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Respect Foundation

This EdNet Forum was held on Thursday, June 2nd, 7:30-9:00 am PST


About the Respect Foundation (REF)

Our mission is to contribute to a society in which young people exhibit self-respect, as well as respect for others and the world around them. We believe that young people possess a moral compass that can be prompted when carefully attended to. Together with finance partners, professional educators, our own team of experts and most importantly young people, we continue in pursuing a dignified, considerate and compassionate world.


The Situation

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights gives all children the right to education. Education should enable them to develop themselves as human beings and promote tolerance, understanding and friendship.

For millions of children growing up in conflict and poverty, schools are not the safe havens that would allow them to fully develop their potential. The circumstances under which they live affect their ability to learn and harm their self-esteem. Problems in society are carried into the classroom, leading to discrimination and bullying.

For their teachers, the lack of materials or adequate professional training is frustrating, preventing them from delivering the quality of education that they know children need. And there is little or no support available to them to help them deal with children affected by difficult socio-economic circumstances or security issues.


Respect Education

Children and teachers can be powerful catalysts for change in their community, but only when they are equipped with the right tools and information. The Respect Education Program aims to help children deal with conflict in their immediate surroundings and supports teachers working under difficult conditions. The program provides continuous professional education and helps teachers and pupils to address safety and security issues in class together.

Throughout the school year, children attend monthly workshops in which they learn to respect themselves, other people, and their surroundings. The workshops are taught by their own teachers, together with specially trained local facilitators. The topics discussed and the interactive learning techniques used in the workshops help to reduce bullying and discrimination. Teachers receive several training sessions in which they learn to develop their professional competences and learn inclusive teaching methods. The facilitators help them to incorporate the new teaching styles into their daily work. In addition, schools can initiate activities related to Respect Education themes such as gender, ethnicity and the environment, where the children can further develop confidence and leadership skills. These skills are considered highly relevant in the 21st century job market. A twinning program with schools abroad, or elsewhere in the Netherlands, can also be set up, broadening the children's horizons.



Femke van der Ster (Director at REF) studied at the Royal Academy Of Art in The Hague, Art History at The University of Amsterdam, and completed Teacher Training at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. In her facility as director at REF, she is currently involved in the development and innovation of educational programmes pertaining to social discourse, behaviour, respect, social responsibility and identity. Dedicated to committing young people to social engagement, and attaining projects that propose a more tolerable world.


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