish reasons. In other words, you take the steps and God clears the way, if it goes according to his plans.”

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles public relations.

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