In our terminology, social sensitivity is not equal to commitment to the life and interests of the community, but it has a much narrower meaning: it is the feeling expressed to those who belong to a lower social status and live under worse conditions than we do. From the perspective of community development, the first interpretation is disputable, because it nourishes the idea that we have to supply and help, in other words, tutelage and paternalize the society and the people constituting the society. As opposed to this, our interpretation focuses, as an objective on empowerment by means of the processes facilitating to become capable, namely empowered. In this process, people learn to recognise, enforce or solve their problems, actively participate in the social and self-supporting procedures by which they get closer to controlling and managing their own life.

Paulo Freire also considers this type of help, assistance and the empowerment of the community by means of community learning the only good way and method to care about deprived people. Freire divides the society into two categories: oppressors and oppressed, and he gives the task to the oppressed to liberalise both themselves and their oppressors. Since it will never be the task of the oppressors to terminate the existing injustice, because if they did, they would not be capable to live through and experience charity and benevolence explaining their life and their position in the society. Real generosity manifests itself in the fight for radical termination of the reasons that maintain false benevolence.[1]

In order to assure that the oppressed people are not scared of freedom and able to live with it and aspire to it, they have to learn orientation and movements in freedom. The only way to do it is common learning, cooperation, and organised and conscious actions. The community development process consists of such organised, conscious and common occasions to learn. It is a question whether these learning procedures have any pedagogical aspects.

[1] Freire, Paulo (2003 (1972)): Az elnyomottak pedagógiája. In: Kozma Tamás-Tomasz Gábor: Szociálpedagógia. Budapest: Osiris Kiadó, 398.

This article based on the following document: Esélyegyenlőségi módszertani útmutató